Camping Under Starlight
On Thursday, yes that same Thursday I let Logan take photos of me regressing to my fabulous fashion blogging stage of life, me and roommate who also wandered around club day before she had Bio review decided it would be a good idea to go camping...tomorrow. They left at four. An email would go out at some point later in the day. It was all quite impromptu. So impromptu that I had to go and slightly beg the adventure education coordinator, Jill, for both a backpack and two sleeping bags for us by admitting our lack of preparedness. Before being let out into the wilderness of course, probably exactly what she wanted to hear. I must have done a really good job, because she wouldn't let me out of her office after the promise that she would let me borrow both the pack and sleeping bag before asking, "Do you have shoes?"
I looked down at my heeled feet. "Yes."
Allison when I told her this exchange still to this day asks me if I have "shooes" whenever she can. Though I could tease her just as well since we both quite possibly were going to look ridiculous having never been tent in dirt camping before (of course to the group I was very experienced. Backpacking? Rock climbing? I had done it all). Plus, I was not the one that came back with bug bites that turned out to be poison ivy on my stomach. Jill was excited for me. I was excited. On Thursday night, the only person I needed to get a little more enthused as well was Allison. She was still twirling around in stressed out la-la land for assignments that hadn't been fully handed out yet.
This was life though. Time to live instead of scower over papers. Time to see outside the walls of the dorm room and to the stars.
Leaving late, a quality I have found runs rampant in university functions, which is horrifying to your lovely blogger here and her near impeccable punctuality, we arrived at the campsite in the dark. Five tents and nine of us total, it left three hammocks for a few. One that was quickly taken by myself. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to love this hammock, and spoiler I did, even if I did nearly sweat to death under the makeshift tarp made from the cover a tent, attached to the ground by twigs. I did my best. At least I was hidden from all bugs compared to my hammock resident beside me that looked like she was a midnight snack. I could only hope that if it did rain, it would help in that respect as well.
As we set up, new pal and British exchange student for the year Josh looked at all the stars that we did see. The smog and light was not a problem out here for me to stare upon as well in awe. "Ah, guys. The stars are out, it isn't going to rain."
Anything said in that accent would make me feel better about my not so much tarp. It was at least up compared to the two laddered hammocks, hanging the chord above the top hammock, they let their true tarp lie on the ground, unneeded as we crawled into our camping beds. Lying in my enclosed hammock, I couldn't see the stars or the possibility of daddy long leg spiders coming for me off the tree (a good thing), but I could hear the deep hum of a ukulele- or excuse me, small guitar playing with an accompaniment of leaves rustling and the cliche chirp of crickets.
Goodnight, Worthington State Park. I cuddled my flashlight, phone, and sweatshirt close to my chest, releasing a breath. Creating my own story as I promised myself this year, maybe I could actually do that.
The thunder rumbled through the trees as rain fell against my poor-man's tarp at around four in the morning.
"Oh crap," Lucus said suddenly from the top hammock, swinging out to the beat and patter of raindrops.
Struggling to put the tarp up over the two hammocks, lighting there lighting, Casara went to each tent as she said Jill would, repeating, "Butt in the dirt, feet on the ground." Most of her commands met with the blurry eyed tent sleepers mumbling, "I am just going back to sleep."
Peeking my head out, I asked if they needed any help, feeling the cool rain finally on my hand. Rain that was not leaking or dripping into my hammock at all. They were both fine, she asking me if I wanted to run to the car for the rest of the night.
"I am alright. I mean, I am not getting rained on." Honestly, I had to say it aloud. It was a miracle as I tucked myself back in, flashlight gripped for the hours to come. The risk of getting wet much higher if I dared try to make run for it anyway. Nestling in, I fell asleep eventually to wake to the smell of banana pancake batter and the joking calls to Josh mimicking his accent.
"Oh, the stars are out! It can't rain!"
Loaded up with power bars and water (mine plain, the boys hyped up on Tang), we hiked up through the afternoon to sunfish pond. Stepping over rocks watching for snakes which we quickly maneuvered around, I mused my father's rhyme he taught me that he learned while overseas in the army: "Red on black is a friend of Jack. Black on yellow is a deadly fellow."
All the way to the pond, the view of spectacular. As was the boys swimming while I dipped my toes in to the luscious chill. It was as close to a shower as the weekend would get. Not that it would do too much more. Still had another night to sweat off the two peanut butter cup s'mores I would eat later sleeping in the hammock.
As we walked back, a state park officer stopped his car, looking at a half naked and soaked John. "What are you guys up to?"
"Uh," John looked at us, down at himself. "We went for a swim...were we not allowed? Because we didn't see a sign or anything."
The officer stared before nodding, "It's hot out so I understand, but technically you aren't supposed to."
"So, for the future don't, alright?"
Lucus made fun of John the same way we all did everyone else at some point during the trip. This though apparently was no the first time that they had to ask for forgiveness rather than permission through John. That is better though sometimes. Because LIVING.
And we did live a little more than usual that weekend. I convinced Allison to go and enjoy. And we did. Living, achieved. At least for a few days. Through bugs and Egyptian rattlesnake card game played by flashlight, but doubt I would know how to ever again. Like rummy. We had won over this weekend. At least to ourselves with new stories and memories to be forged, adding a few to our checklist I hope never ends.
Adventures after all, they are meant to be taken and only leave footsteps.
Of course I also took plenty of photos for us all.