And So We Camped
My friends and I decided to go camping recently. We're all getting ready to start medical school, law school or a year of volunteer work and thought we should have one last trip to just have a good time. None of us are planners but we figured we'd just wing it. Spontaneity is the spice of life, right?
After running the plan by my dad, we decided it would probably be beneficial to make a list of supplies and food we would need. As we combed through my family's camping supplies I started to wonder, "How on earth are we going to pull this off?" But, that's what makes it exciting, right?
The next afternoon the car was packed, Icees and sour punch straws were bought and music was blaring as we threw caution to the wind and embarked on our first solo camping experience. I told my friends that my physical therapist and the assistants all thought we'd be in a hotel before the first night was over. That spurred us on. We were determined to make this trip a success. Overall we thought we'd be 85% successful because - let's face it - something was bound to go wrong.
We arrived at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas right before sunset. Our tent was set up and burgers were on the grill within 30 minutes. None of us had ever cooked a burger in our lives, but we did a really good job, if I do say so myself. As we sat down for dinner we realized we forgot flashlights (#embarrassing).
The next morning we woke up and packed our backpacks with lunch, water and snacks for the first hike. We set off on the 4 1/2 mile Seven Hollows Trail around 9 am. We started through this incredible forest that led us to a natural grotto. The last two miles were exhausting. We were hiking up an incline with very little greenery to distract us. Once we finished we headed straight to the public pool. After a short nap we decided to check out one of the park programs led by a park interpreter. We made kites and flew them with a few of the children (#adulthood).
Our dinner was a disaster. We thought spaghetti would be an easy camping meal, but boiling water on charcoal proved to be next to impossible. We had to improvise as we forgot to pack a strainer and another pot for the sauce. With a less than impressive dinner, we set off for the Dutch oven dessert program. Park Interpreter Tiffany made cherry cobbler while we made friends with the family behind us.
On our last day we woke up to watch the sunrise and begin our hike to the waterfall. The view was absolutely incredible. As we sat on the rocks at Stout's Point overlook, I thought about all we accomplished (through teamwork and with the help of kind strangers) and my upcoming volunteer year. Am I nervous about moving to Arizona for a whole year? Uh, yeah. It'd be a little weird if I wasn't. But do I think I can do it? Duh. I'll be living with five other people all in the same boat. We're going to have to work together. We may fail at times but who cares? That always makes for the best stories.