The Words of the Fleischman Family

Venturing Report

Gary Fleischman and Matthew Lapres
September 19, 2010

Recently a group of Bay Area Family Church members hiked up to Ten Lakes in Yosemite National Park.

Nine Venturers Backpack At Yosemite
Matthew Lapres

"After some planning and preparation, I headed out with eight other college age and adults on the trail to Ten Lakes in Yosemite National Park. It was awesome being in nature with friends, surrounded by amazing views. Some highlights for me were jumping into the cold mountain lake, hiking to the top of a peak and being able to see six of the Ten Lakes at once, sharing stories around the campfire and seeing nature as God intended it to be seen. For me, backpacking is a means to an end. I don't necessarily enjoy hiking for miles with a 50 lb. pack on my back. However, the reward is going to areas not accessible by car and being able to enjoy the beauty of creation without the distractions of daily life."

"I was reminded that backpacking, even more than day-hiking or car camping, is a humbling experience. You are constantly carrying a heavy load, forcing yourself to eat processed or dehydrated stuff that makes you think of dog food, being constantly dirty and sweaty, sleeping on a hard and uncomfortable surface, and realizing that God/nature is something bigger than myself over which I have no control and I am at its mercy. I saw us lying in the dust and it reminded me of pictures of exhausted GIs in battle gear sleeping in foxholes in Iraq. You appreciate simple comforts, such as being able to use soap to wash your hands.

This was a special group of young men
Gary Fleischman

I never heard a word of complaint, dissent, dissatisfaction, or tension of any kind. They got along so well -- there was good humor, joking, lightness, everything positive. There was so much volunteer spirit -- "Is it time to cook?

Okay, I'll start the stoves." The first day was the longest hike, 7 miles with a 2000-foot climb over a pass. We reached our campsite on a lake in the evening, with not much remaining light. Everyone was exhausted and felt like crashing, yet when we talked about collecting water and firewood, there were immediately several volunteers. When Josiah and Shinghi got cuts and scrapes, Joe Wildman spent about 45 minutes carefully washing, disinfecting, cleaning, cutting off dead skin, and dressing their wounds. He spent so much time caring for those simple wounds I wondered what he was doing and what was taking so long.

It was amazing to me how focused and meticulous he was. These young men also had a lot of respect for the two elders, Michael Irwin and myself -- they wanted to hear our stories, didn't mind our constant farting, and carried extra weight on my behalf. Best of all, it felt natural, not forced. I wondered what had created this nice atmosphere -- the fact that they had grown up together and were like brothers? That they were well-parented? That most of them were Eagle Scouts? That we were in a beautiful natural setting? Probably all of those things contributed to it but it felt that behind it was spiritual power and I don't know what to call it -- God, true love, True Parents, 2nd gen?

Whatever it was, it felt very good." 

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