Find yourself getting lost: North Dakota Humanities Council to host pilot program in the Badlands
MEDORA—The Badlands offer an experience unlike others in North Dakota which is why the North Dakota Humanities Council decided to host a pilot program called Think Outside there.
"We are targeting people who enjoy going camping and enjoy the outdoors and maybe want to have a philosophical discussion around a campfire," said Brenna Gerhardt, executive director of NDHC.
During the weekend of Oct. 28, adults ages 21 and older can experience the Badlands while also learning about themselves through guided discussions with philosopher Tayo Basquiat, associate professor of philosophy at Bismarck State College.
Participants will get to experience hiking, biking, kayaking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and more depending on weather conditions.
Gerhardt said experiencing the outdoors and the basis of being able to "find yourself while getting lost" is what the conversations will revolve around.
"What does it mean to be from this place or any place in particular, and how does the landscape shape who we are as much as we shape the landscape especially in light of all of the oil development which is an important topic," she said.
Basquiat, an avid outdoorsman said that the Badlands are unlike anything else, and he hopes that this adventure will bring a new appreciation for the beauty of the area to a unique group of people.
"This is putting people in an actual experience so I'm just looking forward to engaging all of the senses in the learning project and seeing how that translates to the conversation around the campfire at night," he said.
Basquiat said that while there will be philosophical discussion that anyone can be involved in the topic of conversation.
"Everybody's an expert on their own experience," he said. "Nobody can contribute the thoughts on their own experience except for that own person. So they already come to this conversation experts on the kind of topic we are going to be talking about."
On Saturday morning participants will start south of Elkhorn campground on the Maah Daah Hey trail for an approximate six to eight hour trip with moderate hiking, rest stops and a lunch break.
On Sunday that group will hike north on the trail to return by 2 p.m. to prepare for departure.
Another group on Saturday will be participating in mountain biking and travel across the Little Missouri River for 20 to 30 mile ride. The Maah Daah Hey isn't a beginners trail so participants interested in mountain biking are encouraged to have a basic level of fitness and riding on dirt trails.
The fee per person is $35 which includes two nights of camping and the humanities program. Registration will end on October 27, and those interested can register on the Think Outside website at www.thinkoutsidend.weebly.com.
Those interested are encouraged to read two articles in preparation for discussion. Those articles and excerpts are listed on the website.