Aug 202006
Authors: Geoff Johnson The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Mark Petty climbed a shed in a bright yellow Ram Welcome T-shirt early Saturday evening.

Petty, a music major, along with the rest of the Outdoor Adventure Program, prepared for the third annual Hike to the A, a leisurely march from Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium to the famous white “A” emblazoned on the foothills west of Fort Collins.

After one failed attempt at the shed, including a half-ascent thwarted with the realization that a gutter won’t support a man’s weight, he re-assessed the situation and tried another angle.

He reached the summit of the small storage unit outside of the Campus Recreation Center at about 5:35 p.m., before any student attendees of the hike had arrived.

“Mark’s got lots of weird human tricks,” said Francisco Tharp, a senior English major and member of the Outdoor Adventure Program.

Tharp gestured toward a circle of his fellow club members, sitting on the Intramural Field, and explained the game they were playing, created by Petty, called “Sole Survivor.”

“Everyone loosens their shoes, and they try to take each other’s shoes off, using their feet, no hands,” he said. “The winner is the last one with a shoe on.”

The club members wriggled in a twisted mass of calves and feet, yelling and laughing.

As the competitors walked away, it was unclear who had won; all participants were congratulatory of one another at game’s end.

Thirty minutes and a bus ride after the shoe-removal game, just south of a quiet Hughes Stadium, about 50 students stood in a circle surrounding Mark Petty as he introduced himself.

“What comes after ‘Super Senior’?” he asked the group. “I guess I’m a Super-Duper Senior. It’s my sixth year. I like it here.”

After his fellow club members and group leaders for the day introduced themselves, Petty divided everyone present into three groups, labeled Brontosauruses, Stegosauruses, and Wooly Mammoths. Each group had a corresponding hand motion.

“Brontosauri are leaf eaters,” Petty told onlookers with a hand stretched over his head simulating a dinosaur. “Can you show me some leaf-eating?”

Before sending the three groups up the hill with experienced Outdoor Adventure Club group leaders, Petty made sure each hiker had appropriate safety precautions: a chemically-powered light stick in case of being stuck out after dark, a bottle of water and a little white rock to add to the “A.”

As hikers of different groups passed Mark Petty on their way to or from the “A,” he greeted them with a high five, a smile and an enthusiastic “good game.”

Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at


The Outdoor Adventure Program will attempt to climb Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, during winter break.

To find out about other hikes, classes and activities, visit the Membership Services Desk in the Student Recreation Center, or call 491-6359.

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