I owe a huge thank you to my Girl Scout camp friends for such a warm send off on my trip. Just as I hoped, heading directly from camp to Mt. Katahdin set the right mood for the start of this hike.
The past ten days I volunteered with my mom as a camp nurse at Camp Two Sentinels, a backpacking progression camp near Lake Tahoe. Like the trail, camp is a place where you can come as you are and unashamedly be yourself. It’s a level playing field where we shed our civilian identities and enjoy the outdoors together, regardless of income or background.
My favorite camp tradition is to gather and cheer wildly to wish hikers on their way, whether their trip is one day or one hundred. When they return we welcome them with the same enthusiasm. The girls come back dirty, sunburned, blistered, beaming with confidence, and standing visibly taller. I love that camp celebrates women for what their bodies can accomplish, rather than for their appearance.
Like the campers, I received a similar outpouring of well wishes for my hike that will help me through difficult stretches of trail. I’ll admit that my biggest fear for this trip is being too alone. Coming to camp meant starting the trail a little later in July, behind the main pack of hikers. While I worry I’ll find myself lonely at times, I also know there is a whole community of like-minded folks cheering me on.
Growing up in Girl Scouts introduced me to the idea that my feet can take me to cool places. I was thrilled when several campers showed interest in following my journal and I hope to spark this same curiosity in them. After all, trail life is very similar to camp life, but with more boys and more beer.