University of Oregon
The air is warm and his hopes are high. As sweat drips down his face, his love for backpacking grows within each step. Arther has loved it since his first trip in the womb, according to his mother, and he hasn’t gone back since.
Arthur Shrenk, senior, has backpacked in different spots around the country and plans to continue when he graduates. Backpacking can be described as a cross between hikes and camping, according to REI.
“I went on my first trip when I was four or five,” Shrenk said. “My mom would always give me treats at the end to encourage me to keep going on them. Once I turned nine, I really started to enjoy going on the trips. I found it rewarding, instead of something my parents forced me to go on.”
Shrenk lived outside of San Francisco until he was seven. He said some of his first trips were in state parks, Redwood Forest and other flat trails in the area. Once he moved to Missouri, he enjoyed backpacking on the Ozark trail, specifically to hike the bluffs and take in the wildlife. Early this summer, Shrenk plans on backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail solo, roughly 2,600 miles down the west coast and will take around three to four months to complete.
“The logistics of this trail are a little bit harder,” Shrenk said. “I will have to mail myself packages of freeze dried food. It’s pretty intimidating, but I think that having a break from high school to college and going on this giant trail, meeting new people and having this experience will be awesome.”
Shrenk’s mom, Kathy, has supported her son all the way back to their first trip. She loves to see him so passionate about something, and even more excited to see what he accomplished.
“I feel really good about his [backpacking] and decision making skills,” Kathy said. “Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a lot different than anything we’ve ever done before, but I am confident [in him].”