Going to University in the Walla Walla Valley
By James Norton: For the past four years I have been attending Walla Walla University and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. As a graduating senior I will soon be departing this wonderful valley but the memories and friendships I have made here will last a lifetime. The Walla Walla Valley is the perfect setting for a college student. It’s an ideal place for both learning and growing. The small-town environment enhances the way in which students connect with one another. It gives the student body the opportunity to truly unify. I would highly recommend Walla Walla University to anyone especially for those who have a passion for the great outdoors!
Coming from Southern California the move to Walla Walla was a bit of a culture shock. Before this I had never lived in a small-town. The adaptation process happened quickly, within the first week I had made new friends, and I had developed a great appreciation for the community as a whole. Walla Walla seemed to be a perfect college town, and it became a great fit for me.
The outdoor life in the Walla Walla Valley is something that initially attracted me to this area. Within my first weeks of living here I began camping, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting with all my new friends that I had acquired because of living in the dorm. One of my most memorable fishing experiences happened right here on the Walla Walla River. A group of us decided to rent canoes from the University and the objective was to incorporate fishing with canoeing. Within the first thirty-minutes I had caught a trout. My buddy that was riding in my canoe congratulated me as we headed down the river. By the time we got half way down the river something hilarious happened. The canoe that was trailing right behind us had tipped over!! My buddy and me paddled towards the sinking canoe to ensure that everyone was safe. Once we established that everyone was okay, laughter overtook us. I will never forget the fear on their faces as the canoe tipped over, it still makes me chuckle.
The fishing that I experienced in the Walla Walla Valley was quite fun, but the hunting was something that I became passionate about. From October through January I spent almost every weekend pursuing upland birds. My favorite species to hunt are quail, grouse and pheasant. By the time I had reached my junior year I was becoming more of an experienced bird hunter. It is customary for upper classmen to leave the dorm and secure off campus housing with your friends and because of this I was able to purchase a hunting dog. It is much more exciting and efficient to bird hunt with a well trained hunting dog. After one whole summer of training my puppy he was ready to hit the field.
The most memorable hunt I’ve had from the Walla Walla Valley happened right outside of nearby Dayton. My buddy and I decided to hunt the woods with our two Brittany Spaniels in pursuit of ruffled grouse. My Brittany, Scout, had never hunted this type of bird. Prior to this he had only hunted quail and pheasants. Grouse tend to live in the trees; this would be something completely foreign to Scout. Oddly enough this did not hinder Scout’s ability, within the first thirty minutes of the hunt Scout pointed a pair of grouse. I did not realize that he was on point until my buddy said, “Look, he’s pointing at that tree, your dog hasn’t moved for over a minute.” My friend and I approached the tree and suddenly a grouse flushed. I lifted my shotgun and quickly harvested the bird. Scout then did something amazing, he moved through the thorny cover that the bird had fallen into and retrieved the bird to hand with both class and style. As we started to walk away Scout ran back to the tree where he had found the first grouse, and again he was locked up on point. To my surprise a second grouse flushed. I fired my shotgun and my pattern connected right with the bird. Scout dashed off and once again delivered the bird to hand. Within the next fifty-minutes the hunt was over for me. Scout pointed a grouse in a tall tree, when the bird flew I shot. I was so excited; I had taken a limit of ruffled grouse, one of the most prestigious game birds in North America. This is a hunt that I will never forget.
For me the moment hunting season ends, snowboarding season begins. At Walla Walla University during the winter quarter students are allowed to enroll in a snowboarding class. Each year I would take the class, and after every season I would become more proficient at snowboarding. Snowboarding here in the Walla Walla Valley is exciting and very inexpensive. Bluewood Ski Resort offers a student discount, which makes for a great day. Sometimes after class on Fridays my buddies and I would head straight for the mountain. If we were lucky, the mountain would have powder. Snowboarding in powder is one of the greatest experiences. If you fall nothing happens and you don’t get hurt. Each winter quarter I look forward to snowboarding, I’ve developed a great passion for the sport.
If you’re a high school senior considering college, Walla Walla University should definitely be on your list. I have grown so much over the past four years because of this amazing institution. The University provides a high-class education, and the professors help you network so by the time graduation comes along you are ready to begin your career. Walla Walla University cultivates young eager men and women into high-caliber professionals and the friends you make here will last a lifetime. Choosing Walla Walla University was the best decision I have made in my life so far.