Friday, May 20, 2011

The Trek: Thursday (5/19)- Friday (5/20)

First off, I must apologize for missing a day in my pledge to blog everyday this summer.  Over the last two days, I went backpacking at Grayson Highlands State Park/Mount Rogers Recreational Area in Virginia.  Backpacking was the one thing I wanted to do while home and I was able to plan out a trek and go with a couple friends from high school.  Hopefully this blog post will be enough for two days worth of writing. 

This is a trip I went on in high school with the Boy Scouts in training for my 12 day New Mexico backpacking trip.  I am a person who usually looks to try new things, but I wanted to go back here because it was such an incredible trip.  It was my friends Sammy and Brandon's first camping trip of this magnitude and I wanted to make sure it was a good one.  The trip consisted of a 7 mile hike up the Appalachian Trail the first day up to a spring on a ridge and then 5 miles back to the car the next day.  Great views all along the way. 

We encountered multiple difficulties along the way, such as me being the only one with a real backpack, it being nearly impossible to start a fire with the wind and wet wood, and Brandon constantly complaining about how tired he was.  Overall, those problems made the trip more of an adventure, which is essentially what I was looking for.  After a long day of hiking on Thursday, we finally reached the campsite where we'd be staying.  First step was to set up a tent, which proved a challenge in itself considering the help I had.  Then the difficult part: starting a campfire.  Usually this is not a problem for an Eagle Scout like me.  But due to the conditions, it turned into a bitch.  There was barely any wood around the campsite, and any there was was wet.  After about an hour, I get a good fire going.  We made hot dogs and smores and started drinking.  After lugging those bottles of Walmart wine up the mountain, you bet I was going to drink them.  The sun set and the fire died, which means it was time for bed. (who cares that it was 10 PM)

The next day, we had to hike back down the mountain through the ridge.  After a run in with some friendly horses, a sighting of a man that looked oddly like Ed Fella, and more of Brandon complaining, we made it back to the car.  Feelings of exhaustion and accomplishment rushed through us as we drove home.

Over the course of the trip, I continued to tell my friends that "it's not about the destination, but the journey."  They gave me crap for how many times I said it, but it is something I found very important.  You spend a majority of your time while hiking looking down at your feet making sure you weren't going to trip or fall.  But at any point and time, you need to look around you and take in what nature has to offer.  It is easy to get caught up in where you are going and not appreciate your voyage.  For example, while hiking the second day, I saw a cool rock that looked like it would be neat to climb.  I said "hey guys, let's take a break and go check this out."  Deciding to do this was one of the best decisions of the trip as it lead to an amazing view of the valley.  While all this is true while camping, it is just as much, if not more, true in life.  Very often, we get so caught up in trying to make a certain grade in a class or accomplish a goal that we have set out for us that we lose focus on what is going on around us.  My challenge to you is to take a break every once and a while and appreciate people and surroundings that encircle us.  For me, sometimes I will just stop while crossing the drillfield and admire the beauty of our great campus.  It is simple things like these that can make your day exponentially better.

In conclusion, more often than not, it is the simple things that matter.  But in order to appreciate them, we must take a little time out of our frenzied lives to slow down and take it all in.  Once again, I must apologize because I used my quote of the day early.  (In case you didn't read the rest of this blog and just wanted to see the quote it was "it's not about the journey, but the destination.")  But none-the-less, there it is.  I've attached a few photo's from the trip, enjoy!

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