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Big City Mountaineers or BCM was an experience which I will never forget; but before I get into the trip, I will tell you about how I felt about being nominated to go. When I first started working at EOYDC everyone was talking about BCM and how it was one of the craziest things they have done. I was always trying to figure out what it was, but no one would tell me about the trip. The only information that I received from people was that I will probably be going. I was confused and a little scared, but when I heard it was camping for seven days in the forest with no showers and walking miles and miles; I became very terrified. Then the day came, Jamir came into my math class and handed me the BCM papers. In my mind I was like, “AHHHH,” but I kept my cool and came to the conclusion that this is the time to overcome my mind. I knew this was a “right of passage” to the EOYDC family, and since we were already so tight I felt that this trip would test us. I later turned in my papers, and I was getting mentally ready for this seven day wilderness trip.
I arrived at the center at seven o’clock on the dot, and it was a chilly morning. I gave my mom a kiss, and went into the center and asked everyone if they were ready. They all replied with a yes, and said they couldn’t wait; we soon found out it wasn’t going to be that easy. Our leaders walked through the EOYDC doors and they were smiling and excited. They were all very nice and interesting in their own ways. Josh looked like he was the son of Jesus, and always carried a big knife of the side of his pants. Mark was short, but looked very strong, and looked as if he hiked everyday. Laddie was the oldest one out of them all, and I really didn’t believe he could keep up with us. After our greeting one another we packed up the vans, picked up our gear, and were on our way to Yosemite.
We finally made it to the campsite, and our leaders showed us how to pitch tents and how to pack our bags. We quickly noticed that everything that we brought could not come along for the trip. We had to be very selective and only take the necessities. My “tent mate” was Rodney horn and we had a great time and learned a lot about one another. Our second day was supposed to be very relaxing, but the leaders switched the plans on us. So we ended up going to the waterfalls which was a six mile hike. It was one of the most beautiful sites that I have seen in my seventeen years. I had no cell phone, video games, computer, and I noticed getting away from these things made me appreciate my life and what I have a lot more.
The third day was when re hit the trail. It was probably one of the easiest days, because we were fresh, excited, and ready to go. We made it to the campsite very quickly and had a lot of down time. We used this day to learn how to get water from stream and to do number two in the woods which was very interesting. This day was also was used to get to know one another a lot better, we talked a lot and just got to know different things about each other. The fourth day we encountered the dreaded switchbacks which killed all of us. We didn’t want to look weak, but they kicked us in our butts. Later, we found out that all our hard work had paid off, because we made it to ten lakes which were very beautiful. From afar they looked like a dream, and the closer we got the more it looked like heaven. This was our hardest day, but together we found out we could conquer anything.
The days started to speed up, and we started to enjoy the wilderness and what peace it brought upon us. Around the campfire we would always playfully make fun of one another, and talk about our lives, or even play mafia which was very fun. Rodney and I talked a lot in our tent and we grew very close, and to this day Rodney and I talk regularly. The days started to become easier and we seemed like a big family. By this time our leaders were very comfortable with us, and were always ready to give us advice on life. They were very positive and were a lot cooler than I thought they would be.
It was the fifth day and we were still on a roll. This probably was one of the funniest days, because of the bets that occurred. We camped near this mountain which had white stuff on it, and Jamir and Rodney bet Rodney that the white stuff in the Mountains were snow. Rodney like I can couple others believed it was sand or something, so Rodney took on the bet. Whoever lost had to carry something extra from the other person. As they made the long journey up the mountain, we all anticipated the result. Finally we here Jamir scream in excitement and was saying that he was going to have ice cold Kool-Aid tonight.
Before you know it, it was the morning of the peak climb. We were all excited and ready to go. We had some issues going up to the top of the mountain. It was very rough terrain and we were all exhausted. The air became thinner and we had to make many stops to drink the ice cold snow water that was in our canisters. We finally made it to the top as a unit, and were relieved. This was the hardest we had to work the whole trip, and the great thing about it is that we worked as a team and cheered one another on. We then took pictures and celebrated our accomplishment of breaking a BCM record which was a peak ascent of 10,850ft!
We were all excited to take showers as we were walking through the last of the 26 mile trail. It was our last day in the wilderness and we could not wait. We all made it through and we jumped in the freezing lake, because it is BCM ritual on the last day of the trail. We all joked around and put on our warm clothes as we were waiting for the vans to arrive. We all hopped in the vans and were restless as we were heading to paradise. We arrived at these yurts which were very comfy and even had a swimming pool which ended up to be one of the saddest days for Louis, Agyei, Rodney, and I, because of Jamir. We had an award ceremony and the leaders gave us all different type of awards that showed our qualities. We also gave the leaders award with their wilderness nicknames. Later that day we went to have a BBQ dinner which was delicious and filling. We all thought about all the great and bad moments of BCM. This was our last day of the seven day trip and we were excited and sad at the same time.
The ride home was very short, and everyone was happy to finally receive some service on their cell phones. We all typed away on our devices and called our parents to let them know we were okay. We made it to the center safely, took a couple pictures, and said farewell to our fearless leaders. I noticed everyone was still reminiscing and missed the wilderness a little. Even though we got in some quarrels we still came out as a family.
Even though BCM took us away from our homes we all came together as one and strengthened our relationships. It was a reality check and we learned something about one another and about ourselves. This trip was vital to us even though we did not know it, and it helped us to mature into young adults. I would not trade this for the world and I know this experience will stay with me and the others for the rest of our lives. I also thank the EOYDC for this opportunity, because without them I would not have been present on this trip and be given the opportunity to better myself.