A More Magical World

By Green River Preserve

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
― John Muir

When it comes right down to it, getting outdoors, in one way or another, amplifies your senses and expands the soul. This morning, dozens of young campers took off with Mentors and counselors, into the great wild beyond of Green River Preserve. For most, this might be the fourth, fifth or maybe even eighth time backpacking on the Preserve. For a few, this is their first chance to enter the backcountry realm to stay for a couple nights under the stars, in shelters they’ve made with their own hands. They’ll get to cook their own food, fetch their own water and learn the ways of responsible backcountry ethics.

“Leave no trace” is such a fantastic saying that I was unaware of until my first backpacking adventure, years ago. From the moment I learned to “pack it in, pack it out,” I found that it wasn’t just in keeping with basic rules of the outdoorsman: it is a staple that keeps our earth pure and beautiful for each and every person willing to trek into the wilderness.

As campers arrived to their locations for night one, after a hot and humid mid-day hike, I found that although many were exhausted, the idea of splashing around in the Green River brought most, if not all, back to their high-energy selves. After visiting four different Campout groups, while capturing moments of play, relaxation and wonder, it’s easy to see that the kids live for this. Each moment spent at GRP gives campers time away from society, but the backpacking experience offers something more. So much time spent out in nature, surviving on your own, well, it does something to you. It helps you to forget about your worries (and your strifes). Allowing the next generation to become a real part of nature brings them closer to fully understanding the importance of keeping our forests as they are (or better) for future generations. I’ve heard it stated multiple times in the last week: these are the kids that will have the chance to be a voice for positive environmental change or for the continuation of preserving the outdoors. The coolest part, though, is that you can visually see it in their eyes. These campers want to be that voice, and each day I see that this magical kingdom might just be the seed that instills the growth towards a more magical world.

Brandon S. Marshall