Winter bring a set of different adventures with itself. In the cold months of February, I set out on yet another adventure and a new experience. I went for a Backpacking trip with 9 strangers, led by trip leaders from UMD Adventure Group*.
Backpacking means carrying all you need – food, water and shelter – and set out to explore the nature on foot. We choose to hike the Pinnacle Trail Loop (part of the Appalachian Trail) near Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
First on the list: Planning. We all met on a Tuesday evening to get to know each other and plan out a few details about the trip. Most of us being newbie needed a good lesson on what and how to backpack. The trip leaders did a great job on informing us of what to pack and how much of it, you don’t want to carry everything as you are the one who will be carrying it around the whole trek.
Now that I was well-equipped, it is time for the adventure to begin. We met on Saturday morning and drove from College Park, MD to Hamburg, Pennsylvania. The mountain threw a surprise our way, everything was covered in snow. It only made us more excited. With a snow-ball fight, filled-stomach and backpack on our shoulders, we began our journey.
Just a few steps in we were greeted by a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. A perfect backdrop to connect with nature and make you feel alive. Continuing down the trail, we observed different trees and learned about their properties from one of our trip leaders. The snow-covered route was slowly and gradually proving to be a challenge and I admit I was a little too scared of slipping. But I was surrounded by a group of amazing people who kept me going.
The trail was serene and beautiful, you would occasionally hear the rivers flow but for most part it was silence. The kind that gives you a sense of inner peace and makes you think. Without the hassle of everyday life – study or work – you are answerable to no one but yourself. Your perception is changed and you have the opportunity to think of life as being alive and not just living.
After all the walking, we were rewarded by a beautiful sight from the top of the mountain. As far as the sight would go, you could see snow-covered farms. With having reach our view point, it was time to think about our next steps. Having covered half our trail, we had to plan the amount of trek to cover before we take shelter. We decide to cover the trek till the designated campsite, which would also bring us close to start point.
As the trek continued, I got a chance to talk to everyone and get to know all these interesting people. Each one had their own story, what excites them and what makes them. What excites them and what motivates them. As I will go on with my life, I will remember them by their excitement of life.
With the sun bidding us good-bye, we modified our plan. We choose to pick a close-by site, set up our camps and rest for the night. Now when I say rest, it is about bring out our food, cooking it together and eating all we can. We also set up a bonfire, to get warm and dry out our shoes. Note to self: invest in a real good pair of water proof shoes!
After a good night’s sleep, we packed our bags and took on the trail. In just a few hours, we had completed our hike and were on our way home. We stopped by the Hershey’s park, got our self some much-deserved chocolates and clean bathrooms. The journey was drawing to an end. As we drove back home, re-entering the city and its chaos, we were bringing back our own peace.