The adventures that we have here at Summit Semester have been very impactful in my life. They have helped me learn how to be patient and understanding, and they have helped me learn to see God’s creation in a different manner. We have gotten to enjoy experiencing this creation with other believers. It has also been cool to see how God uses different things to mold us. For me, adventure days have been used to that end.
The first adventure we did once we got here was visiting Piedra River. This adventure was really impactful because it was just a really good bonding experience overall. This is where I first started to get close to the people here at Summit Semester. The river itself was also breathtaking. We explored ice caves, and we stopped at a beautiful overlook. Some of us also partly floated down the river, which was freezing cold, but it was also raining, which made it feel even colder.
Another very impactful adventure was our trip to Ice Lake. If you don’t know, Ice Lake is at the top of a hike where you literally climb a mountain: the base was around 9,000’ and the top was around 12,000’. This was also an overnight camping trip. That night at the campsite was just so fun and meaningful. We talked, laughed, and sang hymns around the campfire. The hike itself was very hard, but everyone was so encouraging, which made it a lot easier. It also helped me see what a community should look like through all of the encouraging words. Another reason this adventure was so impactful is because it helped me see God and His creation in a new way, and it was just so awe-inspiring. The mountains were so spectacular, it was just incredible. A hard but somewhat funny thing during this hike was when at one point I was hiking alone for at least a mile. This was really hard because I had no one to encourage me. Finally, around the third mile, I ran into someone from our group. I got so excited because finally, I had someone I knew who I could hike with and be encouraged by.
We also went to the Sand Dunes National Park, which was another overnight camping trip. This adventure was amazing, and the views were even better! The hike up the sand dunes was extremely hard, as you can imagine walking up a hill made of sand would be. Even though the hike was hard and slightly painful, the experience was worth it, because when I got to the top everyone was so encouraging. We all sang songs together as the sun was setting and the moon was rising. It’s almost as if I could just feel God there in that moment with us while we were singing hymns together. Then, on the way back down the dunes, a handful of us ran all the way down while looking up at the stars. While this did make some of us fall, it was very fun.
The last adventure that I will talk about is our canyoneering adventure in Utah. I think canyoneering was the most impactful adventure to me for three reasons. First, it was very hard to figure out how to maneuver yourself between two canyon walls to get across either water, a hole, or a deep crevice. Second, we really had to work as a team to get through those really hard places. Sometimes, this meant literally holding another person, and it helped me see the importance of teamwork. Third, being in a canyon made me feel so small, which helped me see and realize how awesome our God is and how intricate His design is. Additionally, in places where there was deep water, some people got in to carry people across who couldn’t stem it. This really impacted me because these men were willing to get in the water to help those around them. Honestly, for me this was hard because I don’t like to ask for help, and it was very humbling. I think that’s another main reason why canyoneering was just so impactful: it made me realize that sometimes I really do need help and it’s okay to ask for it.
Emily Dice is from Salem, Illinois. She recently graduated from high school, and she is taking a gap year to learn and grow in her faith before going to college. She is excited to grow in her knowledge, to meet new people, and to grow through community. Emily enjoys hiking, meeting new people, and photography.