By: Sterling Fisher
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – MoliereEvery day for the last three weeks something has reminded me of our “EPIC” backpacking trip in July! Whenever I eat a granola bar or see the rain falling outside the windows of my warm, cozy house, I remember the challenges of that trip. Tidbits of memories from the trip come back to me constantly. Spending three very damp nights in “The Worm 4”, our tent, has really made me appreciate my bed at home! The dense fog during our trip seemed to keep us focused on just what was directly around us, bringing out the immediate beauty of the Smokies, even in the rain! I think of the stunning Turk’s Cap Lillies (Lilium martagon) we saw near Clingman’s Dome and the gurgling stream dotted with moss-covered rocks near Campsite 30. I will also always remember the guidance and encouragement of our leaders, Caleb and Gina. When I had trouble keeping up, Gina always offered kind words to help me go on. Caleb even gave me his dry shirt to wear when mine was soaked. The physical challenges of this trip pushed me beyond anything that I had ever done before. Conquering this challenge has given me a renewed sense of who I am and my role as a steward of the earth. For me, completing this trip was a monumental accomplishment, and I am so grateful to be a part of this program! I am looking forward to our future activities!