Backpack camping: A mountaintop experience


The full squad on top of Raspberry Mountain. (Sari Nakazawa pictured on the left side wearing a hat.) Photo courtesy of Suhyeon Park.

by Gabriella Audrey

Dazzling blue lakes, pinecone scented air, and a dense emerald forest. That’s what 12 students experienced last week in Colorado during a five-day trip. An eight-hour road trip from Hesston to Colorado did not discourage them. They hiked, camped, climbed, and rappelled. Sari Nakazawa, a sophomore from Japan who joined this trip, recapped the experience for the Horizon: 

The three words I will use to describe this trip are: teamwork, gratitude, and freezing!

A student is rappelling to the peak of Raspberry Mountain. Photo courtesy of Suhyeon Park.

On our first day, we repelled and I was so scared, but everyone encouraged me and shouted, “You can do it, Sari!! Go!”

We made a strong team even from the first day. Later that day, we gathered together around bonfire and shared our life stories. This made me feel like everyone is kind of vulnerable—we just got to know each other and then the next minute we were sharing our life stories and our journey. The best thing about fire is “it has special power to make people calm and be honest.” 

On our second day, we had a  bonfire again and I made a confession: “I got really cold at night and if someone can borrow me their extra clothes, that would be great.” Suddenly, I was bundled in one hundred layers of furry jackets. They went to their cabins and everyone just gave me their thickest clothes. I felt so warm—physically and emotionally. 

It was so hot on the third day but nothing made me felt more satisfied than when we stood on top of the mountain and said, “We did it!!” We were smelly, filthy, and tired but we were together, satisfied, and stronger. 

Sari Nakazawa enjoying the beauty of nature. Photo courtesy of Suhyeon Park.

The most frustrating thing from this trip was that one of us got sick, which sucks, because we wanted all of us to see the mountaintop together. We worked together; I helped carry a backpack and others helped carry a frame backpack so our sick comrade could still enjoy the view on the mountaintop with us. That was a really beautiful moment of teamwork! 

In short, Colorado was breathtakingly wonderful because I got to enjoy it with these beautiful souls. Yes, I am tired and bruised.

Suhyeon Park posing for a picture. Photo courtesy by Suhyeon Park.

No, I do not regret any heartbeats I spent there. 





See you next Fall, beautiful Colorado!! 


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