I tossed my backpack over my shoulder, and walked my bicycle onto the Delaware bound ferry. I had signed up for a camp offered by the Monmouth County Park System in New Jersey. The camp brochure stated we would be camping at Cape Henlopen State Park but it made no mention of the great stories I would return with.
I found my way to the top deck of the ferry, where I spotted dolphins swimming alongside us. After reaching the port at Lewes, Delaware, we biked to our primitive campsite within the park. Worried about possible thunderstorms, we quickly set up tents. The sun had set and we had a fire going when we finally experienced mild thunder and lightning. I was sitting by the fire, about to indulge in a s’more when a counselor pointed me toward a clearing nearby. Curious, I obliged and was met with the most incredible display of lightning I had ever seen. I sat on the dirt and watched as in an instant, the storm reached its vibrant fingers across the sky. Once everything was quiet in our campsite that night, I heard a strange noise; like cars zooming past on the highway, but the nearest road was much too far. Finally, I recognized the noise. It was the ocean waves crashing against the sand. I fell asleep to its peaceful sound.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I awoke with the morning light flooding our tent. We took a short morning walk to the beach. After spending the morning in the sand and surf, we returned to our bicycles to explore the historic town of Lewes, the first town in the first state of America. We covered several miles, experiencing history along the way. By the time we returned, our legs were worn out. One of the best feelings has got to be the moment you lie down at the end of a tiring day. That night my thin sleeping bag on the hard ground felt more comfortable than my bed at home, and I fell asleep immediately.
The next morning, we biked to the bay for a kayak tour. I paddled out, racing my new friends beside me. When my arms tired, I stopped, finally looking around me. The water reflected a deep blue off the cloudless sky, an old lighthouse stood before me, the shore and dune grass behind. The relentless sun beat down on us, so I grazed my fingers on the cool water and watched tiny fish scatter away. Upon returning to shore, I was tanned, sore, and smiling. We hit the beach shortly after. The moment we arrived, we ran and dived under the refreshingly cold waves.
That evening was spent on our quiet beach by the campsite. I found myself separating from the group, lying on the cool sand, and watching the stars illuminate the night. I stayed there for quite some time, watching the glittering sky. Even the Milky Way was visible. I felt so small and insignificant under this huge expanse which was the sky, all my worries seemed so unimportant. Suddenly, a bright flash streaked across the sky. I closed my eyes to make a wish on the shooting star, but nothing came to mind. I was entirely content there on the sand.
Through comparing bug bites, complaining about the sweat and dirt that covered our bodies, and the tired muscles, we never stopped smiling. It was a week brimming with adventure and little surprises from nature. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but there is a world outside our circle of Facebook friends, and I’ve only begun to explore it.