My Reflection on the Sophomore Backpacking Trip

by Colin Bock

“But I don’t wanna go on this stupid trip… I’m going to be *expletive* miserable!”  

Well, it was at times miserable, and it often felt stupid, but in general it was not quite as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  In fact, I felt great about getting to know more of my fellow classmates even better every day.  The countless miles we hiked, the struggles we faced— it all blended into a memorable experience that is absolutely worth telling.

The first day, we hiked some 3 miles to camp.  Along the way, our group leader, John Holloran, would lag behind— but only because he would be plucking an array of beautiful, crisp huckleberries for the group, a truly unselfish move.  We took a plethora of breaks along the way to equip or shed layers and to eat gelatinous gummy worms.  Upon late evening we strode into camp, set up our tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, and then we awaited a dinner of sketchy freeze-dried chili.  The chili ended up being vulgar and repulsive both in texture and taste, yet I still found myself eating the package of “Darn Good Chili”.  Seriously though, it was the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth.  After dinner, a brutal wind hit us, and because we were really high up on a plateau, I froze my butt off.  It was that bad.  By the time we finished our nightly circle, I was first to the tent, and I nuzzled deep within the confines of my blue Patagonia sleeping bag.  This was the best moment all day, I swear.

The next morning was my birthday, and let me tell you right now, it was the worst birthday I have ever experienced, no joke.  I woke up completely under the weather.  No, I wasn’t even close to the weather.  I was nauseous, my nose was somehow clogged and runny at the same time, face was dry, ears plugged, the whole shabang.  Then, I left the tent and instantly, the cold hit me.  It hit me hard.  I felt as if I had just been pinned in a wrestling match by a blanket of cold.  I was truly miserable, and unfortunately for my groupmates I was pretty demanding and not the same giddy person as usual.  The entire hike to where we would spend our second night, I was constantly gasping for air as my lungs felt almost entirely closed.  By the time we got to camp, I lied down, got some rest, and after a questionable combination of macaroni and cheese and broccoli, I nuzzled back into my sleeping bag and slept through the morning the next day.

By the time I woke up, everybody was already almost packed up, and so I proceeded to do the same.  I started the morning with some oatmeal, and then I got my pack on and we hit the trail.  Today was brutal, let me tell you.  It took a long darn time to reach camp, and when we did, we had our lunch, (finally), and then we set up camp.  But then, we were presented with an opportunity to go on a dayhike to the top of a massive hill to get a spectacular view of, I swear, every mountain in the Pacific Northwest.  The way up was brutal as we had to fend off countless huckleberry branches and pine trees, but once we got up the view was outstanding.  We stayed up there for approximately 20 minutes, taking in the sights, eating trail mix, and then we literally flew down the hill back into camp and called it a day.

Just like that, it was the final morning, and we woke up, had leftover food for breakfast, then trudged out towards home.  By the time we reached our bus, we were exhausted and sweltering hot.  I quickly changed my clothes and hopped into the bus.  By the time we got to Burgerville 2 hours later, we were all starving, and let me tell you, that was the best meal we had all trip.  We later arrived back at school, and then that was that.  Overall, the trip was brutal, and had I known in advance, I honestly probably would not have gone in the sense that it would be that miserable, however I think that I bonded quite a lot with my groupmates and for that, I owe them all an individual thanks.  You know who you are. Kudos to Tom for keeping us all safe and secure throughout our expedition.

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