Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Personal Reflections from Solo Crossing

      Hello, my name is Elena. I am 15 years old and from Colorado. I came to Journeys with my sister Emma, who also joined me on this trip. We have been away for 5 weeks now and are missing home so much. This was also my first time in Washington and backpacking the Olympic National Park. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The best part of the whole trip for me was when we were in our sixth or seventh day into the trip and we just hiked six or seven miles that day to Anderson Pass. We were all exhausted and irritable when we finally reached the top. We got to the top and to our camp site and to our surprise there was a shelter there! All the kids were so ecstatic because it was like staying in a five star hotel for us. The most challenging part for me and the whole trip was the fact of how long the whole trip was. It wasn't really that long but, we were already gone for two weeks staying in Oregon and drove up from there. It's really hard to stay away from home that long. Overall, the trip was a life changing experience for me. The backpacking was awesome, the views were just breathtaking and the people were extraordinary. It helped me open my eyes to the person and the strengths I can do for this world. Thank you Journeys.

      Hey, my name is Jaiden. I'm from Renton, and I'm fifteen years old. I heard about Journeys from one of my mom's friends, who thought it would be perfect for me. I did some research, raised some money, and bam. I was a-journeying. What can I say? Solo Crossing was amazing. Not quite what I expected, but hella fun. I think my favorite part might have been sliding down Anderson Glacier on my butt. They have a fancy word for that, glissading. Did you know that? Sliding down snow on your butt is called glissading. Anyhow, it was freaking awesome. Another amazing thing was my Solo. Forty-eight hours fasting? Psh, no problem. Solo Crossing was challenging for me too, though. I'm really not all that athletic, see, so all those steep climbs and switchbacks were not so fun. Taught me to be stubborn though. Well, more stubborn. Heh. But yeah. Overall, Solo Crossing was the best thing I ever could have done with my summer. I met amazing people, got to see postcard-esque views firsthand, and climbed a mountain. I really hope I can do this again next year. Thank you, Journeys!

      Hello, my name is Kathryn. Before this Journeys trip I felt like just an ordinary seventeen year old from the city of Chicago. Now, I feel fresh and ready to take on any challenge put in my path. I learned about this organization through my father who knew Steve James, the director of Hoop Dreams, a man who had documented trips such as these, following the adventures and difficulties of us young adults. I had a lot of time to think about my life, my family, my friends on this journey, and the decisions I will be making in the near future as an adult. It was a life changing period of time that I learned many strengths on, and shared much compassion with the other teenagers. I will never forget the first few days of hiking up the Olympic Mountains, which included sore muscles but beautiful views of a world which I had not known. Seeing the black bear with his brown tipped nose, the doe-eyed dear, the glistening glaciers, and much more had warmed my soul instantly. We also came to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, which I will say, was one of my favorite parts of the trip (although I had many others). The fact that we were able to fall asleep to the aching moans of the ocean and the eagles calling in the trees was astonishing. Before I even knew it hiking with a backpack for miles felt like nothing! I could almost picture myself as if I was the wind blowing through the trees and watching over all things living. I now have a spiritual connection with myself, with others, and with the outside. I look forward to the near future where I will continue journeys that call to the soul.

      My name is Emma Baffin Donharl, and this trip has helped bring clarity on my transition from my childhood into this next year when I will be starting my life as an "adult". There were, and still are, many different pieces of me that have struggled throughout my life and are really painful. The ability to work on these hurt little pieces of Emma and realizing that I have to accept and love every part of me has been a very large and fulfilling part of this trip. My little sister and I were able to mend a failing relationship and start a healthy one to work on this huge transition and separation we are about to go through. The hike was beautiful, and having the ability to really immerse myself and find connection in a place other than my Rocky Mountains was invigorating. This trip really is a monument to my stepping into a new life, and I am thankful to Journeys to be able to make that happen.

    I am called Yestra Barnes Myint or Ye. I am from Edmonds, Washington. I was born in Burma, and I moved here about four years ago. On this three week long program, I had the most interesting experience that I have ever had in my life. The program changed me into a completely different person in a positive way. It gave me time to think of who I am, and why I do what I do. Also, the guides that were there on the trip were amazingly helpful when the participant needed help, but they gave me a chance to learn how to handle responsibility without too much interference (which was really nice). I also was able to figure out how to function as a group efficiently and all of the people there were able to become good friends nicely well. The most touching highlight of this camp was when we did our solo, for it gave me a chance to be able to go deep within myself to search for answers. Overall, I believe that this was a totally amazing camp and I hope that it continues itself for future generations that are in search of something meaningful in their journey to becoming an adult! Thank you to all the guides and my mentor!