OLDS Recap – Backpacking Edition

After backpacking we asked Curtis Batten to give us a little recap of how the section went.  Enjoy the update and the photos of this beautiful backpacking expedition!

The concept of backpacking is so simple, walking in the woods over an extended period of time. The perfect blend of hiking and camping where you not only cook great meals, sleep under the stars, and see amazing vistas, but do it all with only what you can carry on your back. Strip away the comforts, privileges, and distractions of the everyday and step into something truly bigger than yourself to notice the beauty in things that have been there all along. The trails can be tough and the days may be long, however, it’s the simple life of backpacking that helps us see more clearly the majesty of God’s creation.

The OLDSchool crew was immersed in the simple majesty of the backcountry for two weeks to really ignite what’s looking to be amazing semester. Our homes were in the form of tents, hammocks, and tarps. And hosted by but not limited to Nantahala National Forest, Middle Prong Wilderness, Shining Rock Wilderness, and Pisgah National Forest. The first three days were spent all together traveling on the Mountains to Sea Trail, getting to know our gear systems and going deeper into our Ephesians study as we reached chapter two. Separation came as the ladies went ahead while the fellas enjoyed their first zero day, with the numbers down it was really time for us to get personal with ourselves and The Lord during our stay in the woods. The group continued to hone their outdoor abilities such as packing a pack, cooking, baking, group travel, navigation, and LNT adherence. However, we were seeing growth in relationships and the obvious pursuit of Christ in His creation that was happening in the OLDSchool family. A pivotal moment early on for the guys group to lift our spirits came on day six in Flat Laurel Paradise in the form of Oren “Po” Jones. This Wisconsin native provided movie night for us as he flawlessly recited and acted out Kung Fu Panda. The next few days were filled with incredible views from multiple summits, playing cards, a re-supply dance party, rain, swimming in the river, and a deeper look into our reconciliation back to Christ in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. As day eleven approached we were eager to meet back up with the girls and hear about their journey but knew that we had one last big climb ahead of us. The team worked great together on the ascent and we continued to see unity blossom throughout the group. Upon arrival at our rendezvous campsite everyone was eager to share experiences from the journey. So we made a pot-luck style supper, sat in a circle, swapped stories, and lived out what it means for us to be reconciled back to each other as the body of Christ. OLDSchooler Luke Laguio said it best, “I feel like I’ve found my people.” Last three days, no longer beginners in the woods, now was the time for the OLDSchoolers to impress us with their wisdom and skill in the backcountry. They did not disappoint. Operating like a well-oiled machine, very knowledgable and proficient. Best of all, the encouragement and vulnerability that was shared was real and refreshing.

Now we have returned to the front-country and have moved on to the next section of this awesome adventure. Thankful for the time to spend living in the woods with like-minded believers who are striving to be more like Christ. Shared experiences that one blog post cannot contain, fourteen days well spent in the majesty of God’s creation. The concept is simple; His glory is all around us, carry your cross, put one foot in front of the other, and walk in light of Christ. “For you are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10