For years, my friend Kate has tried to drag me, against my will, into what she would call The Great Outdoors. By means of hiking, camping, or general wandering, she has used all means of mind powers to get me to accompany her on these escapades. For nearly five years I have declined countless invitations to various activities UNLESS she could promise me a body of water to land in. In five years we have managed to go on TWO hikes, one in which she tried to kill me with bees and another that was nearly vertical and quite deathly. My Wilderness quota had been met for the decade.
Mind you, I grew up camping, hiking, and playing outside every day. I am no stranger to dirty feet, dehydrated space food, and the tricks to getting campfire smoke out of one’s eyes. I know that certain Avon products ward off bugs and every campsite group sing-along song sung since the Cold War. I know virtually every way to nearly die in a semi-controlled camping environment and the countless benefits of Dramamine. I know things.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty craptastic. On top of all the big changes and a few disappointments, two of the trips I was really looking forward to with my girlfriends were cancelled. I was feeling mopey about all of these things when a church camping trip was brought to my attention. I must have been feeling pretty confident in the revival of my past camping life, or maybe, more realistically, I was just feeling like getting the heck out of my craziness for a minute. Whatever the reason, I agreed to go camping. With strangers.
The group that was headed on this beach camping trip was our church’s Young Professionals group. With ages ranging from late twenties to early thirties all was gearing up to be a fun adventure until about a day before when I remembered that:
1) I haven’t slept in a tent in about a decade
2) Anything can happen when you are outside.
(Cue the anxiety)
As much as one might try to convince you that beach camping is cheating, it really isn’t. The minute you let your guard down is when things go askew! I was sweaty and vomitlicious on the drive down there, certain that this trip would take a turn for the Hunger Games and I was going to have to be on my A-Game to survive. Who even knew the company we were going to keep?! I packed about a month’s worth of clothes and ran through various survival strategies en route to my certain demise.
Everyone trickled into camp later in the evening and I was greeted by a sweet Maltipoo named Oscar. As much as I was relieved by his presence, I was still wary of the human campers… Until the camp fire. As we sat around and played Would You Rather I laughed with our new friends. Oscar kept my legs warm and we all defended our silly game answers. I learned that one of the best parts of adult camping is not having my mom tell me not to throw things in the fire (camping brings out my inner arsonist). We chatted and laughed into the night, it was dreamy.
The next morning we all woke up and a couple of the boys made breakfast. When I noticed the coffee pot, my eyes welled with tears of joy (I am a littlebitjoking about that). Even I can camp when there is coffee involved! Whoever did the camp food shopping was a genius because there were creamer choices and everything! It was basically what I would imaging indigenous people having for a Starbucks.
Eventually we made our way down the treacherous trail to the beach. After about thirty tries, our EZ Up and Volleyball net were secured and we were a VISION of beachy fun-ness! We all had a blast boogy boarding, sunning and chatting the day away and laughing at our volleyball skills.
That night as I lay my very sleepy head down I was thankful for my new friends, for great memories, and for the very thick sleeping bag Q had packed me, as my bones are not as young as they once were. Now I can say that as an adult, I went to The Wilderness and I lived to tell about it.