Gruffie Scholar: Darylann
20 year old Darylann went on a 30 day Rockies to Ecuador Pathfinder semester. Here is her account of the experience:
On the third day of my solo (the last day of my trip) in an attempt to be mildly poetic and to serve my experience some kind of tangible justice, I wrote this sentence down in my journal: “From Palugo to the Paramo, we saw some pretty things, but none of them as pretty as the people we became.”
My thirty-day excursion through the Ecuadorean backcountry with the Colorado Outward Bound School can be viewed as nothing less than the catalyst for a life fully lived. From the bugs and the blisters to the immaculate sunsets and the 15,000 foot summits, this attempt at a life as a wilder-woman taught me one very important lesson: to be present. I have always been a bit of a worrier; I panic at small situations and I have a hard time trusting my instincts. With every step that I took on the trail, every navigation decision that I was given the chance to make, every evening gathered in group-reflection, I felt the inadequacies that I saw in myself begin to shrink.
This course challenged me to climb mountains, physical mountains and mental mountains. I learned how to build fires and set up a whisper light stove, how to carry my home on my back and how to do sit ups in my sleeping back when I’m cold. But more than those things, I learned how to carry people, how to be solid when others are struggling and how to let myself cry when that’s something you need. I learned how to be comfortable being exactly who I am in a group of twenty strangers. Twenty strangers who I am now eternally bonded to.
In the moments that we shared we were fully aware, completely vulnerable and truly honest. We were present on the farms we worked on, in the homes and the tents slept in, under the stars and sunshine we moved through. In being present we became these beautiful people, who could push through pain and emotion and summit peaks. We became people who experienced the kind of happiness that very few people ever really get to experience. We became the people we always wanted to be.
Thanks to Darylann for the amazing story and fantastic photos!