By Lindsay Philpott, a student at Weimar College
Last week, during the week of April 17-22, all the Weimar College students participated in PST (practical skills training) activities. PST has always been an activity that I look forward to, in order to take a break from school and do something fun and practical. For this PST, I signed up for Outdoor Education/Backpacking. I’ve gone backpacking many times, and I love the out-of-doors, but I definitely didn’t know what I was getting into!
This PST last five days. My friends and I were excited as we packed up the last few things. We were going backpacking, and when it was all over, we would be able to say we had walked 40 miles!
We loaded the vans Monday morning, and headed an hour down the road to the trailhead. It was raining as we started down the trail, but that didn’t seem to dampen our spirits. Mile after mile we walked—on the side of mountains, past streams and waterfalls, and through forests. We even ran into places where the trail disappeared due to slides, but on and on we went, rain and all!
After 10 miles that first day, we found a suitable place to camp beside the Yuba River. We scrambled to get out tents up before they got soaked inside and out. That night it poured, and every time I woke up I prayed that God would keep us dry!
The next morning my friend and I found only some of our things damp. As the rest of the camp stirred and we started packing up for another long day, we realized that the clouds were parting and the sun was shining. After a quick breakfast of granola, we broke camp and started down the trail again. Unfortunately, one of those in our group sprained his ankle, but this allowed us to make camp early and dry out our sleeping bags and tents and rest our tired feet.
The next day we decided to leave camp where it was and day hike the rest of the miles to hit the end of the trail, a total of 14 miles. It was by far the prettiest part of the trail in my opinion—beautiful waterfalls, innumerable types of wildflowers, and great views of the raging Yuba River.
The last two days we finished the long trek back to the vehicles. We all cheered when we got to the end—we had reached our goal of 40 miles. It was definitely the longest and most challenging backpacking trip I ever done! Sometimes the day seemed so long I just collapsed into bed that night. But it was also the most refreshing thing I have done—spending time outside, in nature, enjoying the handiwork of God.
If there was one thing I took away from that trip, I think it would be the lesson of perseverance. It’s not easy to walk 10 or 14 miles a day. Sometimes I was so tired or my feet hurt so bad that I thought I could not take one more step! And not only that, but 22 pounds on my back didn’t make it any easier. I would just have to keep thinking about the nice campsite we would find at the end, and that kept up my spirit.
This reminded me, however, of the verse in Hebrews 12:1, 2 that says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” It took perseverance to hike those 40 miles, but in the great race of life, it also takes a great deal of perseverance. Let’s not give up—but look to Jesus and persevere to the end!