I’m getting good at the blog thing, aren’t I! This week, I wanted to take a chance to tell you guys a little about my summer, and one of the most incredible things that I have ever done. Since I don’t have access to internet in the summer, I couldn’t tell you then, but I didn’t quite know how to incorporate this story into my blog until I saw this picture. I thought, “Hey, this image would be incredible for a Write About It Wednesday, and for my summer story” and so I plopped it into my “Write About It Wednesday” board on Pinterest so I would remember this moment. So, on with the story.
As you may (or may not) know, I live in the mountains of North Carolina. I am surrounded by glorious mountains and I often take the incredible views for granted. Until a camping trip that I went on this summer. I never really considered myself to be a very outdoorsy person until this trip. Like, sure I liked to stroll in the woods sometimes, and have never been bothered by bugs, but I never really thought that camping was my thing. But, this summer at Camp Spring Creek, everything changed. A 3 day, 2 night camping trip had been planned for the senior campers. They would hike up a mountain, pitch tents, and hope that the trees would shield them from the rain. They would also filter their own water, poop in the woods, and drink every last drop of sump water (water used to clean out used dirty dishes) to leave no trace for wild animals (bears mainly) to follow.
Before the trip, we had our guide (Katey) come to camp and teach us how to properly camp before we hiked all the way up the mountain. As camp photographer, I sat through the training, and I am so glad I did. Katey made everything sound so interesting and I was suddenly super excited about the trip, even though I wasn’t going on it (at that point). I talked to Katey and my parents and decided that day that I was going to pack a bag and hike up the mountain with the campers. I have never been more happy with a decision in my life.
We hiked the Black Mountains, which are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Black Mountains are the highest mountains this side of the Mississippi River. All of the trails we hiked on were part of the Pisgah National Forest and the trails themselves are maintained by volunteers. This was not some “pull your camper into a paved spot” kind of camping. No, this was real “dig a hole and poop in the woods” kind of camping.
I won’t go through all of the details because frankly I could talk about this trip for hours on end, but I’ll do a quick run through and then include some pictures at the end. Our initial hike to our camp site was about 3 hours long, straight up a mountain. It was steep, and very strenuous with a roughly 30 pound pack on. There were a few absolutely breathtaking views, some funny commentary, and an abundance of encouraging words. And when we got to the top, a sigh of relief and immediate communication to get the tents set up before dark.
The next day, we unloaded our packs, and loaded them up again with empty water bottles. We hiked to a saddle in the mountain range called deep gap. We enjoyed a bit of lunch and nice soak in the high mountain sun. Then we split up into two groups, the water group who would take one for the team and fill all of the water bottles back up, and the summit group who aimed to keep hiking and summit Cattail Peak. I went with the water group and pumped a lot of water. When we had filled up about 50 1-liter water bottles, we threw all of them in our packs and hauled up many many pounds of water back to the campsite (1 liter of water is 2 pounds). Later that night, we defied the forces of rain and built a fire in a downpour by shielding the wood with our bodies. Lots of smoke blurred my vision for a little bit that night, but no worries, we were somewhat warm. Then we made dinner, hung out by the campfire, and learned a lot about each other.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early, packed up our tents and fit everything back into our packs. Then it was 2 hours back to the buses, and a lot easier hike than the way up. We actually had the energy to sing songs (mostly 500 Miles by the Proclaimers). All in all, this camping trip changed my life. It really did. I feel so much more in tune with nature now. Now my dream is to hike the entirety of the Appalachian trail. I don’t know who I will do it with yet (Bruce, are you reading this… hint hint), but its my plan.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day! I’ll talk to you guys again soon!
Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure! Boom!