Be Your Best Self
Seventeen guys, four girls and six instructors left on the Western frontier for twenty days… “What goes on?” one might wonder? Well, twenty days packed with adventure, excitement and, most importantly, memories. My story begins under a starry sky in Utah, possibly the most spectacular night sky on the planet. It was pitch dark due to lack of light pollution, and two girls were falling asleep on top of a tarp beside the Colorado River. They were just falling under when one girl feels something crawl across her arm. She taps me, did I mention I was one of these girls? I turn on my headlamp and shine it on what looks like a cockroach. It was huge, at least the size of a mouse. We screamed and then realized the rest of the camp was sleeping. We jumped up and hopped in our sleeping bags to the opposite side of the tarp. This is called the caterpillar. We both started saying the name of one of our instructors first quietly, then a little louder until we were squealing “Pete! Pete! Pete!” Pete ran over to see what all the commotion was about. By this time the bug was crawling frantically across the sand. Pete let out a manly scream and grabbed the concrete block holding our tarp down. He threw it on top of the roach, but that roach was a fighter – it started hissing. That was one of the more frightening noises I have ever heard. Pete lifted up the block. The roach flipped over and started waving its hairy legs. It took three or four more blows with the block to silence it. Pete scoped out our sleeping area upon our request and dubbed it safely sleepable. I don’t think either of us slept very well that night. When we awoke the next morning and went to breakfast everyone knew the story… I blame Pete. The rest of the trip we would hear “Pete! Pete! Pete!” said to us in high-pitched girl imitations…not accurate whatsoever. Our other instructor came up to us that morning and said “ I was five feet away from your tarp, and you scream for the Alaskan.” Pete is from Alaska. I guess we thought in Alaska they have experience dealing with bigger, badder bugs. As a community we experienced many laughable moments. If Adventure Treks could have a trade mark noise it would be laughter. This is just one of the many memories I have made at my two summers with A.T. Many of my best memories have been made here, with beautiful scenery, amazing people and experiences as company. Adventure Treks teaches you to “Be your best self”. This is the best advice I have ever been given. For me it means defining who I am and working to be the best version of me. For three weeks every summer you are pushed to be the best you. Those three weeks carry throughout the year, throughout your lifetime. I like to think of it as a mini instructor on your shoulder when you go home. Of course the mini version would be dressed in flair preferably lots of glitter and sequins, but above all the lessons A.T. teaches this one is the Godfather. Adventure Treks has helped me define myself as a contributor and a leader. I cannot express my gratitude enough. The lessons taught and experiences had are priceless. Adventure Treks means escaping giant bugs, backpacking with friends and building an everlasting community, but above all it means being your best self. “At the gates of the forest, the surprised man of the world is forced to leave his city estimates of great and small… The knapsack of custom falls off his (or her) back.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson. Adventure Treks does just that and so much more.