Camping Part 3: The Last Crusade

Internet, drum roll please.

When my last post ended, I and the rest of my writing class were on top of a mountain. I’ve had some guesses in the comments as to what happened next, but now the wait is over. What happened next is…

We walked back to camp! Exciting, huh?

To elaborate, we walked back down the particularly steep section of the trail, then sort of sat at the bottom while our professor sent us back in five-minute intervals to a point about 2 miles down the trail, which incidentally was half way back to camp. It was kind of nice, because it provided us an opportunity to walk alone for a bit while still having people nearby. You know, in case of cougar attack.

In my typical fashion, I caused a bit of a back up behind me by walking  slowly and taking pictures. (Or were the people behind me just walking quickly? A question for the ages.) However, since the way back was predominantly down hill and the amount of oxygen was steadily increasing, the trek back was quite pleasant. Except, you know, for the part where my legs were about to fall off.

We all got back to camp without incident, excepting one rolled ankle (not mine) and I plopped down on the ground and enjoyed watching other people gather firewood. I helped too… eventually. We stopped gathering when our professor told us we had enough for the next six days.

That night was chilly, so we all huddled around the fire and scarfed down some of the excellent food prepared by the kind OPC people (outdoor pursuits center, for those that have forgotten). Oh, and our professor made a loaf of bread. It was delicious.

For those of you who have never experienced it (you sad souls you) staring into a fire for a few hours is quite entertaining. I especially like the conversations it generates among the people sitting around the fire. At one point we were all telling jokes. I told one about drunk Superman, and before you judge me I learned that joke at a family Thanksgiving. Ok, now judge me.

Before some one in my immediate family takes me to task on this, yes I was throwing small twigs into the fire half the time and watching them burn. Some people have ADD, I have a tiny amount of pyromania (the kind limited to situations in which there is a campfire). Oh, and since I promised to tell you about wearing three pairs of pants, I suppose I had better tell you that at this point I was in fact wearing three pairs of pants. I had the fetching tights n’ shorts combo I went hiking in, then skinny jeans, then my incredibly attractive bright blue pajama pants (they have birds on them!). And I was still a little cold, so there.

Eventually, we went to bed. We were woken at 5:30 the next morning (mountain time zone) to get ready for our 3 hour solo. Basically, we had to sit alone in the semi-darkness for 3 hours. Like the solo walk, we were close enough to each other to scream for help but far enough away that we felt alone. The place I was looked over a dry creek bed, with a cliff/ hill rising steeply on the other side. At the base of the incline was a really cool rock formation that looked a bit like a shoddily assembled Lego creation. So of course I climbed it.

Basically, my solo was divided into writing (about 6 pages of angst, if you please… well, 5 and a half pages of angst and half a page of reason), climbing/ sitting on the cliff/ hill thing (I climbed about 10 feet up, then thought that falling to my death was probably a bad thing, so I got a couple of footholds and was able to sit down and survey the creek bed and surrounding woods), and pacing around like a madwoman to keep warm (it didn’t really work). To explain a bit about the writing, we were supposed to come up with a problem and then take the three hours alone to think and write about it. Unfortunately, my solution was kind of a non-solution (it involves “waiting” and “taking my time”- sissy stuff), but there ya’ go.

When we got back to came, the wilderness fairies (by which I mean the OPC people) had packed up the tents for us, so we had minimal work to do before we headed back to good old civilization. On the drive back, we discovered that there was an entire giant lake in the national forest where we were that we had completely missed driving in in the dark. Also, we stopped at a gas station and I bought 3 kinds of candy. I have no regrets.

The trip came to its end when we got back to campus, looking a bit like refugees with our dirty clothes and worn bags. I chose to complete the look by refusing to take off my beanie, which I was using to hide the sorry state of my hair (the campsite had no showers, if I haven’t mentioned it before).

I’m going camping again weekend after next.


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