Jyliann’s Story

All that I left behind is still with me,
Pushed into a corner of my mind.
Make room for sacred sights and sounds,
Soft breezes and dancing streams fill my heart and echo through my chest.
My shoulders lose tension as I move further
From the mechanical hum of home.
But when I see the stars sprinkled over velvety sky I feel my true home,
From where I came and where I will return.
To tread across jagged rock and bathe in divine lakes,
What once was human existence is now a hidden blessing.
— Jyliann, BCM youth participant

 What was your outdoor experience before BCM?

“The job I was doing beforehand had a lot to do with the outdoors (through Youth Ecology Corps). I’ve always been really interested in the outdoors but I had never gone beyond one-night tent camping, so I was a little nervous about a week-long backcountry trip. I was nervous about amenities and simple things like not having social media or being able to look in the mirror.”

What was the BCM expedition like for you?

“It was really liberating and left me with a deep desire to preserve our planet. Instead of looking in a mirror and worrying about how I looked, I was focusing on making food and thinking about where we were going next. It was like returning to basic needs. It made it really spiritual for me and I was able to just let go of everything at home. It really relieved the stress of being in a city and dealing with my life. The trip was an act of self care and appreciation for the earth. I actually wrote a poem while I was there. It made me rethink a lot of the ways I live, even when I’m not backpacking. It still affects me every day and makes me appreciate our planet with every action and decision I make. I’m now more than ever motivated to preserve our planet as much as I can.”

How were the relationships with everyone on the trip?

“Every BCM person I met and came on the trip with was so prepared and so awesome and made the experience so much better. At first I was thinking, ‘okay, so there are these adults that guide us around…’ but it’s not like that at all. They shared so many experiences that I was happy to learn about; they really became our friends. I didn’t really know everyone on the trip closely to start, but we all bonded so much and really had each other’s back by the end. It was a type of bonding I never experienced before. It’s different when you’re depending on someone to get water and purify it for you while another one is cooking your meal and everyone’s working on basic needs together.”


What was one of the most memorable parts of the trip?

“At the end we did this thing where one of us went ahead and the others would wait so that the one person would be doing a solo hike until everyone regrouped. I think that was really special to me. That time alone in such a beautiful place really allowed me to appreciate and take in nature. I noticed all the plants, a little critter, and really had a deeper connection to it. It makes me really want to show everyone else how amazing nature is, and our planet, and why it’s really important to take care of it.”

Do you think you’ve changed since the trip?

“I don’t know how you couldn’t change after an experience like that. There’s this quote that really got to me, ‘you’ve grown out of the puzzle that you once fit in when you were home.’ I really related to that quote after getting home – it took a while to adjust back. I want to return to nature as often as I can. I definitely want to hike way more often. One of my friends who I’ve known since second grade was also on the trip and one day we want to do the PCT.”

stay connected!

Sign up for the Big City Mountaineers newsletter to receive program announcements, transformation stories and more!

Big City Mountaineers’ Newsletter

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Big City Mountaineers, 710 10th St, Golden, CO, 80401, http://www.bigcitymountaineers.org.