BRX 2 – Back at basecamp!!

By Green River Preserve

Sunday Night (7/13) -
Our Expeditioners returned to their base camp site this afternoon from their seven-day, 47-mile backpacking trip in Pisgah. An epic adventure to say the least!

Anxious to hear all about their week, we arrived at base camp around 6:30 just as the group was finishing up a delicious Mexican feast prepared by their leaders. A general atmosphere of relaxed contentment and cheek-splitting smiles was contagious.  With full bellies, the crew was genuinely grateful to be sitting, relaxing and sated. Also, much to our surprise, everyone looked clean thanks to cold-water creek baths!

However, it wasn’t just the re-charged energy of meeting their basic needs that these kids were radiating. It was the change in energy that comes from experiencing challenges, enduring struggles, conquering fears and sharing victories as a group. This Expedition, born of individuals bringing different attributes to the shared experience in the back country, had emerged as an interwoven community. Their pride in and sense of place was actually palpable at their base camp. Mission accomplished!!

We arrived with Stephen’s homemade apple crisp a la’ mode (yum!) in hand as a sweet bribe for stories of their journey that we were so anxious to hear. We sit around the campfire in their kitchen shelter and listen. The roses, or highlights, and thorns serve as a platform. As outsiders, we feel lucky to ease drop on these tales from the trail.

The roses for the group included: the view from Looking Glass mountain, the summit of Black Mountain in the storm, walking through the dog hobble shrub jungle – named for its effect on dogs chasing bears through the toxic to canine shrub, “my cooking group!”, Pilot Mountain, the clouds and sky, and the campsite by the river on the second to last night. The thorns for the trip were minimal: bug bites, wet clothes, bee stings, seemingly rapid passage of time, and Lawton (one of their leaders) getting sick. Overall the group’s favorite day was the second to last day, which they called “The Jungle Day.” This hike took them through thicket after thicket of dog hobble and across nearly 10 rivers! At the end of all this river crossing and thicket hiking, they completed the day setting up camp on a river where they swam and played for the evening. As a whole, the group agreed the entire trip was amazing.

As Directors of these Expedition programs, we are so fortunate to be able to witness this group transformation with each new Expedition. These ten young adults we currently have on-site have internalized real life-changing experiences whilst here on the property of Green River Preserve and beyond in our beautiful national and state parks system. We are thrilled for their shared experiences and grateful for the opportunity to facilitate the process.