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Shantay Patterson’s Backpacking Trip Report

By Shantay Patterson, Senior at WHS

Being a senior in high school to me means, this is the last year to go all out. My mindset towards this year is to just make it fun, create awesome memories of it all, and leave with a bang and with no regrets. In order to accomplish this goal, I felt like I needed to do something spontaneous. I needed to do something that would be considered “out of the ordinary” for me to do. So I did the extreme and signed up for Mr. Hennel’s Outdoor Education class. With that being said, here is my story/entertaining explanation of my experience during our first overnight backpacking trip.

Shantay Patterson


Backpacking Trip Report

On Saturday October 15, I did something that nobody in the Patterson family has ever done before. I went backpacking!


If you’re wondering how I would describe this trip, I would say is was like an extreme exercising program I did not sign up for. The reason for this is because I thought this was just going to be a regular ‘extended’ walk on a trail type of trip …but it wasn’t just a regular ‘extended’ walk on a trail type of trip. This was a carry-a-heavy-ole-oversized-backpack-on-ya-back-for-twenty-some-miles-in-the-cold-ole-woods-with-bears-and-snakes-everywhere type of trip.  At one point during that hike, I had to lay down and talk to Jesus because I thought I wasn’t going to make. It was that bad! Lol sike. I’m just being dramatic but let me just go on and tell you my story.


We started this adventure bright and early. I’m talking about 8:30 in the morning early. Now, I’m usually a morning person, but this was a Saturday. Do you know how much Saturdays mean to me? Let me break it down for you: Saturday is a part of the weekend, and on the weekends I need my sleep because that’s the only time I can catch up on it. But Mr. Hennel (head captain of the class) didn’t care about none of that. He made sure we started this trip way before the birds even got up out of their nests and before we would even have enough energy to complain about how early he made us get up for this.


Skipping a few hours forward, boom we’re on the trail. Everybody is just walking and breathing. It was great. The scenery, weather, and everything that the good universe had provided us with was just amazing. As you can tell by that poetic description, I was in a good mood. I felt like I was at one with nature. I was at home. I wanted to share my positive energy with everyone else on the trail, so I started singing. At first, they just all looked at me like I was crazy (which I am), but I didn’t care. This acapella singing session needed to happen. Eventually, it got to a point where I felt like I wasn’t doing enough.  I needed that jungle music in the background so everybody could really feel my vibe. So I reached for my phone that I put in my pants pocket earlier and guess what? It wasn’t there. I lost my phone on the trail. Lord Jesus no!! Something told me not to bring it but I had too. That’s my baby!! I dropped that backpack so quickly and just started running back on that trail. I HAD TO find that phone. I just knew my mama was going to beat me if I didn’t. After about five minutes of searching, I finally find it. Good thing I realized it was gone that early because if I would have waited until later, my butt would’ve been toast.


With 500 miles down and 900 more miles to go (over exaggerating of course) I was exhausted. Not to mention I was also injured. Yes. Somehow ya girl managed to hit her toes against a rock and was now limping. Mr. Hennel said this was called Zen Hiking or something like that. All I knew was that I needed something to help me get to the last bit of this trail so I could get to the camp site. I needed a stick. After going through so many tests and trials with a few, I finally found the one. I deeply connected with this stick and was able to make it all the way to the camp site with my born savior, Tylika.


The relief I felt when I got to that camp site was indescribable. I immediately dropped my pack and just laid down. I didn’t wanna move or do anything, nor did I. I set up my tent, ate a little bit of food, and went straight to sleep. I was the definition of done.


The next morning, I was ready to go. I have had enough of this nature stuff. It was time to get up and out of there. After I got my backpack and everything together, I went looking for my ‘A1 day 1’, Tylika, so I could start walking. But I couldn’t find her. My other classmates told me they made a fire last night and had to use sticks nearby to keep it going. At that moment, I knew she was gone. How was I going to make it without her? This is where SOTA came in. Spirit Of TylikA is what she stood for. With SOTA by my side, I was able to make it safety to the end of the trail. To thank her for all her hard work, I laid her against a log and gave her a proper ceremony. Everything that I had concurred on that trip would not have been possible if I didn’t have that stick by my side. The end.


The trails end for my trusted hiking stick SOTA. May she serve another hiker well!

Posted by Alyssa Kerrigan

One Response to “Shantay Patterson’s Backpacking Trip Report”

  1. Deborah Watson says:

    What a fantastic and hilarious accounting of your trip! Your voice really comes through. Thanks for being willing to share your story and being a role model for us all to try something “out of the ordinary” and “go all out!”


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