The idea for the trip started with Victor. Initially, it was going to be his trip, with his goal to spend a month camping on Mt. Hood to lose weight and “get away” for a little bit. Victor’s older brother, Derek, had decided to go with him. They planned to embark on this trip within the next couple months. During the time in between, I had heard of Victor and Derek’s plans to do go on this trip. I immediately asked if I could accompany them, seeing as my seasonal job with the Department of Ecology had just ended and I had enough money to survive a couple months without a job. It was perfect. Justus, another good friend of mine, got wind of it and also asked to join. Little by little, we became slightly more organized, and after a little researching, Derek brought up the idea that there was a trail that circumnavigates the mountain, and asked us if we wanted to try it out. All we knew about the trail was that it was the “most difficult” trail of Mt. Hood and that it was anywhere from 36 to 40.4 miles the whole way. It felt like a big commitment. None of us had ever jumped into so much unknowing.
None of us had ever felt so much urge to dive into something we weren’t so sure about. We all had our reasons for wanting to do this, whether it was to get away from society, lose weight, or discover something consciously or possibly spiritually significant. It became more and more apparent that this would not be just any other camping backpacking trip. The idea of this trip almost became an entity in our minds, something we felt in our hearts that we needed to do. We weren’t just going to go hiking on a trail, it was far much more than that, in our minds at least.
I couldn’t tell you in words what the experience was like to hike around a resting volcano with close friends.
All I can say is that the experience was profound. We did it. There we were, brothers, surviving together, realizing all what we took for granted, appreciating life as it was all around us. The trip was the most physically challenging undertaking I had ever attempted in my life. The beauty found along Mt. Hood’s miniature and ever changing climates is unmatchable. It is definitely eye opening collecting water from streams for survival, rationing food, sleeping outside, and pushing ourselves to our physical limits and beyond… What I can say about the experience is regardless of how mentally and physically draining it was, it definitely brought us all closer and I would not for the world change one thing about it. Sure, the trail could have been a little easier, but after completing this undertaking, breaking mental and physical barriers, I can confidently say that I can do anything I put my mind to. I personally took on this journey because I wanted to become closer to nature and to get out of my comfort zone, to see what I am capable of. You never know what you’re capable of until you take risks and find out. I brought back much more from the mountain than I ever thought I would. Now that our journey is complete, I have decide where to go from here.
The possibilities are endless and exciting. I know I will do more of these trips in the future, but with life, one area needs to be taken care of in order for another area to thrive. This adventure around Mt. Hood is but a precursor to future adventures. Every day I reflect on what I learned from the mountain. As these memories drift off deeper into time, the experiences remain real. I will continue to draw inspiration from it, despite any negatives that may find their way into my thoughts. I am proud to say I have accomplished something so majestic and will continue to use this experience as a guiding force for myself and for others.
About Kyle Taisacan:
Kyle is a musician, cook, and outdoor enthusiast who has always had an affinity for the natural world. Two and a half years out of high school, he has been experiencing life working various restaurant, warehouse, and office maintenance jobs. Recently, he worked for Washington State’s Department of Ecology, picking up litter garbage and other debris, such as tires, abandoned wood, and other junk, from along the freeway and county roads. Contrary from what people might think, “picking up garbage is gross”, it was quite the opposite. While working, he almost felt serene. Although he breathed in car exhaust and dust, he felt better than ever, being outside, cleaning up the banks and ditches along the freeway. His most rewarding feeling was seeing how it all looked afterwards… Pristine and back to it’s natural state, without the garbage. His goal is to shape people’s beliefs about nature, to see the beauty of the wilderness. This adventure was his initiation.