Outing Club members kayak the Everglades during Washington Break

Fourteen students (plus James Dick). Thirteen miles. Five days.


A student kayaks in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of James Dick.

Sydney Lee

A group of 14 students, accompanied by Director of Outdoor Education James Dick, drove down to Everglades City, Florida, to spend five days kayaking and camping in the Gulf of Mexico.

After two days of driving, the crew packed their kayaks with gear and paddled 13 miles out onto an island, which would be their home for the next few days. According to many members of the group, it was a difficult paddle out.

“James and the other trip veterans remarked that it was the hardest paddling day they’d had in 20 years,” Emilia Musgrove, ‘22, said.

But choppy waves and a tough current couldn’t hold this group back. That night they took a sunset paddle out into the gulf.

“The sunset was absolutely gorgeous,” Musgrove said. “You could barely tell a difference between the water and the sky.”

The next few days were filled with exploring the islands and ocean around them in kayaks. Each day consisted of waking up in tents on the island, cooking meals, sightseeing, swimming, building a fire and playing games.

While kayaking, the Outing Club members saw various wildlife such as birds, dolphins, sea turtles and jumping fish.

“A cool moment came when someone shouted that there were dolphins nearby, and sure enough, a pod of them swam right by our kayaks,” Ian Treger, ‘20, said.

Though the group enjoyed returning to the comfort of showers and warm beds at Washington and Lee at the end of the week, they had an unforgettable time together in the Everglades.

Students relax on the beach after a day of kayaking. Photo courtesy of James Dick.

“I really enjoyed getting to know people I otherwise wouldn’t have,” Musgrove said. “We didn’t have our phones and we couldn’t really avoid each other, so we could be as weird and funny as we wanted to be.”

Treger said the Everglades had something for everybody.

“This is a trip that can be thoroughly enjoyed by both beginners and experienced individuals alike,” Treger said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to take advantage of in college, made possible by W&L’s awesome Outing Club and Director James Dick.”