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Sitting at my desk watching Netflix, I hear a sound from Facebook. I switched tabs to see the notification. It was my friend Ethan. He said, “Can’t wait for this summer. Have you signed up for the camping trip yet?”. I was kind of conflicted. I really love hanging out with him and my other camp friends, but do I really want to go on another hiking trip? I get to see them every month or so. It wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t go to the camping trip this summer with them.There were a lot of other things I was thinking about doing over the summer instead of going to camp Volleyball was starting to take up a big portion of my time, and I didn’t know whether I was ready to stop playing for the summer. I told Ethan to let me think about it for a second. He instantly replied, “You remember how fun last time was, right?”
Our bus reached a big clearing right in front of a wooden sign marking all of the trails of the mountain. It was early in the morning and we were all pretty tired. My friend Noah and I put on our sunglasses and started walking up to the path. Our counselors immediately decided to split us up into fast and slow hikers for this hike. This was just too long of a hike to go slowly. We all decided to go so we could finish it quickly. There wasn’t much to do for the three-hour ascent so we just talked for the entire time. The scenery was beautiful. The sun was beginning to peek over the mountain and shine its rays down. We all were pretty envious when we saw the gondola going up to the top of the mountain because we were only about a quarter of the way up. My buddy, Noah, said, “ Well this is going to be awful.” I agreed, but when I looked around, I realized just how great this hike could be. As we ascended higher, the trees began to thin out and I started to get an idea of how much of the hike we had left to do. My water was running pretty low, and I realized that I had forgotten to pack granola bars for the journey, so I was getting concerned that I didn’t have enough provisions with me. It was a good thing when my counselor announced that there was a restaurant on top of the mountain. That gave me the extra incentive to keep walking.
Everybody was pretty tired after a few hours of hiking and it gave me a lot of time to think and notice my surroundings. It dawned upon me that there was nobody else hiking up on our trail other than us. It was a bit eerie, but cool at the same time. Everything was peaceful. There were birds chirping in the tall trees, and little chipmunks darting quickly across the path. I looked up and finally was able to see the end of the curvy trail at the top of the mountain. From here it looked pretty close, but as I started looking at the path to the top, I realized we still had a distance to go. We finally reached the top of the mountain after another half hour. Some of us went to go take pictures with their friends, but most of us had another agenda.
My friends and I immediately ran for the lodge in the center of the top of the mountain and climbed the stairs straight for the restaurant. I looked through my backpack and counted about seven Canadian dollars. After looking at the menu, I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough money to buy anything of substance. There wasn’t anything I could buy. My stomach was rumbling and I couldn’t figure out what to buy. Then I noticed of the kids in my group ordering something from the kids menu. I immediately flipped the page and saw a grilled cheese I could afford. Halleluyah! After placing my order, I sat down and relaxed with everybody else. My friends, Max, Noah, Ethan and I squeezed into a booth and waited for our food. We started talking about whether we could pay for the gondola ride down the mountain. Everybody thought after eating so much food that they wouldn’t be able to make the hike down. I was all for taking the gondola because I’m lazy and I didn’t really care about the ten bucks the gondola costed. Ethan asked the counselor and he said, “We can either use some of the trip money to the gondola down the mountain or save this money to use at the mall in Edmonton.” I wanted to save my money for the mall, so I would be walking back to the beginning of the trail rather than taking the gondola. We all got our food and started eating. That grilled cheese looked so simple, but tasted so good. After walking for four hours I definitely appreciated food a lot more than I usually do. The cheese was a nice yellow and was oozing out of the sides. I dipped it in Heinz ketchup and it was crunchy in my mouth. I was satiated.
Finally, the hardest part came. Time to walk down the mountain. We started walking at a fast speed because we wanted to finish the hike as quickly as possible. I was about in the middle of our group. When I noticed a little path cutting through the big one. Being the smart person I am, I decided to take the little path because I thought it would be quicker. Everybody behind me decided to follow me. The farther I went on this path, the more I knew this was an awful idea. The path became very narrow and I had to constantly walk on logs. I turned around and saw that everybody was becoming worried. Evan asked me, “Should we blow the whistles?” Every hiker carries a whistle to blow in case we got lost. I didn’t think we were in that much trouble because I figured the path eventually reconnected, but just to be safe, we blew it.
Immediately my counselor yelled, “ We are right here.” I misjudged the speed that we were walking and I saw the convergence of the little path we had taken and the main path that the counselors and the rest of the campers were using. Fortunately, the shortcut worked okay after all. After that experience, I decided to stick with the main path. My friend, Andrew, and I started to talk. I had known Andrew since last year, but I hadn’t gotten to know him well and become good friends with him until this trip. We had so much in common. After a while, I noticed that we had gotten so engrossed in our conversation that we had lost sight of the rest of the group. We began to jog through the rough terrain to find our group. This wasn’t the safest thing to do, but we had no idea how far behind we were from everyone.
I started to hear footsteps and talking up ahead so we started to slow down. Our group had stopped. Evan had tripped on a tree root and the group was waiting with our counselor to find out what to do. Our counselor said we were done with the hike and we were just around the bend from our bus. Two people helped Evan towards the bus and we all got on.
Typing away at my computer, I decided to sign myself up for the trip. The hiking trip I had gone on last year was the best time of my life. If this year’s trip is even half is good, it would be a really fun time. I sent Ethan a text message telling him that I had signed up for the trip. He was really excited. My camp friends and I would all be back together for another great experience. He said everybody else just texted him that they had signed up too. Finals were coming up and I needed to study, but I couldn’t help but sit back and think about the good times to come.
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