In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Everglades National Park and its partners proudly hosted the Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition! This program engaged 10 aspiring writers and journalists, ages 18-25, on an exploration of wilderness, self-discovery and environmental writing. These aspiring writers embarked on the journey of a lifetime to discover the beauty and complexity of the Everglades wilderness.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Post Expedition Thoughts Compiled...

We have just returned for our 4 day expedition into the Everglades Wilderness with North Carolina Outward Bound School. The trip was incredible, and it is safe to say that the wilderness transformed all of us. We are all still in the process of writing our experience but in the meantime here is a compilation of our thoughts which I have pulled from our group's facebook page:

"I wish there was an easy way to describe what we experienced in the past four days that consisted of hours of paddling against the winds in the hot Sun, hours of labor to assemble heavy wooden platforms on top of the canoes to sleep on water, struggling to go to bathrooms, trying to stay warm in cold winds wearing wet shoes and wet clothes, crashing and getting bruised by the barnacles on the mangrove roots, dealing with headaches due to dehydration, getting over frustrations caused by fatigue and finally just surviving out there in the wilderness. But, ask us if we would like to go through that experience again and every single one of us will respond "Yes! Another 1000 times!" Because there was this ineffable magical pleasure at the end of the day when we overcame our limits and grabbed our journals to write, held our hands to pray and appreciate what we had beyond our comfort zones, and looked up to the clear skies with countless stars looking back at us. And for that I say...The Everglades Wilderness Expedition took every single thing we had to offer...only to give us in return something we weren't even capable of imagining, before were were completely transformed by the Wilderness" By Sandeep Varry

"I'm writing here because private messages to each of you would take too long... I can't take it!! I HATE IT!! I hate the lights, I hate the streets, I hate the noise, the radio felt like hell in the car, the water in the shower I just took was too clear and not salty at all, I miss eating with everyone, I miss you guys! I miss the hugs and the smiles. I miss the frustration and the impatience in your faces, all that was okay because we knew that in the end we are together and nobody would ever be left behind. I miss you and it's been only a couple hours. I miss the smell of nature, I miiiissss the stars!!! I miss the air and the hot sun on my skin, I miss paddling and I miss your voices!! I miss every single one of you! I miss writing with you and sharing everything! I miss the Everglades! I miss my wilderness family!" 
By: Alexandra Mosquero

"What a great journey we just completed. Tough winds out there this trip, but the dolphins appeared just when we needed them. This was one of the finest groups I've been privileged to lead into the wilderness. Thanks for making my work a lot of fun!"
By: Russ Taylor, NCOBS Instructor

"I'm looking at the photo of all of you in your t-shirts, taken well before our expedition. You look younger somehow. I remember that on our last morning, Johanna said that what she was leaving behind was her "naivete." Perhaps each of you has left behind some small naivete, and now you are wiser. Older. Somehow."

"Good morning, writers! I miss you! Yesterday I was plunged into a day full of obligation and rush-rush, the antithesis of the time we spent in wilderness. All day, as I went about the things I had to do on this side of our edge, you and your words, your spirits, your voices rode gently in the back of my mind. Now, I am visiting what you have written here. I am moved by what you are saying about our shared experience."
By: Anne McCrary Sullivan, Expedition Writing Instructor

"I'm definitely having a rude awakening back into the real world as well -.-"
By: Bryan Palacio

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