Flocks and Rocks

Treks for Adults

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Overview of Flocks and Rocks

While the Gulch is most known for our work with youth, we believe more adults could benefit from getting out of the house and learning about their environment. Even those of us who are skilled outdoor adventurers often lack a critical element to our personal explorations: a seasoned and knowledgeable guide.

This year’s Flocks & Rocks Trek will be led by Arch McCallum, ornithologist, and Jack Oviatt, geologist, two PhDs in their respective fields, and longtime Gulchers.

What is it like on Flocks & Rocks? Below is an excerpt from former staff member Austin Kessler about:

“I was a cook for the Flocks & Rocks Trek, and I can say that I have never learned so much in a single 10-day span than those days with two enthusiastic PhDs and a posse of other adults that followed them around with binoculars and hand lenses.

As adults, I feel that we become accepting of what we know about the world, and comfortable with our own understandings. Much of the learning we have to do as adults is not fun–new practices at work, a new piece of technology, how to recover after an injury–but it doesn’t all have to be that mundane, boring, or scary. What if you could experience the childish wonder from when you were at the Gulch as a teen or learning about dinosaurs as a kindergartner?

After I finished up my responsibilities as a cook on that trip, I got to be a student again. The experience was set up for both avid birders, checking off birds from their life lists, and folks like me, who didn’t even realize there were birds around until I was asked to notice noises that had always blended into the background. On the geology side of things, we were introduced to terminology that gave us a better understanding of the prehistoric oceans we were walking through and took a step back to look at the glow of sunset on sandstone cliffs, a way even non-geologists can appreciate the stunning stratification.

We have all had to adapt to a different way of life over the last two years year, and as the world slowly begins to recover, don’t forget that we all have the right to wonder, and be blown away by our own learning.”

Flocks and Rocks 2022 will be spending time in Texas! Specifically, we will be following the Rio Grande from Big Bend (world-class geology) down to Brownsville (world-class birding). Looking over a geology map of the Big Bend area, never will you be so astounded by geologic diversity and beauty. Likewise, the variety and glamour of the Lower Rio Grande Valley birds will leave you awestruck. 

Expect lots of good stories, laughter around the evening campfire, and great food, too!

Age Range: 21+

Min Group Size: 6

Max Group Size: 14

El Paso, TX - Brownsville, TX

10 Days on Trek

number of days on the trek

Cost: $2,850

April 11-21, 2023

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Registration Deadline: March 1, 2023

Resources for Trekkers

Sample Itinerary

The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise

Day 1

Arrive at El Paso, TX and get to know everyone

Day 2

Carlsbad Caverns is comprised of 119 limestone caves carved over 4 million years ago by sulfuric acid.  It is one of the biggest and longest cave systems in the world!

Day 3-5

Big Bend  (Geology tour, birding in Boot Canyon, river relaxation; if you haven’t seen this program, you should)

Day 6-10

Birding along the Rio Grande River and Lower Rio Grande Valley; stops will include some or all of these ecologically rich locations (it may vary based on where the birds are when we’re there!):

  • Bentsen Rio Grande Valley SP
  • the National Butterfly Center
  • Santa Ana NWR
  • Resaca de la Palma & World Birding Center
  • Laguna Atascosa NWR

Day 11

Head home from Brownsville

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