With the first week down and classes in full swing, I could feel the pressure starting pile up on me. I have learnt to deal with stress quite well during my time here, and one of the best ways to deal with stress is to simply get away. I was lucky enough to have a weekend off soccer just when the Outdoor Program decided to hold a backpacking trip to Stanley, Idaho. Having never seen the Sawtooths, I signed up straight away. We left Friday night after class and backpacked until Sunday morning.
I am not lying when I say that the loop that we completed was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The Alice-Toxaway Loop is an 18 mile round trip and is well known for having spectacular scenery. We set off from Pettit Lake, stopping for lunch at an unnamed lake and making our way to Toxaway Lake, over Snowyside Pass, and down to Alice Lake. This was a long day of hiking, however, the frequent streams and gorgeous lakes kept us going. We were even lucky enough to see some very fluffy mountain goats! The most rewarding part of the hike came after hiking up a series of tiring switchbacks at the end of the day, when we made it over the ridge to be welcomed by a view of the Twin Lakes. Although our feet hurt and we were low on energy, this view made everyone smile.
We camped out at Twin Lakes, making our way to Alice Lake in the morning. The lakes were crystal clear and reflected the surrounding mountains perfectly. After taking some amazing photos we had to keep going back to Petit Lake. We made great time getting back to campus in the afternoon, with enough time to get some homework done. I felt tired, but also ready to get back into work mode. This little getaway was just what I needed to challenge myself and refocus my mind for the week ahead.
Natasha is a senior history major from Melbourne, Australia.