GORP is a staple of any backpacker’s food supply. It is said that GORP stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, but really it’s a matter of personal preference. Some go nut heavy, some go dried fruit heavy, and some go candy heavy. Once you’ve formed that perfect balance, GORP becomes your vice on the trail. You munch it at mid-morning, as a side to your lunch, in the afternoon, and when you finally reach camp. Every free moment can become a frivolous GORPing session if you’re not careful. I learned this the hard way on the Dirty Devil section when my twelve day supply of GORP was demolished in three days. It was apparent I was addicted to GORP.

There are two approaches to GORPing that I’ve encountered. The first is to pick at it piece by piece, and the second is to scoop generous handfuls into your mouth. The method of choice usually depends on your level of hangriness (hungry/angry), which has a direct effect on the speed of which the scrumptious GORP is consumed. Taking the piece by piece approach not only elongates the life of your GORP bag, it allows you to appreciate each little treat it offers. And although everyone is guilty of the scooping/gorging approach (there is a time and place for both), it’s clear that the piece by piece approach creates a more meaningful and lasting relationship with your GORP.

Over the past two months, I’ve become addicted to another type of GORP, one that you don’t necessarily eat, but still consume. This GORP stands for Growth and Observations from Resilient Perspectives, and it represents the new ways in which I’ve learned during this outdoor educational experience. Using all my senses to observe my surroundings, thinking critically with systems theories in mind, and learning from like-minded students and instructors has helped me grow personally and in my education.

Much like the GORP I eat, practicing the other GORP works most beneficially for me with the piece by piece method. I consume each morsel of knowledge, and chew on it for awhile. I let its flavor and essence infiltrate my taste buds until I’m ready for the next morsel. Piece by piece, I gradually build upon my knowledge base, knowing that in the coming days, weeks and years, I’ll always be hungry for more GORP.