My family seems to be unable to have an ordinary, relaxing vacation. We always meet with adventures of some kind; our first and possibly last camping trip was no exception.
I don’t remember whose idea it was to gather the seven singles in our Bible study group on a spontaneous weekend camping trip. As the leaders of the group, my parents coordinated everything very meticulously. Different people were in charge of packing food, firewood, and tents for the group, while each person was responsible for packing his or her own sleeping bags, hiking gear, and coats. The thirteen of us squeezed into four cars and set off.
Five hours later, our red van was the first to arrive at the camping site. We set to work pitching tents. Dad unfolded our giant tent, rustled around, thumped tent pegs for twenty minutes, and voila! It was finished. Meanwhile, my sisters and I discovered immense entertainment watching three of the singles, Mikaia, Chas, and Kurt, attempt to secure their own smaller tent, which collapsed every minute or two without fail.
By the time they finally managed to successfully pitch their tent, we had set up everything else and were ready to play an intense game of horseshoes. Philip and Elijah, the singles in charge of bringing bottled water, were still stuck in traffic, so we soon became desperately thirsty. Several hours passed. Just as we were beginning to think that we might perish right there by the fire pit, the remaining two cars rolled up. Unfortunately, Philip (being Philip) brought only a dozen water bottles and something like four dozen cans of soda. He also forgot all of the food except for bacon, oats, pancake mix, and (of course) the makings for s’mores.
As the evening went on, more mishaps occurred. Half of the people had forgotten coats. Several lacked hiking boots. Most of the guys had no sleeping bags. Chas, the six-foot-two-inch tallest member of our group, had packed the sleeping bag he’d used on his last camping trip…when he was eight. Needless to say, it was much too small, and covered in cartoon characters too.
That night was long and cold (Georgia mountains are not warm places during November). My family and Christyan, the only lady in the singles group, went to bed at a reasonable time. The pastor who had accompanied us didn’t linger long at the fire pit either. However, the six guys stayed up until midnight, experimenting with nighttime photography, trying to make things explode in the fire, singing loudly, and stuffing themselves with s’mores. By the time they retreated to their tent, they had burned up all of our firewood.
At two in the morning, the guys’ tent collapsed. The rest of the group awoke to their muffled shouts of surprise, which turned into frantic yells as they thrashed around under the canvas; “I can’t find the zipper!” My dad set them free and helped them set their tent up again so we could all get some sleep.
The next morning, we began hiking immediately after breakfast. We set off in high spirits, excited by the prospect of an hour or two in the wilderness. A few guys snapped branches off of trees to use as walking sticks. This quickly turned into a competition to see who could acquire the biggest branch, ending with someone falling out of a tree. After a while, some of our group became a little too courageous and abandoned the hiking path altogether. An hour later, my dad received a sheepish text from Chas saying that they were lost, and could we please come find them? Of course, we got lost too, and we blundered around on the mountainside for nearly four hours before somehow stumbling upon our campsite.
That night, my family bought instant hand warmer packets to put in our socks before bed. Halfway through the night, the heat started to get uncomfortable. Unbeknownst to us, those packets were not designed to be used on bare skin. In the morning, my mom and I discovered severe burns on the soles of our feet. The misused packets left us limping around like pitiful invalids for an entire week afterward.
No one from our group has forgotten that camping trip. We experienced the wilderness first hand, fell into a stream, dropped horseshoes on our toes, and ate pancakes saturated in bacon grease. However, I know I speak for all of us when I say that we’d love to do it again! Besides, our next vacation is bound to be even crazier.