As a favour to my aunt (whom I love), I agreed to attend girls’ camp as a leader. I know what you’re thinking. Those girls were in for a treat! Well yes, they would have been, had the “camp” turned out anything like I expected it to be
A serene nature-y camp site, complete with meditation, songs about God and kumbayaya-ing. We’d make friendship bracelets and bronze ourselves in the desert sun. Maybe we’d eat amazing peach cobbler made in Dutch ovens. We’d star gaze, talk about boys and splash around in a lake.
HELL. No one told me there would be extreme hiking. If you know anything about me at all you’ll know that hiking and Hollie are sworn enemies. Some of the worst moments in my life have taken place amid some disastrous collision between me, and my body trying to behave like a mountaineer. As a freshman I was mortified when my dorm group hiked a mountain “recreationally”. An upper-classman volunteered to literally piggy-back me up the mountainside because I was so slow. And as a senior I was devastated when my brother and his friends chose to book it up a mountain (I say mountain, but maybe it was a mere hill) in Idaho. I physically crawled up there after them.
Well last week I had to supervise a herd of 14 year-old girls up another mountain. Only rather than coaching them on with high spirits, they had to listen to me moan and groan the whole way up those treacherous peaks that went on and on for miles and miles. The sun was at dangerous heights, the temperature reaching 107 degrees, while my water bottle- though incredibly fashionable (I wanted to fit in with the cool girls), held maybe one cup of water.
The only thought that kept me going was the brand new Vogue magazine that I had packed in my bag, and the colossal stash of wonderful junk food that my aunt and I had prepared.
Well, by the time we reached camp, set up our tents, and psyched ourselves up enough to use the hole in the ground, bug infested “toilet”, the sun was sinking in the sky and we had were forced to lock up our delectable treats to avoid bear attacks. BEAR ATTACKS?
Treat-less and void of light enough to enjoy Anna Wintour’s latest scoop, Sarah and I lay pressed together in our fancy “3 man tent”, which was actually more like the size of a pop-up IKEA play tent. I fell asleep to the noisy chatter of the girls talking about farting.
The next day we began the hike back down the mountain which, though considerably faster than the way up, tore my muscles to shreds. Every last one of them. Arms swinging to steady myself, thighs flexing to keep up with the energetic teenagers ahead of me, toes curling over the rocky pathway and my abs fighting to keep myself upright. By the time we reached the bottom, every inch of me was tingling in raw anticipation of the next day, when practically all of my limbs would refuse to function.
We floated the Provo River after the hike. This, I had imagined, would consist of us leisurely floating on tubes while the sun browned us for an hour or two. Instead we found ourselves clinging on for dear life as our butts scraped over rocks and our tubes crashed into bushes and wayward trees as the rapids tossed us around like dejected rag dolls.
The next day I waddled into a job interview where my pain in movement was so apparent that I had to explain exactly why I was shuffling around like a sun scorched penguin. They, at least, got a laugh out of my misery.
All in all, however tragic as I made it out, the camp was a good opportunity for me to take a break from my usual interviewing-cleaning-painting-reading routine, and of course I love every moment I get to hang out with my lovely aunt Sarah. Finding her friendship at this time in my life has been the greatest blessing I could hope for. I guess I’d hike any mountain she asked me to. I mean, I’d still complain and cuss like a sailor the whole time, but whatevs.