I'm not an outdoor person, and I think everyone around me has probably figured that out by now already. Don't get me wrong, I love nature, but I just don't think soil, greens, and anything outdoor-sy is my element. I was, however, convinced by my friends to camp out for a night over the weekend last week. They say good company changes everything, so I thought I should give it a shot.
The camping event was organized by Recreational Services on campus, who were pretty much our chaperones. I've camped out a couple of times before back home and even once here, but this camping event has taught me a lot about what I should've brought. Firstly, there can never be too much food, pack as much food as you want to because it will never go to waste, especially if you're camping out in -1 degree Celsius.
We left campus around 1:00 p.m. The campground was about 45 minutes away from campus, it's called Little Paint. It's a spacious campground with benches and tables and fire pits provided abundantly and toilets nearby that are well equipped with sanitizers and toilet paper. There was also a beautiful stream flowing nearby where we camped. We started off by pitching our tents (and taking a bunch of selfies after), which was a lot of fun. I was about to take a nap in the tent with the beautiful weather out, but to my surprise, I was dragged (not literally) to go hiking with my friends.
The place we were going to hike was called Effigy Mound National Monument. It's a national park with a lot of mounds throughout the hiking trails, in which more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans are preserved by the national park. Throughout hiking, our chaperones were showing us the various shapes of the mounds, most of which are shaped like bears. There were signs leading to different trails named after how the mounds were shaped like Little Bear Mound etc. Now hiking, is also another thing I am not the best at. Hiking four hours straight made me realize how old I was mentally and even physically. I was the only one in the group of five who needed a stick to help with hiking... The trail was also not helpful at all. It was very muddy and plus the snow in the mud made everything soggier and more slippery. Now this may be an adventure for many, but it just happened not to be my cup of tea. The best part about the hike, though, was the view. Climbing 10km to the view was definitely a reward. We stayed there for a little while to take as many photos as we can. Hiking down was also rewarding as well because we stopped at many places to take a good look at the scenic view. Since we took almost the whole day to hike, we could check out the view at so many different times, and the best was definitely sunset. The skies were dashed with streaks of pink and purple, while some other parts had splashes of orange, red, and yellow. The azure river complemented the skies even more and because it's so clear, it reflected the surrounding nature too. I'm sure my pictures can do a better job in describing that magnificence.
By the time we got back, the skies were already dark. We prepared fire as soon as possible, gathering as much dried twigs and branches as we could. Thankfully, it didn't take long for all of us to get cozy and warm around the fire. The chaperones burned some coal on the side of the pit as well, for cooking later. We were going to have pizza that night! There were two ready made crusts, pizza sauce, plenty of cheese, and vegetables for everyone. We chopped up peppers, onions, mushrooms for the pizza. Our chaperones cooked their pizza first, while my friends and I roasted the vegetables in oil in the fire pit's grill. Fire-roasted vegetables are now my favorite because it just brings out a flavor (or sweetness) that kitchen-roasted vegetables can't bring, especially the mushrooms. Later on, we cooked our pizza as well, and I must say, it wasn't just edible, it was actually delicious. For dessert, everyone roasted s'mores and marshmallows. We also took turns to boil cups of apple cider for ourselves. The rest of the evening was spent bonding and just the regular story-telling everyone does in camping.
Now this part is my least favorite in the camping event. It's also probably the most embarassing part. It was time to go to bed, which I wasn't so happy about because it was FREEZING out. I had a lot of hot apple cider before but that wasn't helping. When we went inside our tents, it was even colder than outside. The sleeping bags froze us even more and we had to sleep with coats. However, I realized after an hour of sleeping that I wasn't ever going to sleep tonight since the ground was so cold too. Shamelessly, I went out and asked the chaperone if I could sleep in the car instead. So for the entire night, I slept in the car with the heater (which in my defense, I needed sleep to write a paper the next day!). I didn't sleep immediately, though. I was gazing at the night sky for awhile, and even at night, the skies knew how to wear its stars beautifully. It wasn't only the richness of stars in the sky, but there were even streaks of stars that you can find in Google. I wished I was able to capture that scenery, but I didn't have a professional camera with me.
The next morning, I woke up doused in sweat! It was great, though, I had a good night's sleep at least. I joined the others for breakfast -- we toasted the bagels on the grill and had cream cheese to go with it. We took turns to boil cups of apple cider too. At last, we packed up and my friends and I managed to sit by the river and enjoy the sound of it for awhile before we leave. Now, my friends are the biggest outdoor fans. They wanted to go camping again -- but we compromised for the next one. We crossed out hiking and decided to do our nails instead and cook all the time, which perfectly works for me. And when it gets warmer, we might even go for a swim.
Until next time,