In the summer of 2008 Lehigh volleyball student-athlete Mo McReynolds was traveling across Europe competing against top International competition. McReynolds toured Europe as part of the USA team organized by USA Athletes International.
This past summer, McReynolds did some traveling again, but this time it had nothing to do with volleyball. Mc Reynolds, the lone senior on the 2009 Mountain Hawk volleyball team, spent this past summer hiking across the United States as part of the Lehigh University Field Camp. As a Geology major, McReynolds is required to complete six credit hours doing field research and that is what the Field Camp provides.
Students looking to get their Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science or Geosciences can sign up for the Camp to fulfill curriculum requirements. The round trip started off on June 1st and went until July 3rd. During the course of the month McReynolds and her peers got firsthand experience working in the field.
“We learned several different things while on the trip,” McReynolds said. “Some of the things we worked on were rock identification and learning how to read geological maps. Everything we learned was beneficial and will help us in the future.”
The group left Lehigh University on the first of June and made their first stop in East Harbor, Ohio. Along the way, the group traveled through 13 different states to complete their work and they got to stop at several National Parks. Some of their stops included Yellowstone, Badlands, Mackay, and Devil’s Tower National Parks and Monuments.
One of the most unique things about the Field Camp is the actual camping the student got to do. They didn’t get to stay in hotels and in allowed McReynolds to really get an idea of what it is like to go camping.
“Going into the trip I knew I liked my major, but I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. The Field Camp helped solidify why I was a Geology major.”
“To me camping was just going out with your friends for one night and then coming home,” McReynolds said. “This was for five weeks and we were really out in the middle of nowhere.”
The group traveled in caravans that took them to each of their destinations. Once at a certain stop on the trip, McReynolds and her peers would unload an entire kitchen that included gas-powered stove tops, grills, and an oven.
The group was split into eight different cooking crews and they would rotate cooking duties for the day.
“I was the cook crew leader of the group number three,” McReynolds said. “We ate a lot of comfort food to keep us warm on the cold nights. It was a lot of rice, stew, and mashed potatoes.”
Everything didn’t go according to plan during the camp as Mother Nature took her toll on the group.
“The hardest part of the trip was that it rained 19 out of the first 21 days,” McReynolds said. “There was no place of refuge and we had nowhere to dry our clothes because it kept raining.”
Being out in the woods also meant McReynolds didn’t have any cell phone reception which made it hard to talk to family and friends.
“Only certain places we would get service,” McReynolds said. “Usually after hiking up the hills and mountains we would get the best service so we would always call our families.”
Even though McReynolds wasn’t on the volleyball court training for the 2009 season she certainly was getting in a good workout.
“Technically I couldn’t get in most of the workouts, but we were usually up by 6 a.m. and we hiked all day,” McReynolds said. “I was still very active.”
For McReynolds the Field Camp was a memorable trip that she will never forget. With all of her success on the volleyball court, McReynolds said this trip may have laid the foundation for her future.
“It opened a lot of doors for me,” McReynolds said. “Going into the trip I knew I liked my major, but I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. The Field Camp helped solidify why I was a Geology major.”
McReynolds, like so many of Lehigh’s student-athletes is thinking beyond her athletic career.
“I would like to move to Australia when I graduate,” McReynolds said. “I want to get out and experience the world. I have made some contacts in Sydney and Melbourne and I would like to go over there and do research.”