Backpacking The Oregon Trail: Taking Chances On Yourself

This first day of backpacking forced us to work together and persevere, until we finally reached our campsite, fatigued and hungry.

oregon trail
BANA HATZEY

As I was backpacking to Oregon with Longacre Expeditions filled with doubt, fear, and excitement, not once did I think about how I would feel on the way back. I could not help but question what I was soon to face, something so new and uncertain that I really did not know what to think. I would ask myself, what if? What if I can’t adapt to the new circumstance? What if I love it so much I never want to leave?  If I had known how much I would learn about myself and others, the people I would meet, the things I would accomplish in that time, or the fantastic memories I would leave with, I probably would have saved myself a lot of worry. The truth is, I had 24 days of irreplaceable lessons disguised as challenges.

Insects swarmed around every part of my body as I walked for nine hours, carried a 50-pound backpack, and climbed over endless, obstruent fallen trees. Each step heavier than the last, I was determined not to crumble in this insurmountably alien situation. The first day of the backpacking portion of my trip was off to a poor start. Our group of eleven, began to lose the trail. I found myself wondering, “Is backpacking supposed to be like this?” Filthy, itchy, exhausted, and drenched, I collected and channeled my energy to continue pushing myself (as well as my group) through the next mile.

oregon trail
BANA HATZEY

This first day of backpacking, in particular, forced us to work together and persevere, until we finally reached our campsite, fatigued and hungry. Whether it was surfing, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, or backpacking; everything we were able to experience on this trip was both challenging and rewarding. Although at the time I would not have admitted this, these challenges enhanced my resilience and made me thankful for the life I live. I saw that it is easy to take things for granted, but once you have been put into conditions outside of your comfort zone, appreciation comes just as easy.

Constantly being faced with the option to take risks on my trip, I began to realize that your mind can hinder your progress more than anything. It has the power to keep one from experiencing life to its fullest, and I learned not to hold myself back. Going on this trip helped me gather that you learn so much when you let yourself live. You have to trust yourself and let your inhibitions go. You learn the vitality of being appreciative of what you have and the remarkable importance of taking chances on yourself. More often than not, it’s a good bet that you will not regret it.

Article written by Bana Hatzey.

oregon trail
BANA HATZEY

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