William Beatty wanted to get out of his comfort zone. He missed the physical challenges he once faced as a lacrosse player. No longer playing the game, “life got boring.”
So the 20-year-old Haverford native took this year’s spring semester off from Southern Methodist University and went on a 78-day wilderness expedition in Baja, Mexico with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
The group of 15 started their journey at Mezquital Ranch, where they began the 62-mile crossing of the peninsula from west to east. It included hiking through steep terrain and thick vegetation, and dealing with the logistics of traveling through a desert environment, according to the school.
How to be a leader and how to deal with adversity and conflicts were some of the things imparted during the trip. One day they went without finding any water, Beatty said.
From the hot and dry desert, Beatty and his coursemates transitioned to traveling in kayaks in the Sea of Cortes. After a week in Coyote Bay at NOLS Mexico, building fundamental skills for ocean travel in kayaks, the course traveled south toward Puerto Escondido, according to the school.
“It was awesome,” Beatty told Haverford Patch. “It was something I never would have done otherwise and not again to the extent I did it there.”
A rising sophomore, Beatty said he was going to major in political science, but may switch to studying business.
“It doesn’t have much to do with wilderness,” he joked. But he recommends the program all the same.
“If you want something different and out of ordinary, when you get done with it you’ll be very happy,” he said. “It’s not something a lot of people get to say they have done.”