Monday, September 3, 2012

Braving the Wilderness

     Those of you who know me at all probably know that I am not a big "wilderness" person. I don't like bugs, I'm terrified of snakes, and I make my younger sister come kill spiders for me. Before this past weekend, I had never been camping, hiking, backpacking, or anything of the sort. And I was planning on keeping it that way. No such luck.
     Turns out that an essential aspect of UWC- USA life is wilderness. Each student is required to take 2.5 wilderness trips (the .5 being a day hike), and I am proud to say that I have now accomplished 40% of that requirement and not only lived to tell the tale, but actually kind of enjoyed the experience.
     This weekend I trekked across the Mesa de las Viejas and on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). What I expected to be a miserable trip full of snakes, beating sunshine, bears, terrible food, and utter boredom, was completely the opposite. I was part of a great group of people, 1 guide, 3 second-year leaders, and 6 firsties. Everyone got along really well and we worked together as a team all weekend long. We didn't see any bears or snakes (though I did wake up in the middle of the first night convinced a warthog was going to charge us. Turns out someone in the group snores), and there weren't too many bugs either. The food was surprisingly good; over the weekend we had pasta and cheese, hot sweet rice, quesadillas with salsa, rice with veggies and beans and curry powder, super oats with hot chocolate, and lots of snacks: pretzals, dried mango, Oreos, MnMs, gold fish, and a jar of Nutella. Altogether quite yummy, especially after a day of hiking. And the view? Absolutely incredible. The landscape is full of mountains (including a rock sculpture made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings) a lake, a river (which we got to jump in on our last day), and a surprising amount of greenery. It was really, really beautiful.
     Now don't get the wrong idea, I'm not planning on making a habit of these kinds of adventures, but I can honestly say that I gained an appreciation for the experience (and running water) and made another check on the life list, yay!

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