I Lost My Backpacking Virginity

New students at Reed have the opportunity to participate in an Orientation “Odyssey” (cleverly called so because all freshmen have to read The Odyssey over the summer).  Many of them have outdoor themes, such as rafting or rock climbing.  For me, it was backpacking- something I’d never done but had always dreamed of.

After a grueling three hour van ride, we arrived in Indian Heaven Wilderness Area in southern Washington, just in time for a light drizzling of rain.  Here we are, posing awkwardly for a group photo:
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From left to right: Oliver, me, Sydney, Chris, Rose, Harrison, Keiran, Jed, and Joy.  Drew, our trip leader, is taking the photo.
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Our first campsite was located at the (aptly named) Blue Lake:
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The second day, a group of us hiked (or, more appropriately, bushwhacked) to the top of Bird Mountain (1).  The lack of a trail made it feel more like an adventure, and the views were amazing!  This one is Mt. Hood (2):
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Some of us taking a break halfway between the two peaks of Bird Mountain.  That’s Mt. Rainier behind us. Yes, that makes a three-mountain day.  And we’re not done yet.
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Sydney and another mountain.  This one might be Adams (4), but I’m actually not entirely sure.
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The gang on top of Bird Mountain.  It was one of the best parts of the trip:
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A cool succulent plant that Drew found in a crevice.  I had to climb in to get the photo:
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And there I am, between a rock and… well, another rock:
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Our campsite the third night was at Lake Wapiki.  It was ridiculously still.  When we weren’t splashing around in it, at least:
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It was a great way to begin my time at Reed College!  Until next time, Reader.
Heather Milne

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