"Mt. Hood Oregon, Badger Creek Wilderness"

          Stacy Meshishnek

While it wasn't a great long or far fetching adventure, it was more than I've ventured out to do in many years. This last weekend, my German Shepherd Elsa and I set out to go backpacking in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The last time I had been backpacking, was 17 years ago, at the young and fit age of 15! Now, at 32 and about 25lbs heavier, it was by far a more grueling journey. While we didn't quite make it even half of what we had planned for, we had a wonderful and very peaceful time.

We saw a few spots of wildlife, but nothing bigger than a squirrel. What we did learn is that we girls are fine in the woods by ourselves. We were quite capable of taking care of our every need, and we were prepared for any obstacle we might encounter. We'll do it again, after getting in a little better shape. Hopefully one of these times we'll be able to make it the full 24 miles instead of just 10.

Why you ask did I set want to set out on this adventure after 17 years? 17 years ago I set out on my first ever backpacking trip with a good friend from High School. It was so much fun, and so inspiring to go so far in a matter of 2 days, and see all the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Last summer, news came to me that I hoped I'd never hear. My friend that I went on the trip with so many years ago had died in a motorcycle accident. I had gone to see him at his resting place the weekend before Elsa and I set out on our adventure. Though I knew I was out of shape, he was always one to inspire greatness in anyone, especially when it came to health and fitness and once again, he did. At the moment I set foot next to his grave, I made the decision that I would give this another try. Trying is better than sitting at home on the couch wondering if I'll ever be able to do it again...