This was our first expedition and we had no experience with the conditions we faced. It was an adventure, filled with unexpected events and amusing moments to remember.
I watched through the window of the bus as we drew up to the curb. All nine of us walked around to the back of the bus, grabbing our backpacks from the back door and strapping them on our backs. I felt a little bit nervous when I hoisted on my pack. “We are going to be out here for six days,” I thought, as we started to line up. I was second in line, one girl in front of me, two behind, followed by the boys. Before I even took the first step, I was ready to get the hiking done for the day, and to set up camp.
On the trail, trees of varying shades of green filtered the sunlight. I walked down the hill, trying to keep my breathing steady. I was beginning to wonder why I was getting tired from merely walking on a trail. Then, my backpack swayed against my back, and I felt the weight press deeper into my hips. This is going to be a long trip.
The first night was the hardest. Our tents were piled on top of ivy, and all the girls were commenting on the weather. I was on my knees, rain pouring down the back of my neck, blowing on our fire, willing it to start. My eyes streamed from the smoke blowing in my face, and the world started to tilt. This was not the camping trip I had in mind.
On the second day of expedition, we reached Meadow Camp, where we would stay for two days. As I stomped my way uphill for several hours, my shoulders throbbing, my hips aching, it hit that this expedition was not meant to be comfortable.
That afternoon, we had classes outdoors in the meadow on compass reading, first aid, and stretcher building. That night we had visitors.
I was lying in the tent, watching the firelight sketching weird shadows against the walls, and dozing, but when the bear’s shadow appeared, I jolted wide awake. My heart started pounding. He was no more than a foot away from me. There was food stashed in our tent, and I figured he was after it, and I didn’t want to share, so I started growling at him. After a few minutes of listening to me growl, he got confused and walked off to ransack someone else’s tent. He ended up with part of a food bag, a billy cup and a pair of boxers.
The next day, at Saddle Camp, we learned how to make a wrench knot and a bowline. Then we made a stretcher, and carried our instructor Mr. Mike around the campsite. I looked around at my fellow students, and realized that even with rain and bears and aching muscles, I would rather be experiencing this than staying at home. I would rather be here learning with Paul (NC), Jessie (CA), Jacob (UT), Valarie (GA), Mr. Garret (MD), David (FL), and Kelsey (FL.)