Let me start this off by saying that a 25-mile backpacking trek is not something I ever thought I would, or could do. In fact, there were many times over the last several days where I thought about calling my mom and flying home, because the task at hand was too daunting to face, and I didn’t have the confidence to overcome this task. How could I, someone who had just been home in quarantine for a year, possibly hike this much terrain, in such a short time? There were certainly times where I thought I would not be able to. But, with the help of the Dragons instructors and the wonderful people on this trip, I did it, and I did it well.
Sure, my feet are covered in blisters and it’s a bit painful to walk. But these small injuries are nothing compared to the pride I feel within myself and my group for hiking so much challenging terrain and doing it with a smile. The views I’ve seen over the last four days are views I will not soon forget–towering mountains and beautiful varieties of cacti and even desert animals like scorpions and havolinas (desert pigs)–all washed away by the most gorgeous pink sunsets every night. Talk about an amazing desert experience–we even had a thunderstorm last night.
Don’t get me wrong–none of this was easy. It was extremely challenging, both mentally and physically, to hike so much (~8 miles/day) with a 30 pound backpack and hiking boots that were just a little snug. There were times I didn’t think I would be able to proceed with the group, times where it felt just a little too hard. But, do you know what I did? I pushed through the discomfort and the pain, and I ended up with something pretty amazing: 25 miles under my belt and priceless memories with my fellow students here. I embraced what I think Dragons programs are really about: pushing yourself and going out of your comfort zone…which I highly recommend doing, even if it isn’t very pleasant, because you might just end up with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.