It was all Krystalena the Camping Queena's idea to go on the camping trip. Well, actually, it was really a tradition of our church and she was in charge this time. I was very blessed, I had Amy as my camping buddy and she was an expert in making hobo packes. Not only that, she was organized and enthusiastic about it. Somebody had to be. But it was actually fun to fill aluminum foil with veggies and meat. I got into it.
I rode down with the stragglers - the ones who couldn't get Friday off. My company included Boxcar John, Jackie O' and Terry (the driver). We packed in Terry's pickup, who had just about every fancy camping gadget there was. And we set off towards what appeared to Terry to feel a lot like the journey in Pilgrim's Progress. Marie O'Nasis had us looking for a sporting goods store along the way. She carried 3 badminton rackets and no shuttlecock and so our goal was to help her with her dilema. And, what do you know, we did find one a place where she could get that extra racket and the shuttlecock. It may not have been a prophetic word, but I was in agreement when John declared that we must stop and buy chocolate also.
The drive was as beautiful as the road to Hana (Hawaii), but then it got dark. And we found that our map was not particularly helpful. And we wondered if we'd ever make it to our destination before the gate shut. The gender wars were on except they were amusingly inversed. Jackie's mantra was "Keep going until we get there." Which was undoubtably wise because she was right all along. But the guys wanted to ask for directions. For some reason us women wanted to see if we could make it without stopping. We did stop three times along the way. We had no idea of what the condition of the terrain would be for this part of the state was flooded earlier this summer. And there was a swampish-hazy atmosphere along the road causing Ms. O'Nasis to comment on how prehistoric it looked. That's when Terry began to make comments about Pilgrim's Progress. And then we had a Robert Frost moment: which road shall we take? I concluded: "Let's take the road most traveled." and it did make a difference eventually. With great relief, we were rescued by the Brit, otherwise known as Concordance Man (a true hero.)
Upon arrival I was told I would be staying at the Hillary Hilton. I thought it was perhaps a political-Hollywood fiasco but the first part was the name of the tent. The second half was perhaps named for how posh it was. No, that wasn't it. But who knows where the name came from, but it stuck. It was great getting a tour of the campground in the dark.
The night before we had decided we'd take a long hike upon mid-morning. So we downed our breakfast and filled our pockets and backpacks with victuals for the trek. All was going reasonable well until we came upon what what was once a bridge. Perhaps the flood took it away, but it was another Pilgrim's Progress moment. I think it was Terry who told me to take a step of faith to cross it, but apparently I was doubtful and so were the rest. One brave camper in our midst stepped upon stones to cross to the other side and encouraged us to follow. I made it across, but apparently my trail mix was starting to become a burden to me causing my jacket to fall into the river. We followed the suggestion to take off our shoes and socks, but it was pointless because we ended up wiping our muddy feet off on them and in the tall grass.
I heard the comment by some unnamed individual that they were glad that there was some sort of danger to this pathway. I tend to disagree but kept my thoughts to myself. My thoughts were on survival, theirs were on adventure. I knew at that moment that I was old. Than we crossed the same river further ahead but this time on unstable logs. I was glad that someone was there to help me across at various point and it seemed to remind me of my spiritual journey.
Our goal was to make it up to Inspiration Point. And the bunch that just came down from that trail of stairs encouraged us to make the trip. I hadn't breathed that heavy in three years. And to think that I actually work out. What would have become of me if I hadn't...