A Student Reflection: Colorado Trek 2022
by Sydney Baller, Class of 2023
This summer, I had the privilege of going on the Colorado Trek. This Discovery experience focused on faith and discipleship while backpacking across southwestern Colorado. Our trip didn’t actually start on trail, but at our first of many group meetings prior to the trip. We spent time diving into scripture and discussion in order to further understand topics like faith, community, and the character of God, which were reaffirmed for me throughout our five days of hiking.
When we set off for the mountains in June, we first went white water rafting. It was really a fun way to start off the trip, and thankfully nobody fell in while we went through the class three rapids! The next day, we headed to Wayforward lodge, where we had a hearty breakfast, met our amazing guides, and packed our backpacks. Finally, we set out on the trail for a long day of hiking which was a wakeup call for me that this would not be easy. I had actually gone backpacking before, but this was totally different because we were off trail, going through rock fields and crossing rivers most of the time!
Throughout this though, I got to learn so much about everyone in my group and forged lifelong relationships. One of the really impactful things that we did at every break we would have during the day was share life stories, which is when a member of the group would share about their life and their faith journey for a little bit. I feel so much closer to everyone now as a result, and through this, God really showed me why friendships are so important in not only daily life, but in walking with God and learning more about His character as it is reflected in His creation. It just amazed me that if I had never signed up for this trip, I may have never met a lot of these amazing girls because they were all in different grades than I was.
I would say one of the hardest points for me on this trip came on the second night. It was freezing outside and our guides had just told us that we would be getting up really early the next morning. I just really wanted to go home, but I knew that wasn’t an option, so I had to fully and completely rely on God. I’d always felt like there was an “out” whenever I faced a challenge, so I am now so grateful that God presented me with that challenge where I had to completely fall back on Him.
After coming back from this trip, this is one of the things that I’ve really tried to take with me. I learned so much about myself, about others, and about my faith as a result of this experience. Not only was a refresher on how to set up a tent helpful, but I learned that I can do a lot more than I think I can. I didn’t know it at the time, but we ended up going almost 22 miles over the course of the week with 40-45 pound packs on our backs! If someone would’ve asked me if I could do that prior to the trip, I probably would have said no. Additionally, while on trail, I had so much time to talk to everyone and learn more about them, which was such a blessing for so many reasons! I will never forget many of the stories and laughs that we had on trail or during dinner, which has given me such an appreciation for community. I can hardly begin to explain how this whole experience has impacted my faith as a result. Ever since I’ve come back, I’ve felt so much more driven in my faith. A lot of the routines we did on the trail and prior to the trip have stayed with me as well, helping me stay connected with God despite all of the craziness that life brings. I’m constantly reminded through creation, people, and experiences like this that God is real and that He’s at work, despite how broken this world is. I suppose the best way to sum it up is that I’m left with hope and a yearning for more because life is meaningless and unfulfilling without God. While I’m still trying to find my way, as I was prior to the trip, I’ve learned that there’s no mastering faith, and you’re never going to get it perfect. But the time that I spend with God is meaningful in itself, and as a result, the way I approach my daily life is now different than it was a couple of months ago.