Article by Claire Sattler. Media by Steven Potter.[divide]
Grimy, frightening, and exhausting: these are some words often associated with backpacking. However, when thinking of the backpacking trip I will soon be taking, I think of words like exhilarating, nature, and community. This spring break, the HPRA210 class will be driving about 15 hours south to backpack at Sam Houston National Forest in Texas.
Our journey begins at a brisk time of 2am on Saturday, March 14. Our class of nearly 20 people will pile into G.C.’s People Movers, drive all day, and finally arrive at the trailhead around 5:30pm to begin hiking. We will cover about 30 miles within four days and three nights on the Sam Houston trail, then drive another two hours south to Mustang Island, where we will get an opportunity to bathe in the Gulf of Mexico. The schedule is tentative, but we will likely arrive back in Greenville late on Saturday the 21st.
Surprisingly, the weather in Texas will be similar to that of Greenville for the week of spring break. Temperatures will be in the mid sixties by day and in the mid forties by night. In order to combat the chilly nights, we will wear wool socks, polyester clothing, and curl up into warm sleeping bags under the stars.
The class ranges from inexperienced hikers to avid backpackers. Within this diverse group, I fall closer to the “inexperienced hiker” end of the spectrum. The closest I have come to backpacking is camping in a tent where warm showers and electricity were readily available. However, this trip will be much more intense; it will be strenuous, as we will each be carrying a 40-50 pound backpack.
The physical demands may be the most nerve wracking part of the trip, but I look forward to learning the art of backpacking through both my instructors and peers.
Community is a significantly overused word on campus; however, I believe in the backpacking class will learn the true meaning of the word through our time on the trail together. We will work together to make meals, fire, and set up camp each night. Nothing says community better than accepting each other for our deodorantless armpits and never ending morning breath.