Adventure Found at Red Mountain Campus

Hikers at Mt. Kimball in TucsonHikers at Mt. Kimball in Tucson In today’s technology-obsessed world, there’s a group of students who like to put aside their electronic devices and hit the trail in search of fellowship and adventure.

They’ve hiked to waterfalls at Fossil Springs, backpacked in the Grand Canyon and made it up Mount Whitney in California.

Members of the Adventure Association at Mesa Community College’s Red Mountain Campus discover the club increases their level of enjoyment of school and life in general.

MCC student Kyle Platchek, 20, said joining the club had several positive benefits for him.

“I’ve made a lot of friends just by joining the Adventure Association,” Platchek said. “With technology, there are a lot more antisocial people now. You become more social when you join a club like this.”

In addition to making friends, Platchek said the club opened him up to exploring more degree and career possibilities.

“My first semester, I wasn’t very interested in school. Ever since I’ve joined clubs, I want to be around school more often, especially with Adventure Club members. I only have classes three days a week and I’m here five days a week. Just to be around here is a lot of fun.”

Club advisor Charles Miller, 30, said the goal of the club is to get students outdoors for fitness and to teach them to be good stewards of the environment.

“I see a lot of the students in the club coming together, working together,” Miller said.  “When you are down in the Valley, you’re doing your own thing. When they get up in the mountains, they work together. Any obstacle that there might be, they help each other get through that. It’s pretty cool.”

Red Mountain biology instructor Andy Holycross started the club in 2007. They maintain a mailing list of about 400 people, but have probably 25 active members.

Charles Miller, 30, is advising the club this semester while Holycross takes a sabbatical to do a 70-day trip in the Grand Canyon. Miller, a parks and recreation management major at NAU, has a lot of experience in the outdoors and strives to make every trip memorable.

“Charles makes it fun for everyone,” Platchek said.  “Even if it’s a grueling hike, it’s fun.”

Platchek said on his first hike he had a bit of difficulty.

“But I just kept pushing through, with everyone’s support,” Platchek said. “I made it. When you get to the bottom, you think, ‘that was awesome but horrible at the same time.’ You feel good about yourself after you do something like that.”

In addition to having fun, Miller said he teaches respect for the environment.

“On our Fossil Springs hike, we picked up trash coming back,” Miller said. “We made it a game, to see who could get the most trash. We had to crawl under these crazy bushes. We ended up with three big garbage bags of trash.”

Miller recently joined the Pinal County Search and Rescue. He just finished a first responder course with a wilderness aspect to it which prepares him to deal with emergencies the group may encounter.  On occasion, he helps students who have sprained an ankle.

“One girl hurt her ankle going up Brown’s Peak,” Miller said.  “I helped her back to the bottom by carrying her several miles.”

Platchek laughed at the memory. “Once he starts going, he never stops.”

Miller and Platchek agree that the club seems to be one of the more successful ones on campus. They assist student leadership with fundraisers and other activities.

Miller finds satisfaction in seeing club members keep in touch after trips. 

“After the trips, we’re all still close and socialize,” Miller said.  “We all know each other. It’s a bonding experience.”

Upcoming Adventures:

Oct. 2: Meeting at 3 p.m. to plan Fossil Springs hike.

Oct. 5: Fossil Springs hike. 7.8 miles round trip, 4 hours hiking. Difficulty: 3 on a scale of 5. Students from any MCC campus can sign up for the trip. Fills up quickly. Must turn in travel packet before the hike.

Sept. 26: Ultimate Frisbee and Random Sport: On Thursdays, beginning Sept. 26, meet at 5 p.m. at Red Mountain Park. Open to everyone, no matter the skill level. Friends and family welcome.

To be determined: Grand Canyon overnight backpacking trip.


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About Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students who attend annually to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. Please direct media inquiries to Sally Mesarosh at  or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 480-461-7445.  IA website:

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Publication Date: 
Wednesday, September 18, 2013