Flocks and Rocks

Treks for Adults




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 2023 will be spending time in Texas! Specifically we will be following the Rio Grande from Brownsville (world-class birding) upstream to Big Bend (world-class geology). 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

Brownsville, TX - El Paso, TX

10 Days on Trek

Cost: $2,850

April 11-21, 2023

Enroll Now

Registration Deadline: March 1, 2023

Resources for Trekkers

Summer 2023 Itinerary

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

Day 1

Brownsville, TX, airport arrival day, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge beach walk

Day 2

South Padre Island World Birding Center and dunes

Day 3

Resaca de la Palma State Park and World Birding Center, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Day 4

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, National Butterfly Center

Day 5

 Kickapoo Cavern State Park and bat flight

Day 6-8

Big Bend National Park, explore river canyons and mesas of this volcanic landscape in the southern Rio Grande Rift

Day 9-10

Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Marfa art scene, find fossils in the ancient Permian reefs

Day 11

El Paso, TX airport departure day

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*All locations and itineraries are subject to change given permitting and fire restrictions.