American Explorers

Untitled, Hanni Wiegand, Bozeman, MT

Among the many memories I’ve created at American Explorers two stand out the most. It was the third day of our expedition and we had to go up river because the banks were too thick to bushwhack. One of the girls who was walking in front of me lost her footing and fell in. As she was floating away, I remember one of the educators yelling, “Well don’t just stand there, grab her!” As I held her by one of her back-pack straps, I couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the absurdity of the situation. I was laughing so had, I felt like I was going to pee my pants. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that with American Explorers you don’t know what the day will bring or what adventures you will experience, but know that it will be one that you won’t forget. To this day it remains one of my favorite memories.

My second memory that stands out is of the night we set up our very first bear hang. After an arduous day of hiking, at 10 pm setting up a bear hang was the last thing any of us wanted to do, but since it was necessary for the safety of our food, we went about setting it up with the help of our educators. The trees were skinny and the branches barely could hold weight, because of this it took a lot longer than it was suppose to. By the time we finished many of us were cranky, exhausted and frankly a little scared of how windy and dark it was. To make matters worse only a handful of us had brought headlamps, me being one of the few. In the dark it was easy to imagine that the trees and rocks were monster and the wind was their voice. To help ease our nerves one of the girls started sing “Rude” by Magic and quickly we all joined in. I remember walking single file and holding hands as if we were preschoolers. As we sang “Rude” we all felt a little safer and a little closer with each other. Ever since then it has become my favorite song and every time I feel lonely or scared, I listen to the song and I’m reminded of a time where I felt undeniable happiness.