Weathering Camp

July 29, 2017

This week at my church Young Women Camp we had perfect weather for an East Coast campout--mostly overcast skies with slightly cooler temperatures punctuated by a few hours of sunshine here and there on most of the days. It was really nice to have a break from the usually relentless heat. We still had the relentless humidity, but a temperature just a few degrees lower can make such a difference. Evenings got cool enough to welcome a campfire, and the nights and mornings felt deliciously chilly.

It was a really good week. I got to lead a sweet overnight hike with dear friends as co-leaders. We wended through the weird, otherworldly forest of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. It's rocky, heavily wooded and has an old, almost stifling feeling in the air. It's an old, magical place.

The girls were exceptional in their cheerfulness, willingness and strength. It was a delight to be with each of them. We hiked, laughed, cooked, sang, and learned together. As I have for the last 23 or so years of helping at camp, I fell in love with each and every one of them and will treasure the memories I have of them. I cannot get these photos out of reverse chronological order without wanting to throw my computer across the room, so here you go.

All of us on the last day. Aren't they beautiful? 

Testing out my selfie stick, and showing off my camp look. 

Canoeing was a big hit with the girls. 

The hikers. We pretty much rock. 

Why did I not know about ROASTING Slim Jims over a fire???

Our lovely, peaceful campsite in Caledonia.

The Way of the White Blaze. 

A little Abbey Road action across Route 30. 

Playing with my fisheye lens. 

One of the trail entrances we passed by. 

Me and Sheely. Love. 

This is how dense the trail is.
And I love that branch of crazy orange leaves in a sea of green. 
All that was prelude to a major storm that settled in to the area and got to us on Friday afternoon. We had powerful, mostly consistent rain for hours and hours. Our camp is fairly well equipped, with a covered pavilion large enough for the whole group and established camping areas for most of the girls; we all donned our ponchos and dealt with the descent into dampness pretty well. I heard no complaining, and instead saw lots of cheerful acceptance of the situation. For my group, in our snug cabins, it was a cozy night of listening to the pleasant sound of rain in the forest and little else.

The whole experience reminded me of how circumstances are often only pleasant or unpleasant based on my thinking and comparisons to other circumstances. The rain itself was neither bad, unfortunate, nor unpleasant. It simply was. Just as we all ponchoed up and and gathered under our little pavilion, preparation, acceptance and adaptation will keep me moving forward when conditions change in my life.

I am grateful for service opportunities like this that offer practicums for me to be reminded of what I know, and also that there is always more to learn.

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