This latest blog post comes to you from a 2016 Earth Corps program participant, Tracy Jacobs, who recently spent 30 days in the backcountry of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, helping to reconstruct the summit trail to Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point. Her blog is a personal account of her experience. Read on for some inspiration!
“I wanna rock and roll all night.” More like rock and roll all day. From 8:30 to 3 every day for 30 days, the students and instructors of Earth Corps 2016 moved rocks by carrying, rolling and sliding them across a mountain to reconstruct a trail for the public to summit Challenger Point and Kit Carson. The existing trail is dangerous and straight up the mountain, but the one we were working on is so much better, but I may be biased. We were working on steps and retaining walls for vegetation. The rocks for these two projects had to fit just right so that meant we needed perfect rocks, even if that meant crossing a talus field or walking up the mountain a bit. With that being said, there was a lot of rocking and rolling.
Aside from moving rocks, Earth Corps was both mentally and physically challenging, which I think made it a great experience for all. It really pushed your limits. Day 1 was probably the most challenging because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Day 1 was hiking up to base camp, 4.5 miles straight up…at least it felt like it, I did the trail later and it was barely straight up. Anyway, after about 2 and a half hours of hiking I was really thinking “what the heck did I get myself into?” but I kept on trekking. By hour 4, I was mentally being challenged, I was telling myself everything I could to keep going, and finally I saw the orange tents we would be staying in for the next month. Thank goodness, I had made it.
In the days that followed that first day, there were many more physical and mental challenges that everyone faced. Your body becomes tired and your mind tells you to stop, but you keep going because you end up realizing you are a lot stronger than you think and you push yourself a little bit each day.
Some days, the days that still lay ahead would look like forever and it seemed like you’d never get that Chick-fil-A milkshake that you’ve been craving, but then you look around and see the beauty that surrounds you. The wilderness would truly take my breath away and I would take a minute to stop and take it all in, and that’s when the 30 days seemed so short because you didn’t want to leave the wild.
My favorite days were the days I completed a personal goal or something I didn’t believe I could do. I was rocking and rolling at life, kicking butt at it too. These were the days that I knew I was becoming stronger both physically and mentally and it felt good because I was learning so much about myself. I will forever look back on these past 30 days and remember that there are no limitations in life unless you put them there.