What is it like? To be able to step out of this city, to step out of our own comfort zones called home and to see what’s beyond our borderline? I used to feel stuck – confined in a room, familiar to what was here, but ignorant to what was out there.
It wasn’t until I had the opportunity offered to me to join the North Cascades Wild Program that my life faced this borderline. This program was a two week back country trip that consisted of backpacking and canoeing 46-miles throughout Ross Lake with a group of ten strangers. Whoa, wait. Two-weeks? Ten strangers? 46-miles? Could a 17-year old city girl really survive this? I was skeptical for I did have inadequate outdoor skills and had a strong dislike towards insects. Was this trip going to be two whole weeks of fun or two whole weeks of torture? Even though this question roamed throughout my mind, I accepted the offer and took the step out.
I found myself at one of Ross Lake’s campsites, McMillan, sitting at an old picnic table around these ten strangers and I labeled them as followed – the overly talkative one, the one who passed way too much gas, the crazy one, and you can assume the other seven were also very interesting characters. So I began my journey with a prejudice view on these people, but as the days passed, I began to see the true beauty in everyone and in everything. Who knew that I would love paddling as fast I could along the shore to avoid getting struck by lightning? Who knew that these people, who I would never have thought to even talk to in my life, would I begin to love? I had great conversations with that talkative person and I was actually impressed with how large of a quantity the gassy person could produce gas. I admired the crazy one’s generosity to have piggy-backed me across the lake to land so I wouldn’t get my hiking boots wet. I didn’t have to deal with grooming myself, using electronics, or any of my problems because no one was there to complicate things or to judge. It felt like it was a time where I could get away from all of my worries. A time where I could just live a simplistic life and revert my life as a child with an open mind filled with wonder for everything. The 12th day arrived, but surprisingly, I didn’t want to go back home. The departure was a very sad one, but I looked back at the beautiful lake and smiled. I am truly thankful to have been able to attend this trip for I not only learned a lot about stewardship and appreciate the wilderness more, I also learned a lot about myself and appreciate myself more.
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