April Alumna Story:Thank you Red Pine for teaching me to “believe in the wonder of the out-of-doors”
Posted April 9, 2015 by Lizzie Morrison
Lizzie Morrison (Leadership 2006). Camper 2001-2006. Staff Member 2007-2013.
Yesterday marked my first day on the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is a National Scenic Trail that stretches from the Mexico/California border thru California, Oregon, Washington and into Canada. For the next five months, I am going to be backpacking 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada carrying everything I need while resupplying for food in towns along the way.
Over the past couple months, I have told friends, family, coworkers, and strangers all about my plans to hike the PCT. Everyone has been super supportive and can’t wait for updates along the trail. But once I tell someone that I am going to hike for five months straight at about 20 miles per day, they usually wonder why? What inspires you to do that? To be honest I don’t have the best or most convincing answer. Definitely not one that will help me write the next best-selling novel but…I love nature. The idea of sleeping under the stars, watching every sunrise and sunset, and traveling through some of the largest mountains in the country for five months, sounds like a really great time. To top it all off, I get to experience it all with an amazing trail community filled with people that enjoy being outdoors and love the trail even more than I do.
Now you may wonder how did I become to love the outdoors so much that I would want to backpack for five months and hike over 2,000 miles? That’s where Red Pine comes into the story. As a camper, I loved everything about Red Pine and embraced everything it had to offer. But a big turning point for me as an RPC-CAMPER was going on the Canadian Canoe Trip in 2005. Despite the strong winds, forest fires, salsa fermentation, and portages filled with tears, it was the trip that introduced me to the outdoor lifestyle. I loved the routine of waking up with the sunrise, making breakfast, and setting out for a day filled with paddling. We would stop for lunch on large flat rocks where we would take rest hour and soak up the sun’s rays. The evenings were filled with group dinners, campfires, and star gazing. The whole trip is loaded with some of my best camp memories and friends. The boundary waters inspired me to continue camping and exploring the outdoors. Once I ran through those paddles at the end of the camp road, my tripping spirit was born.
As a member of canoe staff, I was able to continue to strengthen my tripping spirit and gain more experience and skills in the outdoors. After five solid years on canoe staff and too many Willow Flowage trips, I started or some may say brought back Red Pine backpacking trips. We started the first year with shorter trips. I had some really loyal campers who trail blazed with me around Clear Lake to help get the word out around camp about backpacking! Now, we have our longest trip to Isle Royale and a great group of junior backpackers!
All in all, thank you Red Pine for teaching me to “believe in the wonder of the out-of-doors, in the inspiration of the stars, and in the allurement of life in the open.”
And thank you for helping me end up where I am today…Standing at the Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail ready to embark on the biggest adventure of my life.