Day one of expedition started out like the last one with an early morning Sunday wake-up and a breakfast of eggs and potatoes, with that good coffee cake with the chocolate chips that Ms. Margaret makes. After breakfast we did chores as usual, and cleaned our rooms, and then grabbed our hiking sticks and headed for the bus. After the short bus ride, we arrived at Star Gap Road and our journey began. We hiked from about 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. It was a fairly easy hike. When we got to camp, my new tent partner Cody and I set up our tent, got our fire going, and went out to look for wood. We also went fishing for awhile, but had no luck, so I gathered more wood and went to bed.

On day two we got off to a rough start because it was raining when we woke up. After about an hour it stopped, and Cody and I went to rally. Afterward we all took a day hike up the trail to rappel. Everyone rappelled once, and then we headed about an hour-and-a-half farther up the trail to Winnie Knob. The hike was long, and, well, uphill, and uneven and wet because it’s that time of year when the weather can’t make up its mind so it’s raining one minute and beautiful and clear the next. After returning from the day hike, we made a fire, and I made tea with the sassafras I found on the hike.

On day three I woke up to chilly weather. I said to Cody, “Geez, it’s nippy out!” The rhododendron leaves were tightly curled form the cold, but I could see the stars in the sky as I got the fire going. We hiked farther up Gentry Creek, and when we arrived, we set up our camp, and gathered wood. That’s what we call Camp Arrival SOP.

On day four it was still chilly in the morning; however, it warmed up fast. We hiked up to and around Gentry Falls. It was a steep uphill scramble through dense forest. I felt like Frodo Baggins, except for my height and the fact that I was wearing boots. Once we got up and over the falls, the rest of the hike to Upper Gentry was easy, and, when we arrived, the weather was perfectly beautiful. I set up our complicated tent and completed our camp arrival SOP. There was a lot of birch in the area, which I used to my advantage.

On day five, I woke up and once the sky was visible, I saw with disappointment that it was red, which means a change in the weather is on the way. I packed up quickly, got the fire going, did camp departure SOP, and joined the group for the hike to NoMo Bus Camp. The hike was more like a short walk, but it was enjoyable, and after we got into camp and did camp arrival SOP, we took a day hike to the Tri-State Marker. The hike was beautiful, and I can now say that I have stood in North Carolina and Virginia at the SAME TIME. How cool is that? After getting back to camp, and going for water, which was far away, the clouds started rolling in, and so did the thunder. It started to pour at about 5:00 p.m. so I headed for the tent.

On day six we woke up at 8:00 a.m. I was happy to learn that we weren’t leaving until 12:15 p.m., so Cody and I relaxed in our camp until then. Then we hiked back to Star Gap Road, climbed on the bus, and headed back to the school.

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