Bravery is so very unique to each individual person. For some, it might mean simply getting out of bed to start the day. For others, it could be having the courage to speak up in social settings. For campers, each new day and every adventure brings forth ever-changing opportunities to have courage in the face of fear or hardship.
Most recently, we ventured into the vast woodlands of GRP, for a 3-day/2-night backpacking excursion that we call Campout. In a total of 8 different hiking groups, we departed from Base Camp on Saturday afternoon, splitting off in all directions across the Preserve. The experience goes hand-in-hand with bravery, from the very beginning of campout preparations to the final return to the Back Field at the end of the journey. While out on the trails, although packs may be heavy, the sun may be hot and the biting flies may be ceaselessly buzzing around our heads, we endure. To be brave, we must show courage in the face of fear or difficulty.
Sometimes we hear people say things like “don’t be afraid” or “don’t be scared.” I think it’s more important to actually feel the fear and let it wash through you and over you. To face the fear instead of not feeling it creates personal growth that cannot come to us any other way. While out on the Preserve, sourcing our own water, cooking our own food, and creating our own shelters out of a few tarps and some rope, we find it in ourselves to overcome the fears we might have of bugs, snakes, or sleeping under the stars. After chatting with a few campers, upon their return from their time in the woods, I heard there were times when they didn’t know if they could do it. They weren’t sure if going on Campout was the right choice, both in the beginning and at times when the unknown elements of backpacking seemed scary. Those same campers had smiles on their faces as they proudly retold the story of hearing coyotes in the distance, of feeling frightened at the moment, and they simply told themselves they would be okay and quickly fell back asleep. It isn’t always that easy, but when we are surrounded by each other and have a feeling of trust in ourselves, it truly helps in finding our inner strength.
Story by Brandon S. Marshall with photos by Brandon S. Marshall & Samantha Keebler