It was a warm, breezy day without a cloud in the sky in the summer of 2001. The soil was cold on my hands as I pulled myself upward, grabbing roots and rocks wherever I could, trying not to slip and fall onto the person behind me. As the trail leveled out, I could see everyone ahead of me. Jordan, Storm, Sam, Shashi, and Callie were still scrambling up the incline. Ahead was Jimmy, Ross, Marina, George, Sara, and Joss, all covered in dirt and sweat, but looking more alive than ever. Panting, I wondered who in their right mind ever thought backpacking through the mountains could be fun. Looking back, I realized that my backpacking trip changed my perspective on life and taught me a new appreciation for nature and perseverance.
Jimmy liked to lead the way because he was the man in charge and was a very experienced woodsman, although he looked more like a soccer player in build. Shashi stayed to the rear, playing mother, encouraging anyone who fell behind and making sure no one strayed. The middle of the succession consisted of the children, including myself, all age fourteen. All those included in the trip were in a nature class at Eagle’s Nest Camp. Our excursion was to last four days; it was a grand finale of all the things we had done during the three weeks at summer camp.
We had been hiking up the mountain already for two hours when finally we reached the river. “That’s a river? It looks more like a creek if you ask me. Back home the river is so big you can’t swim across it.” I was baffled that someone could call this four-foot stream a river, but I had to admit it was beautiful. I tried to imagine something else being in the river’s place, but it seemed unnatural. The mountains were very different from the coast, as precipitous and the coast was smooth. You couldn’t see anything ahead of you because there was a massive, looming mound of forested land in the way. All of the plants were incredibly diverse. There was an abundant variety of trees and under-brush: I would not have dared to count them all. As we hiked, occasionally Jimmy would give a lecture on a certain plant and its uses or dangers. He pointed out a winding tree with long, thick leaves. There were several of them intertwining into each other along the river. “Rhododendron is related to the Azalea bush and burns very well, even in wet conditions, but omits lethal toxic fumes when burned.”
... stepson vividly reimagined in Go Tell It on the Mountain. "Hating and fearing every living soul including ... in his writing. Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), his first novel, is a partially ... the surface, made him an unpopular preacher, while Jimmy, endowed with the charm of youth and with ... grimier, and more insignificant houses of worship. Young Jimmy was never told that David Baldwin was not his ...
After a short break and a snack, the crew was back on the move. We didn’t even have a chance to take off our packs. My pack weighed eighty five pounds, which was quite a load for someone only one hundred and ten pounds themselves. The chest and hip straps, specially designed to distribute weight evenly, were the only way I was able to carry such a load. We followed the trail along the river for what seemed like forever. The higher we climbed, the heavier my pack felt.
I could feel every stone underfoot, every step a forced effort. My chest felt like it was caving in. Although it was a warm summer’s day, every labored breath was cold and icy, leaving my mouth cotton dry. The heat soaked into my every bone and left my skin sticky, wet, and irritated. My pack mocked me, threatening to pull me backward onto the ground, as I wished like hell it had its own legs. The mountain laughed at me, steadily sloping upward, knowing I would never make it to the top.
“Come on, Kira. You can make it. It’s not so bad,” I heard Shashi exasperate through heavy breaths. Somehow I ended up the last kid in line, going at a snails pace although every fiber of my being was concentrated on getting up that never-ending mountain. The day was waning and still I could not see the top. I dropped to the ground, not caring to go any further. It was too hard. Nothing could be worth this. Why had I decided to take this trip? And it was only the first day!
... for six to eight hours in a day. I chose to go to mountain walking because I like to go to places ... comfortable. As we finally landed in Chile, I grabbed my pack bag and as I stepped out of the plane hearing ... fish in the large blue tank in the corner of the room silently while I ... in the waiting room for the dental assistant in her blue uniform to call out my name, I look at the ...
I turned my head to a sound that I heard just uphill and to the left. I was shocked and amazed to see a doe and her two calves lunching on a cluster of vegetation. The majestic animals had not spotted me, but as soon as I gasped in surprise, they were gone just as quickly as they had come. Their lean bodies pranced uphill as if they were weightless, and ever so quickly. Once, man was just as much a part of the natural world as the deer, I thought. I had been born with the tools to climb the hill just as they had, so I struggled back to my feet. I regretted ever stopping because getting up was harder than to keep moving. After nearly another hour of pushing forward on hands and knees, I spotted the rest of the group ahead. They stood beaming at me, exclaiming how well I had done and pulled me to the top of the plateau.
After abandoning our packs under a large oak, Jimmy announced that he had something for us all to see and led us up a short trail that ended with a large boulder and a rope hanging down. “Kira goes first. She needs to know why we’ve come here,” he explained. I took the lead up the rock and what I saw as I reached the summit will be burned into my memory for as long as I live.
It was as beautiful as a Monet painting come to life. The sun was setting behind a ridge of blue mountains that continued as far as the eye could see. The sky was a rainbow of blue, pink, and gold with only a wisp of a cloud here and there. Blue mist set into the valleys, so thick you could not see below. The wind tickled the treetops in greeting. It looked as though a vibrant green blanket had been thrown over the countryside. White rivers zigzagged down the mountains, creating waterfalls of every size. Giant boulders embedded themselves into the hills, making a striking contrast against the lush forests. Fireflies flickered and danced in the fading light. The birds and frogs sang their songs and to my ears it was no longer a croak or a squawk. Instead they sang a song of life, of peace, of being.
On my trip into the region I had seen countless mountaintops and the views were striking, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. Although the mountains were the same, my sight was altered. I learned to appreciate the things that are so easily overlooked. The beauty of nature mesmerized me and material things seemed trivial in comparison. I toiled to reach the summit myself and, in so doing, learned that rewards are much sweeter when attained by fortitude.
... Haven is located on 275 acres in Northern Georgias Blue Ridge Mountains.The staff will word together to ensure the survival ... guarantee their continued protection, and see what wonderful creatures mountain gorillas are. Although going to Rwanda is not recommended, ... by poachers (Kasnoff, 1-3).Stephanie Hancock, who studies mountain gorillas shares her personal experiences, and recent information on the ...