Job #5 Recap: Backpacking Guide

This week I'm in Dallas, Texas to work with the Dallas Market Center and learn all about the wholesale business!

Before I jump into blogging about this week, here's a recap about last week. I worked with Peak 7, a nonprofit in Spokane, Washington on one of their 5-day backpacking trips. To read my first 2 blogs about last week, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

After surviving our first night in the wilderness, we woke up to soggy boots outside out tents. There are times in life when you ease your way into something, but we sure didn’t ease into hiking! After eating our standard breakfast of instant oatmeal, we loaded our daypacks with granola bars, filtered water, and raingear and hit the trail.

We had three amazing guides on the trip, Nicole, Laura, and Lo. For the first day of hiking, they announced we would summit a mountain called “Stiletto Peak” by the end of the day. Hearing “stiletto” made me think of high-heels and glamorized the idea of hiking to the top of the mountain. Let’s just say I missed the memo that we would be walking 3 miles up a mountain! That may sound like nothing, but we counted the number of switchbacks (alternating hills up the mountain) and there were close to 30 hills we climbed.

The view from the Stiletto Peak lookout was phenomenal! After celebrating our summit for a bit, we headed back down the mountain and capped the day off with cup of noodles.

The next day, we woke up to rain so everyone squeezed into the same tent to relax and eat oatmeal together.

Beautiful sunlight finally appeared so all of us girls hit the trail once again, but this time en route to McCallister Lake. After hiking 4 miles, we arrived and had a great time swimming and having quiet time in the wilderness.

To wrap up our week, we hiked 3.5 miles on Friday back to the car. A short drive later, the dozen of us arrived to a family's house to camp for the night. Lauren, one of the backpacking guides, had family in the area who offered to grill a meal for the girls when we finished our backpacking and let us set up tents in their yard. It was an absolute treat to enjoy real food, play volleyball, and sleep in a tent on their lawn.

I am so glad I came to Washington to see what it's like to be a backpacking guide! Not only did I learn a lot about non-profits and the outdoors, but I also learned how to better relate to teenagers.

Favorite part of the week?

Each night, Peak 7 encourages a few of the girls to share their personal story about life. I loved hearing each girl share her story of growing up and about both her successes and struggles. During "spotlight" time, I really got to learn about each of the trip participants and that was more special than climbing a mountain any day!

Least favorite part of the week?

It was hard to go without a shower for 5 days. I can go without for a few days, but showers are definitely a necessary luxury!

Thanks for reading my blog!

Due to a crazy travel schedule and fast-paced job this week, I am a bit behind on blogging. Please keep watching for new blogs this week and to make it easier, bookmark this link to access all my posts.

-Kieley Best

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I Survived the Wilderness

I am back to civilization! For the past five days, I've been backpacking with Peak 7 Adventures in North Cascades National Park. Peak 7 is a non-profit based in Spokane, Washington, that specializes in amazing outdoor adventures. I was fortunate to go on one of their "Ascent" trips, backcountry wilderness trips that challenge the teen participants physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Job #5: Backpacking Guide

I am a traveling machine! After wrapping up an awesome week at Scott's Bike Shop in Cleveland, TN, I  flew across the U.S. on Sunday to Spokane, Washington. It's hard to contain my excitement for my job this week: backpacking guide! There is a great non-profit based out of Spokane called "Peak 7." Peak 7 is a non-profit that focuses on taking low-income and at-risk youth on outdoor adventures. They offer climbing, rafting, and backpacking trips. Unlike some organizations that cater to mainly affluent youth, I appreciate that Peak 7 does not exist to make money. They exist to make relationships with the kids, teach them about the outdoors, and to ultimately, show them Christ's love throughout the trip. It's so exciting that Spokane youth have the opportunity to explore the outdoors and learn from experienced guides through this organization. I arrived to Spokane Sunday morning after a long day of flights from Tennessee. Austin, the Peak 7 coordinator, met me at the airport and took me to Zip's, an amazing burger place, for lunch.

After a quick bite to eat, we headed over to the Peak 7 Warehouse to unpack gear from the previous week's trips. I put up tents to dry out, cleaned boots, and tried to help get everything organized for this week's trips. It was great to meet the Peak 7 staff, volunteers, and guides. Every person I talked to had a unique story about how they came to Spokane and found out about Peak 7. The organization has only existed for just under five years, but it's incredible how far along they are. The warehouse alone is an achievement since most of the gear has been donated by different companies. There are some causes that I hear about and quickly forget about, but Peak 7 is definitely not one of those for me! I love what they're doing and believe it's a very worthy cause to have trips for at-risk youth. If you're interested in donating, click here for a secure link.

To read more about what Peak 7 is about, check out their website here.

Where will I be this week?

Peak 7 is based in Spokane, but for the backpacking trip, we're driving 5-6 hours to the North Cascade Mountains.

What is my job this week?

I am going on day a five-backpacking trip, which Peak 7 calls an "Ascent Trip." I will be going with Nicole on an all-girls trip with 7-8 youth participants. Since I haven't been to guide school or gone through Wilderness First Responder course, I'm basically a participant that is also job-shadowing. Nevertheless, I plan to get involved by building relationships with the kids, helping filter water, set up gear, and learning as much as I can during the week.

How am I feeling pre-trip?

This week will be unique since I will be gone all week and away from my laptop. I'm ecstatic to take a break from technology though and be fully engaged in the trip. Honestly, I am nervous that I won't be fit enough to backpack for five days. This will definitely be a stretching experience, but I don't want to be a person known for playing it safe and only doing things that are comfortable. I anticipate that this will be a memorable week and will help me see firsthand what it's like to lead teens on wilderness trips.

I will be backpacking for five days so guess what that means! I won't be blogging for five days! I plan to post again this coming Saturday with a detailed blog about the trip, complete with pictures and videos.

Thanks for following me on this journey this far.


Kieley Best

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