Hiking Done Right? | Teen Ink

Hiking Done Right?

November 2, 2015
By IndieStratton GOLD, Ithaca, New York
IndieStratton GOLD, Ithaca, New York
14 articles 6 photos 7 comments

The summer before sophomore year had been planned perfectly. Just the right balance of socialization and adventure had been calculated and packing was somewhat complete with the constant push from my mom. The trip was 2 weeks long and I wanted every minute of it. In my mind I had made the limited description of the AT into a beautiful picture of a gentle woodland trail winding thru the woods, the tender springy ground ever waiting to except my boots and help me quickly painlessly ware them in. The new people I would meet would instantly become lifelong friends and adorning matching packs we would happily stroll thru the woods for two weeks.

I played this picture thru my head the whole trip to New Hampshire. The car only had had 2 windows that opened and our AC had been broken for months. Sitting in the backseat I tried not to let my sweating face bother me, at least I didn’t have very much stuff I though. All I had with me was in one back pack in the trunk. 2 white shirts a couple pairs of underwear a couple bandannas and a limited supply of other cloths were going to get me these two weeks for better or for worse. At least I had cut my pack weight down to 15 pounds I should have the lightest pack I thought.

I was ready to live up the AT life painlessly and joyfully with my fifteen pounds of cloths strapped to my back. one quick parent meeting later I was joyfully stuffing my belongings into a grungy green  backpack I was issued along with half a tent I would be sharing with the only other girl on the trip and two huge bags of group gear. The one poop shovel had been given to a hairy standoffish boy named Nira, and was thrown into his backpack where I was afraid we’d never see it again. The other girl and I were the last ones left on the grass fighting with our packs. She was 15 as well and all I knew about her was that her dad owned a Porsche convertible. Thinking back to my sticky windows and broken AC I felt a bit shy, but she agreed to share her toilet paper with me so we became fast friends.

The group was ready to set out and just by looking I knew that happy little 15 pounds had s*** the bed. Now I was carrying 4 liters of water along with everything else. My back strained as I tried to pick up my pack and put it on the scale, my suspicions were correct soon after 53.5 pounds of group gear and half a tent was strapped to my back and I was left cowering and realizing I had to pee really bad still and this was the LAST chance to use a real bathroom I would have for a very long time. Maneuvering around a 53 pound pack is like having a 7 year old cling to your waist and chest and each time the pack had to come off it entailed new array of zipping and unclipping.
Not even a mile into our hike I could see a huge pile of boulders going up what looked to be 100 miles. Being a human teeter totter I had to slow my pace to something like a crawl I felt like a 200 pound toddler trying to climb up the slide at the playground, the pack was making this incredibly hard and Cate had begun singing loudly about half an hour ago. I don’t usually mind singing, I like to do it myself but in our predicament I wasn’t in the mood to hear any more Disney songs. Thankfully the top was near, we hauled our packs onto an overlook with the most breathtaking view I have ever seen. We were only 2 miles from where we had started in the morning but the height we had come was incredible.

Everything was beautiful and I was starting to think the heavy pack was worth it when I realized I needed the shovel. The only problem was I was too afraid to ask Nira who was setting up a tent with the group 6 other boys. Luckily Cate seemed to be unfazed by asking boys for a poop shovel so she marched right up and got it for me. We had been informed earlier by our counselor’s Sierra and Adam that no toilet paper was aloud, they had informed us that rocks sticks and leaves were our best bet and we should get used to it now. Other than Cate not letting me use the toilet paper I knew she had, we were getting off to a good start.

There were tents set up but we all chose to bring our sleeping bags dangerously close to the edge to sleep under the stars. Nira had brought his bag close to mine and began nudging me. Great…. Just great I thought. I scooched my bag a bit closer to the edge. If I role off the mountain tonight I thought, it’s going to be poop shovel boys fault. All of us slept soundly on the mountain top, all of us except for Sammie. Sammie had bragged to us earlier about how this trip was just a warm up for the whole AT trail. He considered himself mister wilderness survival but stayed tucked away in his tent all night.

Morning came and we all were starving. We all ate a breakfast of about a ¼ of a cup granola with powdery milk. I felt my stomach grumble, and I wanted to dip into the snack back wed been giving but it was supposed to last 7 day and only 5 edible snacks remained, I had already given my 2 slim jims away because they looked slimy and smelled strange. We filled our water bags from the stream and dropped 2 small iodine pills in for each litter. The iodine turned our water a yellowish brownish color that resembled really concentrated pee. Adam told us we had to bush whack to get to the next trail. 2 to 3 hours passed and we came out of the forest exhausted and scratched up. The next “trail” left us all staring up in dismay. The set of ski slopes we would be ascending were a vertical 50 degrees of torcher which lasted for 5 miles. This meant more toddler crawling in places and the slowest pace ever. Mister wilderness adventure was in the far back. When lost sight of his loping body we threw down our packs and waited for him to reappear. Sweaty and unhappy looking he continued. The group emerged on a cliff also sweaty and a little miffed, for the whole time we walked tourists had rode the chairlifts to see the view at the top of the mountain smiling and happy.

Our first day had only just begun and already I questioned what I had gotten myself into. Between the scratchy woodland objects as toilet paper and the bushwhacking I could feel myself weakening. As long as I kept my mind on the beautiful views and the people I was with I should make it through I thought. But with each step the sneaking suspicion that what was around the corner may not be as easy as I thought.

The author's comments:

last Summer I went on an amazing AMC hiking trip. It didnt always go as planned... this is the account of my frist full day hiking.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.