Quessie Hunt was part of the GALS trip in summer 2018. In this blog post, she describes the beauty she saw on her trip and what she learned while backpacking.
I am honored to have been able to participate in the 2018 GALS program. The experience I gained was like no other and was hardly what I anticipated. I was completely enamored by the beautiful terrain of Pisgah National Forest. It was absolutely gratifying to marvel at its various components.
Beforehand, I had never been hiking. I had camped but only in a designated area. It was a completely different thing to camp in the backcountry. There were no set spots to put your tents; neither were there showers or bathrooms. I was even expected to carry a backpack that was over half my weight! But I quickly adjusted to all the things I thought would be a challenge and began an exciting journey.
The mountains we journeyed through were scattered with exquisite plants, beautiful waterfalls, and magnificent views. The views were never the same, some incorporating sights of greenery and others of rocky mountain terrain. Being able to stargaze in the absence of light pollution, while being surrounded by glistening lightning bugs, was by far the best.
I was able to learn the importance of environmental cleanliness to an ecosystem. We learned how to dispose of food and waste properly to ensure animal safety. We also took part in many lessons pertaining to science and recorded our trip experiences in our own personal journals. There was never a dull moment as we always had something fun to do, whether it was cooking, exploring, or even making s’mores by the campfire!
I am still mesmerized by this expedition. The GALS Program allowed me to glimpse firsthand how important it is to engage in exploring the beauty of nature. Being away from technology and the everyday world provided me with a feeling of great serenity. It helped me to understand the fundamentals of science, before technological advancements were made. I am thankful that I was allowed this experience and highly recommend anyone who is interested!