CDR takes its company culture seriously, planning a team building adventure each year. These adventures have come in the form of rugged hikes, white water rafting, and most recently backpacking through one of the premier hiking destinations in the Southwest, The Superstition Mountains. CDR spent two nights in the wilderness, trekked 18 miles, and carried heavy packs over rugged terrain.
Picture high desert landscapes littered with Saguaro, Barrel, Prickly Pear, and Ocotillo cacti, craggy wilderness, and rugged peaks outlined against a gorgeous, clear blue sky. Above, a Harris hawk circles its prey, while in the near distance a roadrunner is seen chasing its next meal.
An Educational Experience
Almost every team member shared an interesting fact they had learned about the Saguaro cactus, the largest and tallest cactus native to the United States, and one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. Alicia Herrara was surprised to learn that it is a federal crime to shoot at a Saguaro cactus. Hannah Lancaster was fascinated by how specific and rare the weather conditions need to be for a Saguaro cactus to grow, and several team members mentioned learning that when conditions like wind, temperature, etc. are just perfect, a whole patch of cacti will grow just in one specific area. Bianca Villanueva learned that despite common belief, you actually cannot drink water from most cacti.
“The area we hiked was full of historical landmarks. I enjoyed hearing about the methods the Apache Native Americans that lived in that area used to fight and survive. They relied on the cactus and other plants for self defense and for food,” said Hannah.
With a starting elevation of 2,420′, the CDR team climbed past the Miner’s Needle, a towering, rocky spike of weathered lava. Led by expert guides, the team traversed over formidable volcanic terrain while enjoying incredible desert views. With rich history abound, the team was able to admire The Lost Dutchman Mine, one of Arizona’s historical landmarks, and keep their eyes peeled for hints of the legendary “Lost Dutchman’s gold!”
“The most difficult part of the hike was dealing with the trail’s overgrowth. The desert terrain was so different. It really felt like all the plants just wanted to kill you out there. Everyone was covered in scratches by the end of the trip,” Hannah recalled. “Despite the challenges, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much fun our ever-growing team has together, even when tired from hiking all day. Spending time with my coworkers in a setting that was outside of everyone’s comfort zone was the best part of the trip. By the end I was physically tired, but very happy and thankful for a team that is willing to do hard and new things together.”
The team hiked through deep, narrow chasms, explored West Boulder Canyon, and left their heavy packs behind for a quick jaunt into the narrows of La Barge Box. From there they began the steep ascent up Boulder Canyon trail, taking them out to the eastern ridge of the canyon before heading back down to Canyon Lake. With daytime temperatures hovering around 75 degrees, most of the journey was pleasantly cool, as they hiked in the shadows of the rocky crags.
Five Star Meals
“I really enjoyed laughing with my colleagues around the campfire at the end of each day,” said Alicia Herrara. “The curry we had for dinner the first night of the hike was amazing, and the chocolate chip pancakes the next morning were also delicious!”
“Hiking up 1000’ of elevation gain early in the morning after a night out was challenging. I was exhausted by the end of the trip,” Bianca laughed, “but I was happy that I was able to accomplish something so difficult. On our last night the guides made Beef Stroganoff. I never knew that freeze-dried food could taste so good.”
“The trip was exhausting but rewarding. There was no better feeling than getting to the campsite each evening and finally taking off my hiking boots,” said Logan Kornblum. “Sitting around the campfire at the end of the night and sharing stories was a major highlight for me.”
This trip provided an amazing opportunity for team building, as the group relied on each other for company and moral support as they trekked through the desert. At CDR, Principal, Aaron Albertson believes team building is one of the most important investments you can make for your business. Building trust and reducing conflict, as well as increasing dialogue, and expanding opportunities for collaboration are just a few of the many benefits. Participating in these adventures results in employees who are more engaged, which is good for company culture and overall productivity, not to mention a great morale booster.
“The Superstition Mountains in December were magnificent. The days were not too hot, with a cool breeze, and cool nights. The trail was extremely rugged, making for a great feeling of accomplishment when completed. Our guides were excellent, had a great sense of humor, and modeled the ultimate positive attitudes. The highlight of the trip for me was the group comradery and the sense of accomplishment at the end of the experience! This trip was definitely one for the memory books,” said Aaron Albertson, Principal, CDR.