No, this is not a post about making granola. (Although if y’all are interested, I’ve got some interesting recipes for some yummy granola. And trail mix. Although should trail mix really need a recipe? I mean…it’s trail mix.) This is a post about my return to the outdoors. I had a GREAT Girl Scout troop. I know so many gals who said they did a couple years and thought it was boring and dropped out, or they didn’t get along with the other girls, or the leaders were lame, or whatever it was, but I LOVED Girl Scouts. I think that was in large part the incredible work of my friend’s mother, our troop leader, Mrs. Stahlheber (Yes, I’m 27 years old and I don’t call any of my grade school friends’ parents by their first names. It would just be…wrong.). She was organized, creative, and committed, and I believe she genuinely enjoyed the activities and instilling female strength in us. That’s not to say that we didn’t spend a lot of time also driving her nuts. I mean, we were a group of giggly, social girls. Some of my best friends from grade school, I’m STILL in touch with and talk to and/or see somewhat regularly. These are all girls I went through Girl Scouts with.
Our troop did other amazing stuff like a 5 day trip to Savannah to see the Juliet Low house, and take in the local culture. I can’t even imagine the kind of planning that must have taken. I LOVED camping, hiking, and just generally being outdoors.
I think Mrs. S really worked hard to instill in us a love of nature and we did some amazing trips: camping, surfing, skiing, hiking. A lot of the things we learned stuck with me. But somewhere along the path to adulthood, I stopped playing outside. Frankly I stopped doing much of ANY activity, but I you REALLY wouldn’t have caught me outside. So when we decided to cruise to Alaska, I figured it wouldn’t truly be a trip to Alaska without taking in at least SOME of the natural beauty. As a result we signed up for some hiking related excursions, and I figured I’d probably need new hiking boots because well, the last time I was in a pair of hiking boots I think I was in like 8th grade. And since hiking boots require some breaking in, I figured it couldn’t be much more convenient than hanging out in Eaton Canyon. So Dad and I started hiking Eaton Canyon about once a week (before it got so crazy hot that it just became unreasonable) and I started remembering that I really liked doing stuff like that!!
The problem with going up to Eaton Canyon (and the falls that are at the top of the trail) is that it’s a fairly easy hike, and the park itself is quite accessible, so it gets A LOT of traffic. And not all of the traffic is nature loving, former Girl Scouts like me. While there is the vast natural beauty of the area, much of it is marred by litter, graffiti, and remnants of the fires of the homeless who take shelter in the park after dark. The park is crowded and I question the intelligence of people who hike up in flip flops, or who let their toddlers hike up in flip flops. It’s incredibly frustrating.
David and Jeanette: While I’m sure your love will be everlasting – the stuff of legends, really – I think the park could have done without this very, um, classy and tasteful, expression of your union.
So to help relieve my intense frustration we started bringing trash bags with us and packing out trash. I wish I had gotten a picture of the giant Coleman cooler filled to overflowing with garbage that was up there one of the first times we went. We didn’t even know what to think. That was really the impetus for our new mission to help clean up the park. It was disgusting and sad. I think what people don’t think about our parks is that really, they belong to all of us, and as such, we are all responsible for taking care of them. One of the things I very distinctly remember learning in Girl Scouts was to always leave a place cleaner than we found it…so that’s what we started doing:
It’s not much, I realize. But if everyone did a little, “Not Much,” it would add up to something great. And then everyone can REALLY enjoy all the beauty that is hidden under all the garbage, and it will be around for future Girl Scouts to enjoy!