Ever since I threw up in a Disneyland swimming pool, I could never see why people liked it or considered it the best place on earth. Before the age of thirteen, I thought everywhere just kind of sucked. Well the summer after I turned thirteen that perspective changed. It was nearing summer and a mentor of mine was suggesting that I go to camp. I’ve never been to camp but figured I’d hate it so I said no. Around that same time I was signed up for a science camp that I didn’t really enjoy and as soon as I got back I found out I was going to this other camp called camp unalayee, the one my mentor notified me of. So here was my first day of this camp to give you a rough idea of how I felt:
We had to leave really early, I’m talking five am to get to the bus drop off by six am. Well first off I’m not a morning person and I didn’t pack very well but I didn’t care because I knew either way, I would hate it. I was the last one to the bus stop and the bus was about to leave without me, I wished it would have. I got on the bus and there were no seats, except for one by this boy with brown hair. I sat down and tried not to cry. At the time I had extremely bad social anxiety. I sat there too afaid to move for a solid fifteen minutes. Suddenly one of the girls in the isle across from me said “Logan, say hi to her.” The boy next to me looked up then looked at me and mumbled a hello. I just sat there petrified. Eventually Logan grew restless, it was a six hour bus ride so I couldn’t blame him. That’s when he pulled out a knife, just as I had gotten comfortable I fell apart again. I sat dead still afraid to breath. It was a noisy bus and he didn’t look like he had an intention of killing someone but if he did I was the closest in reach. He started sharpening it and examining the blade and kept sharpening it. Like an angel from the sky a counselor walked down the isle of the bus and was looking at Logan so I thought surely he’d take the knife away.
“Nice knife Logan!” The counselor said. I realized I was trapped in a bus with a bunch of lunitics. Eventually I came out of my shyness just to talk to someone. The girl who had prompted Logan to greet me kept attempting to make conversation with me so I caved. I ended up sitting next to her and we even ate lunch together when the bus stopped. I was feeling more comfortable but wanted to be home. We continued the journey for a few hours more and eventually reached narrow, windy roads that felt like the bus would topple off the cliff at any moment. We eventually got to the top and stopped at a patch in the side of the road with a bunch of people and cars.
Reviewing what I knew about this camp, there were two main points: we hike and no electronics. The air was dry, so dry I could feel my body loosing moisture every time I exhaled. The bus left and our stuff was thrown into piles that we were supposed to pick up our water, sunscreen, and hats from. We stood in a big circle and the camp director, someone who still intimidates me to this day, shouted instructions. We were to be ordered into tribes is all I really got from it (I wasn’t paying attention). I was called with the girl, I’ll call her Linda for confidentiality, into the same tribe. We had two other boys in our tribe and another girl plus a CIT (counselor in training). I looked at our counselors, one looked like a sweet hippy girl, the other like a body builder and the last one like he might have been homeless. I was anything but stoked. We played a game to get to know each other but we were all pretty shy so we didn’t really get to know each other.
I remember one of the counselors saying alright let’s hike and feeling so confused because I thought the turn out on the side of the road was the camp. It wasn’t. We had to hike seven miles up a mountain in 6,000 feet altitude. I was drained and dehydrated by the first mile but so was Linda so I didn’t feel that bad. The homeless looking counselor, Quest, was trucked up the mountain and threw licorice at Linda and I. He was my favorite from that point on. After the hike I was sure would kill me, we went to our tribe site and started dinner over a campfire, no stove, no tents, nothing. We had pans,pots, and a grate for cooking over an open fire. I had been camping before but this was a whole different meaning to the concept for me. We went over rules and went to bed. It was easy to see who had been here before and who hadn’t. Moon and Jack, two fellow tribes members, had been here since birth.
Funny side not: me and jack actually started dating last year, but that’s a story for a different time.
Anyways my first few days were pretty bad, I got a fever from dehydration and altitude sickness and was coaxed back to life by Quest bringing me tea to my tent that I had brought because I was informed that they were not provided and slept there. Basically Quest made sure I didn’t die. From then on we were the best of friends.
My first hike was an insane story that actually became a camp legend and I know this because I still go there to this day. I don’t want to make this too long but I wanted to share my first moment I realized I found the place I belonged. I would go as far to say that it was a spiritual realization.
I wanted to especially mention this because camp will be a reuccuring theme in my blogs because I live for this place. There’s nowhere I would ever want to spend my summer other than camp. Yeah it was kind of a boring story but trust me, if you were there you’d understand how truly exhilarating it was.
Here’s some pictures from this year of me and my fellowcamp mates. This was this summer and I was a CIT. The middle one was my second year at camp.