Man, where do I even begin? Mere words will never adequately express my gratitude for the sunsets, laughs, mountain goat families, exhilarating rapids, sense of accomplishment, sore calves, breathtaking views, and universal growth shared among a group of 12 strangers that turned into family.
This trip is a highlights reel of the most stunning wild places in the American West (especially the PNW). I still have to pinch myself when I think back to paddling down 14-ft waterfalls on a river that flows through a collapsed lava tube. When I close my eyes, I can still imagine the endless expanse of stars in City of Rocks and the sheer power I felt while shouting an inside-joke battle cry into a canyon in the Goat Rocks. From daily practice in risk management, knots, Leave No Trace--to my River Rescue and Wilderness First Responder Certifications, I feel capable and confident to lead backpacking trips with friends and beyond. I also fell in love with rock climbing, and I am very involved in the outdoor scene on my college campus.
In an age of isolation and sleepwalking behind screens, this trip was such a necessary and timely reminder of what really matters in life. I learned that when you show up each day with your whole authentic self and actively invest in the growth of yourself and others, you are capable of anything. I learned to chase relationships and experiences (like AT) that make you feel so wholeheartedly loved, alive, and true. I highly, highly recommend this program to anyone my age. The transition to college is such an inflection point full of uncertainty and chaos, and this trip gave me time and space to reflect upon the person I am and the person I want to be, and I found the sense of direction and meaning I craved within the most supportive and encouraging environment.
Attending Adventure Treks last summer was undoubtedly the best decision of my life. (Thank you, THANK YOU, Mom and Dad). I grew immensely as an outdoorswoman, leader, friend, and human being, and I have epic stories and friendships to last a lifetime. I can't say enough good things about this program.
What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
At the end of our time rock climbing in City of Rocks, Idaho, we completed a 3-hour multi-pitch climb on Castle Rock that was easily the most exhilarating and terrifying moment of my life thus far.
Our guide would climb up a pitch first and set up the anchor while I climbed up, hooking up quick draw carabiners to set the path for a fellow student behind me. We would repeat this cycle, clipped into an anchor as we waited for the person ahead to complete each incremental ascent, as we slowly climbed higher and higher.
My forearms began to ache, and when I made the critical error of looking down, my legs started to tremble, which is less than ideal when you have maybe 6" of a rock ledge to stand on (at best).
But through jokes with a fellow student clipped into the anchor, cheers of support from above and below, reassurance and tips from the climbing guide, and the stunning surrounding views of The City, as they call it, I made it all the way to the top. It was such a great day.