"I can’t feel my arm!" I cried out to my cross country teammates, as we were on our way to Big Pine, California. The drive was taking hours from Norwalk, where we were all from; so to keep myself entertained, I had decided to attempt to fist pump for one hour without stopping. As it turned out, this not only kept me from getting bored, but my friends as well, who were cheering me on. It seemed like camp would be filled with jovial experiences with my teammates; but as I would later find out, not all of the experiences would be happy ones.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Once arriving at Big Pine’s Creek Campground, I had no idea what I was supposed to do, as I had never gone camping before. Then, as I saw everyone unloading their bags and rushing to claim tent sites, I quickly did the same. In a matter of minutes, it was already getting dark, and we were preparing our first dinner together as a team. As I sat down to eat spaghetti, I looked around at my fellow runners and coaches, who all seemed to be having as much fun as I was. Later on that night, as I was putting together my first smore by the campfire, I stared up at the night sky and saw that we were surrounded by a myriad of beautiful stars. It was at that one moment that I realized that I was truly camping.
Although I comfortably fell asleep my first night, thinking that camp would stay as paradisical as it was the first night, I soon learned that I was wrong. The next morning, I woke up in my tent, flabbergasted by how cold the air was. Struggling to exit my tent, I began to have a nose bleed. I reached for one of the campsite’s only water faucets and started to wash my face, immediately realizing how cold the water was and how metallic it tasted. I spewed it out in disgust, and looked down at my shirt, seeing that it was now covered in blood and freezing water. After replacing my shirt, but before fully recovering from my early morning ordeal, my teammates and I were already running our first workout. None of us were truly able to unleash our full potential, as we were all unaccustomed to the high altitude and the hilly trails. By the end of the long and arduous workout, we were all sore and exhausted and slumped ourselves down for our breakfasts. As great as the breakfast was, I was not looking forward to the next workout that afternoon. Suddenly, spending a week at Big Pine seemed like it was not just going to be fun and games.
However, as time progressed, I began to grow a love for the many factors of camping that I was unaccustomed to back home. I not only improved as a runner due to the many workouts through Big Pine and its many trails, but I got closer to my teammates, embraced nature in new ways, and experienced adventurous hikes through Big Pine. Most importantly, camping taught me how to make every negative moment in life into a positive one. Just as I had made driving to Big Pine interesting, with the help of my friends, I was able to make my first camping experience into a memorable one that has helped make me into the person I am today. I will forever miss that cold and metallic water at Big Pine, and everything else that it had to offer.
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