The WEST Institute Blog
SIX DAYS IN THE WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS - Part 2
By: Mary Martin
"When I decided to go on this trip many people asked me why? I asked myself why? Why would you put yourself in so much discomfort? Why would you choose to do this?" - Part 1 Six Days in the Weminuche Wilderness
Day four in the Weminuche wilderness. Today we hiked to the bottom of Storm King. This was a harder day. It started out great. We were booking it, at least I felt like we were making really good time. I wasn't tired in the beginning, and I thought I finally had my legs under me in this whole backpacking thing. Then we started up steeper uphill trails. It was just a hard hike, and I wasn't in shape for it. During the hard points I remember thinking, the view better be worth it. Let me tell you, the view was always worth it. We camped at the bottom of a huge mountain called Storm King. We were surrounded by mountains, and stayed in a place called Stormy Gulch. We were off the trail by now, and not many people come to this place very often. We got there early enough to relax around the fire and enjoy some down time together. We saw lots of deer surrounding us, and got to sit in a place that we will never forget. It was one of my favorite days even after the hard hike. Getting to sit around, talk, joke and laugh together at a base of a mountain was amazing.
The fifth day we went up over the saddle and down Separation Gulch. This was emotionally the most exhausting day. We climbed the saddle. Once we got to the top we headed down Separation Gulch quickly because there was a storm brewing over head. We went down the first part pretty well. We even got to glacade some snow. I thought I would be scared going down it, but it was actually really fun! We got to the creek when it started to rain. Rain by itself is fine. We put on our rain jackets and kept going, no big deal. Then we got the boulder field. I was already pretty apprehensive about going down the boulder field, but then it started hailing. I was no longer apprehensive, I was panicking. I was struggling to keep up because of how scared I was. Then the boulders petered out and it turned into skree, a bunch of loose rocks we were supposed to go down. It was lightening, hailing, I was freaking out and now I had to go down loose rock which made it feel like I was falling down the side of the mountain. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Once we finally got to the other side of it, I was a mess. I was trying to hold it all in when I looked up and made eye contact with Kerbi. She said, "Let it out Mary. Don't hold it back." She knew what I was doing, I was running from feeling what was going on, and she wasn't about to let me do that. I was thankful for the freedom she offered in calling me out. Shoving things down wasn't going to help at all. When we got to the site I took a nap because I was completely done. I needed a break from it all. Thankfully that day I got some much needed rest. That night we celebrated with a big Thanksgiving dinner, gave each other nicknames and just celebrated the fact that we had almost made it to train day.
The next day we headed back into civilization, ate some great food, but most importantly we took showers! I was clean again! People ask me if I would do it again or if I would recommend someone else to do it. I chuckle when they ask me because my gut reaction is to say no. I will never do it again. Then I remember that that's me running from hard things. So who knows? I may do it again. If I do I will have to be much better prepared physically and emotionally. There is a lot that this trip requires of a person, but it is so good. Is it hard? Of course it is. Is it worth it? Of course it is! I learned so much about God, myself and my community on this trip. I would push everyone to do this trip once because of the lessons learned. Learning that getting through hard times is one step at a time, the freedom in letting things go, seeing that tangible picture of obedience and learning how supportive my community is are all lessons that would have been much harder to learn in civilization. The wilderness God created for his glory taught me so much more than I could have asked for. I am so thankful for this trip, and for the people that made it happen. Overall, God taught me through this trip to stop running. I have to push into uncomfortable things. Growth happens more in the hard times. Growth is not something to run from, it's something to push into. This trip wasn't a huge trial, it was just a picture of a trial that I will continually come back to when facing trials in life.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4