Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Campers

Our first experience with guiding a camping expedition was an overwhelmingly positive one. It was actually pretty easy, as Ken prepared the food, the schedule, collected the money, and prepped all the gear we would need. Joe and I just sherpa'd (?) that stuff up the mountain and put all that gear to use once at camp. The guides are responsible for carrying up all the cooking supplies, food, tents, water for cooking, etc. Therese was a huge help as she offered to share some of the load. Both our packs were quite full, while some of the campers had nothing but a simple book bag with a few bottles of water in it, probably no more than 7 pounds. Joe and i each had around 45 pounds, certainly more than i had ever carried.

The trek up was not as bad as i expected. I was in front and joe was trailing the group, so i had to set a pace for everyone to follow. Oddly enough, it was a pretty easy hike for me. Being in front, i had the luxury of stopping whenever i wanted. My most comfortable pace is usually rather quick, regardless of the load i'm carrying, and i balance that with frequent, short stops. I'm more of a sprinter than a long distance runner, and slow and steady takes more energy than quick bursts. I always climb stairs two or three at a time, and find it very difficult to walk them.

We were blessed with beautiful weather and easy-going campers. Our group of 11 included four frisbee friends (ace, joe, and margaret), a group of five from Germany plus one chinese girlfriend, and one guy from England. We were lucky everyone was so cool. The seven of them didn't even sleep in the tents we brought up, they just spent the night outside. For many of them, it was their first experience with s'mores as well.

For me and ace, this trip was much needed. We had to get out of Beijing, if only for a night. Reentering nature makes us realize how much we miss Boulder at times, but for me, it also reminds me how beautiful Beijing is inside and beyond the big city.


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