From July 17th to the 26th, Summit Adventure instructors Daniel Hiebert and Kristen Narum took out five young adults backpacking on a 10-day adventure leadership course through the Sierra National Forest and Ansel Adams Wilderness. Upon their return to Summit’s Base at the end of their trip, I had the privilege to interview three of the participants–Jack, Alex, and Chloe–about the adventures and learning experiences of their longest bout in the backcountry.
We started our trek crossing the most rickety, terrifying, worn-out wooden bridge you could imagine…And it was the only way to get to the other side. We had to go one at a time, the bridge swung so much. The planks of wood were broken off in places, rusty loose nails warning us to tread carefully. Before I could think to stop him, my son Brady–being nine years old and full of zeal–began crossing. Heart pounding, I watched him. He finally reached the end of the bridge–but because my beloved kid was now on other side, I had to cross to be with him. No turning back.
Words cannot begin to express the joy, gratitude, and refreshment experienced during this journey to Argentina. After 26 hours of travel we arrived to a generous welcome in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (“Bariloche” for short). A team of eleven students and staff from Biola University partnered with a group of seven from Summit Adventure to support the ministry of one of Summit’s former employees. Our first few days in Bariloche were packed with an orientation of the ministry, Argentinian culture, and spectacular scenery.
Summit Adventure is based in Bass Lake, California, right outside of Yosemite National Park. With such an amazing course area in our backyard, many people are surprised to learn that we offer programs far away from our home base. One of our favorite course areas is in Southern California, where for the past few years we have been partnering with schools and churches to offer a course that combines rock climbing and rappelling in Joshua Tree National Park with service on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
We are just past the halfway point of our 6 weeks in Ecuador and it has been remarkably good. I wish I could say I was now fluent in Spanish but I am still regularly making the most ridiculous comments. Yesterday I was trying to encourage an Ecuadorian pastor and his wife to eat the healthier brown rice instead of the Ecuadorian standard white by saying “mucho gusto.” I was trying to say that I really liked the brown, but ended up saying that I was “pleased to meet them.” So they remained unconvinced, but laughed a lot at least.