The Wondrous Woodleaf - My Family Travels

Drowsily, I looked out the window after an attempt to sleep throughout the night. An 18-hour bus ride isn’t exactly the easiest place to take a snooze, so I had slept fitfully. It had been a rough night; however, looking out that window suddenly made everything worth it. Surrounding me was the most beautiful forest I had ever seen with fresh fir trees looming over me and puffy white clouds littering the stunningly blue skies. I’m an Arizona girl- I’m used to vast and spacious deserts with thousands of cacti. This wondrous sight amazed me, and all my fears of the trip suddenly turned into excitement. I knew, at that point, that I had made the right decision. 

For months, my best friend had been pestering me on coming to a Young Life summer camp with her. Young Life, a nondenominational Christian organization, is not something I have been involved with before. I was extremely nervous about jumping into something out of my comfort zone. After she convinced me with her puppy dog eyes, I fundraised for the $700 and before I knew it, I was on that bus. 

Once we got to Woodleaf, the camp, all my uncertainty and anxiety began to loosen up. The scenery was unreal. The first thing I saw was a gorgeous lake, with mountains erupting behind it. Green trees were everywhere- definitely not something I’m accustomed to. There were lush grass fields, vintage buildings, and sandy pathways. It was like looking at a postcard, except postcards don’t get the fresh, crisp scent of the forest. I couldn’t believe I was someplace so extraordinary, so unbelievable. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came up to me and told me to close my mouth- I’m sure I was gaping like a fish! I got to view even more of the scenery when we transported our luggage to the cabins. I just simply couldn’t register that a place like this really existed, especially because I’ve lived in Arizona for so long. 

Things kept getting better and better. As the days went by, I began to have the time of my life. I went on so many adventures and participated in a handful of activities. I literally rolled in the mud and got covered from head to toe at one point. I also raced Ridge Runners (like a go-kart, almost) through the dirt, struggled to climb up enormous towers, jumped off a tree at an extreme distance from the ground, swung on the giant bungee swing, zip-lined down the mountain into the lake, kayaked, and got thrown into the air by this colossal balloon-type thing called the Blob. I learned to square dance and dosado, I sang during club nights, and I almost got swallowed by the giant whirl pool we made in the camp’s pool. That is not all- I also made tons of bracelets, played ultimate Frisbee, dressed up like a cowboy, and enjoyed all the delicious food that was served to me. It was simply an incredible seven days, jam-packed full of the most random and delightful activities.

My week was exactly how Woodleaf had advertised it: the best week of my life. Every moment was a new adventure for me, and I never expected any of the random events they threw my way. As I looked out the window on the bus ride back, I smiled. My unexpected trip had been a blast, and I was ready to go back. Young Life is amazing.


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