Our expedition started with the traditional expedition breakfast, the last real meal we would have for ten days. We picked up our packs, which were startlingly heavy, and began our three-mile hike to our first camp, Miracle Springs. It seemed to take forever. After arriving in camp, we spent the remainder of the day, and the next, learning to be comfortable in the woods.
On day three we woke up early, and Trace and I started the fire, made a wonderful meal of oatmeal, put out our campfire, and packed our packs. Then we began the grueling four-and-a-half mile hike along the Iron Mountain Trail to Saddle Camp. After we arrived and set up camp, we went to get water, which was well below the ridge, and then had a few classes.
On day four we moved farther down the trail to Meadow Camp, where we would stay for the next three days. We had classes on basic first-aid and faced a new challenge – rain, which began at 3:30 a.m. and lasted for the next thirty hours.
On day seven we faced great adversity trying to get our fires started in the rain, but overall we managed it. Then we trekked back to Saddle Camp, where, thanks to the rain that was still pouring down, the water was much closer.
On day eight we moved to Ridge Camp, where, after setting up camp, we built a stretcher and used it to carry Mr. Dan up a really steep hill.
Day nine brought a pleasant surprise when we hike off the Iron Mountain Trail and onto the Academy Trail. This is a steep, poorly marked trail, which makes for a challenging descent, but once we arrived at our destination, Flatwood Camp, we were rewarded with a clean running water supply close to camp.
On day ten, we woke up later because we were hiking back to FMA. In the late morning, we gathered for an exploratory day hike. We ended up in a thirty-five acre mountain meadow with a spectacular lone oak tree in the middle. Upon our return to camp, we packed up and hiked back to the school for hot showers and our traditional celebratory hot meal.