Looking Back

  • November 13, 2014
  • Posted by Colyne Hislop; CM'13, CL'14

Looking back over the last two years and trying to put all the memories, the laughs, and hard work you have with your crew into words is truly impossible. There is no way to explain the inside jokes, the joy you get when you get the perfect back-slope and the smell you produce after a ten day hitch.

I can still remember my first hitch as a crew member; I was hiking into the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forest. The day was promising with a bright blue sky and no clouds in sight. I can still feel the weight of my over packed brand new osprey pack that I was so excited for. I can remember my feet swelling in my boots, the hot spots rubbing and the endless heat beating down on me.That night in my tent as I took inventory over my aching muscles, naming each one, their origins and insertions, I kept wondering to myself what I got myself into and how I was going to make it another 5 months. But the next day passed and so did the next few months, and as they did I grew stronger. I got to hike endless miles of trails, sleep under the stairs, listen to the sing of the cross cut, laugh with my fellow crew members, and make trails where there were known before.

The memory of my first hitch particularly stays with me because the same look of uncertainty expressed on my face was splayed across my crew member faces almost a year later. The eleven mile hike to Black Bear Cabin in the Bob Marshall Wilderness was a day of freezing cold rain. As the five faces of my crew members peered out at me, covered in mud, wet to the bone and struggling with their overly stuffed packs, all I could do was smile. I knew this day would be their toughest and everyday thereafter would be a little easier. Sure there would be difficulties, and frustrations, but not like today. So as my leaders did before me, my co-leader and I encouraged them on. We challenged them to new strides and laughed with them around the fire as we ate a steaming bowl of spaghetti at Black Bear Cabin.

From a member to a leader there are too many wild and beautiful places, too many stories and too many adventures to share in one short sitting. What I would like share is what I have found among these. In the MCC PLACE curriculum there is a short passage on finding your sense of place. I have come to realize that my experience with the MCC, I have found my sense of place. It is not one place in particular, though I must admit some have more of a pull than others. My place is the Wilderness, it’s the National Parks, National Forests and any place you can find yourself lost in the woods. It’s the forests with its abundance of colors, its ever changing rivers, and the insect life you find buzzing around you. Growing up I always had a love for the outdoors, but now it has become a part me. I have found that with my experience I now more than ever what to take part in our public lands. I want to explore every inch of trail, show others their beauty and make a difference to preserve their natural wonders.

Now with only a few days left I am struggling to find words to wrap it all up. I will say cherish every moment, put lots of chocolate on your s’more, and stay up light to see the stars. Find something you are passionate about, help your neighbor and spend your life doing odd things with weird loving people.


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