Adventure Is Out There
Elizabeth FlesherTechnology. What an interesting thing. Turn your coffee pot on and put the coffee grounds in the filter....viola you have coffee. A turn of the knob in the shower and you have hot water to wash the dirt from your skin. Turn your car on, go where you want. Don't know where you want to go or how to get there....pull out your smart phone or GPS. Wow, what an easy life it is.
Today in the backcountry marks day 8 of no shower and boiling water for coffee with the grounds right in your cup. It also is the first day we get to navigate our way to Jackass Lake using only our maps, compass, and natural landmarks. Jeff went over maps with us again and how to take a bearing, which most of us forgot how to do. After the lesson we got our packs on. By this time Jeff was gone and on his way. 10 college students were left to navigate 1.6 miles.
Our hike led us up a mountain and then through a gorgeous valley. Motivation and encouragement kept the group going. 1 mile felt like it was 4 as elevation increased and backpacks wore down on us. We kept going.
6 hours later we knew for sure we wandered in the wrong direction. Right during this time I thought about my GPS; it always knows where I am at and what direction I need to go. However, it was our turn as a group to be that GPS. As I discovered we are one indecisive GPS with fingers pointing in multiple directions; unsure which way to go.
We decided after a long time to hike up to a trail we passed along the way that hopefully will lead us to Jackass Lake. 5 o'clock rolled around and we saw a sign that read Jackass Lake with an arrow pointing straight ahead. What a relief! It only took us 7 hours to get 1.4 miles. A familiar voice was heard in the background calling out. It was our professor Jeff. He walked down to us and guided us to lower Jackass Lake. Most of us were relieved to set down our packs and start dinner. I ate 3 bowls of soup myself, which is unusual.
I laid down on my air mattress and thought about what a simple life it really is in the front country. For some reason however, I feel this is the real life. A true hard days work.
I remember hearing people preach that it's not about getting there but the places and people you meet in between. It took us 8 hours to hike 1.6 miles but I saw gorgeous mountains in the distance and I got to hike one of those gorgeous mountains. I saw people help one another out and smile towards each other. I wouldn't trade anything for the experiences we share together, even though a hot shower is tempting. I am grateful for every opportunity we have had on ECOEE.
I leave you with a quote from John Muir, "I went to the woods to live deliberately. To front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach. For not when I came to die discover I had not lived."