Leave Your Comfort Zone at Home! Candeleda Boosts Confidence and Comradery

Work on the site can become very tiring and for this reason, we have excursions. This year in Spain, we traveled to Candeleda. Candeleda is a region that encompasses several mountainous areas with a myriad of large, naturally formed boulders and rocks. There are also large streams of water that flow down the mountains and over the rocks. Our group began the excursion by taking a half an hour hike through moderate terrain. On the hike we regularly stopped to enjoy the beautiful scenery filled with diverse, light green plant life. After finishing the hike, we were immediately greeted with a set of waterfalls. When we all jumped in, the water felt quite cold to us for some time, but soon we all adapted to the temperature. Before long, we were all sliding down the waterfalls like waterpark slides. Some people climbed large rocks to pose for pictures and others jumped into the water from small cliffs. Everyone had a blast trying out different kinds of jumps and sliding on the slides.

After swimming and jumping off rocks for about an hour, we started our hike back to the hotel. On the hike, our guide told us that a farmer used to live in the mountains by the water because he used it in the cheese-making process. This short piece of history gave the whole experience another layer of depth, knowing that ancient people used to live in the area we were walking. At the hotel, a few friends and I started a casual pick-up game of basketball. We played for about an hour before dinner. The game was a perfect opportunity for us to goof off, shouting the names of our favorite players as we tried our best to score points.

The next day, while still in Candeleda, we went on a separate excursion to another naturally formed water park. This trip involved many different rock slides and jumps along with repelling. For the majority of the day our group undertook a collection of diverse obstacles that gave us an almost constant adrenaline-rush. During the trip, we all jumped off of a nine meter high cliff and repelled down an even taller waterfall. The obstacles were not only fun to complete, but additionally instilled a sense of accomplishment in us, knowing that we had all left our comfort zones and completed something that likely felt insurmountable at first. Our final day in Candeleda began with a three hour hike. It seemed like every field student in our group shared the belief that the hike was a near impossible task due to their lack of hiking experience. We began the hike on an open dirt path, eventually transitioning to another grassy path, an edge of a road, a concrete walkway, and finally a city sidewalk. We stopped only to eat lunch and to wait for other group members. Most of us were fairly exhausted going into the final hour of our hike, but luckily everyone powered through and completed it.

Our perseverance was soon rewarded with a chance to purchase ice cream and relax in a large, rectangular, naturally created pool. I think that everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed the weekend excursion and would recommend visiting Candeleda to a friend. Although all of the challenges that we overcame this weekend were very fun, they more importantly gave us a nice confidence boost going into the next week of work.

SpainSean Confoy