As I came to learn on the first expedition, birthdays can be most interesting. Why, you may ask? I know because my birthday came on the second to last day of Expedition One. As usual, I set the alarm on my watch for the early hour of 6:00 a.m., which was the time we were to wake up and prepare for the next day’s departure. Then I went to sleep enjoying the warmth of my tent-partner Melanie and my almost famous bonfire. In the morning, I woke at 5:30 a.m., not really thinking about the fact that it was my birthday, but only that I had time for a little more sleep. Unfortunately, the sound of my alarm was muffled by my tent-partner’s sleeping bag. Our tent was on a slope, so during the night I was jammed against the tent wall, and she was jammed against me. Suddenly, I awoke with a start, and looked around for my watch. It read 6:55 a.m. We were fifty-five minutes late! Fiercely shaking Melanie, I told her to get up fast. Most disturbingly I could hear Mr. Mike’s voice from about twenty feet away, talking to the tent group next to us and saying, “Your friends better wake up in the next five minutes, or they’re getting a billy-can of cold water.”
Our actual mandated wake up time was not until 7:00 a.m., and after hearing Mr. Mike, my motivation to get out of the tent was so strong that we were actually early! We got our camp packed up in record time and were early to rally as well.
After we arrived, two groups were sent back to their camps to fully extinguish their fires and cover up the fire scars, while the rest of us learned some cool facts about how fires can tunnel along roots.
Soon after, it was “Packs on!” and we left Ridge Camp. After successfully avoiding a nest of bees, falling on my face once, and crying in pain as we descended the Academy Trail, further jamming my already painful “jam-toe,” I was greeted by a wonderful camp spot, a very close water source, and the news that the two girl groups would share a camp.
After lounging around, came rally, the most mentally stimulating time of the day. Seriously, it is. I love me some knowledge. That day we learned more first-aid, specifically how to treat an open wound. Just as we were about to break, Mr. Dan walked up with a sleeping bag stuff-sack full of Snickers bars. I received one Snickers bar for my good work leading our stretcher team the day before, and not dropping Mr. Dan on his head as we carried him up the hill on our hand-made stretcher. Then I received another one because it was my birthday. Then, after I approved the enthusiasm level of my fellow students’ rendition of Happy Birthday, everyone received one. At the end, one more Snickers bar was left, and the only logical thing to do was to give everyone a chance to win it by correctly identifying my favorite anime show. Unfortunately, four people guessed the answer correctly: Austin, Mitch, Alex, and Travis. That meant a rock, paper, scissors showdown, which ultimately Alex won. We all left rally with a warm feeling, and lots of happy birthday wishes for me!
When we got back to FMA, Ms. Margaret had made the best birthday cake I could ever have wanted.