It’s dusk on a chilly February morning and I’m walking with my 88L Osprey pack to Rosen. I see the serene sunrise as I walk by the pool. I feel the cold ground with my fairly used boots. It feels like Expo is in the air once again.
After I took my final exams, I journeyed on another Sophomore Wilderness Expedition as a junior co-leader. On the morning of February 23rd, I watched all the Sophomores wave goodbye to their parents, friends, and ultimately society. They definitely felt a range of emotions going on a new kind of trip not knowing what the future held in front of them. Meanwhile, I was with Trail Crew organizing all the valuable items and hoping for the best trip possible for the Sophomores.
Trail Crew, lead by AP Biology teacher Mr. Czerny, traveled to the Ventana Wilderness away from the Sophomores. The main goal was to discover the old trails and complete some reconnaissance over the region, in order to investigate the possibility of enduring Ventana next year with Sophomores. With multiple storms coming our way, Mr. Czerny and the crew had to plan a route that would keep us as dry and safe as possible. All of us had done Expo before, so this allowed us to really do what we wanted with the time we had and see a significant amount of the Ventana Wilderness. We traveled in the mountains, near the sea, in the snow, in the sun, and through the fog. I am very happy to be able to witness all these different conditions and in having completed the trip through all these awesome environments.
One hike that really stood out was the hike up Junipero Serra. In total, the hike was around 12 miles. We started a mile or two out from the base of a mountain. As we approached the mountain, it became taller and taller. We arrived at a few rivers and crossed them with no problem. We sang a few songs and discussed a range of topics on our long hike. As we got higher, the discussion changed to “Look at that” and “Wow that’s so beautiful.” Indeed the views from the mountain were stunning. At one point, snow accumulated at our feet. “Wait, I didn’t know we were going to hike through snow,” I said after seeing snow on my boots. At a certain point, our leader Mr. Czerny had created a mandatory turn-around time at 2:00. Even if we were a couple of yards from the summit, we were turning back to arrive at camp before it got too dark. The group trod on, looking right at the summit less than a mile away high up on a perch. But we couldn’t make it. The summit was only a quarter-mile away but we had promised ourselves to turn back at 2:00. With our knees in the snow, we looked at each other with some disappointment. However, we did not let this shortcoming lead us to become saddened and glum for the rest of the hike. We took a photo very close to the top and went right back down Junipero Serra with pride in our accomplishment.
I looked at the sunset go under the horizon line of the ocean on the last night during the Wilderness Expedition, and I thought to myself about the simplicity of the past week and a half. The serenity of the nature behind me. And of the beautiful people back home.