As you already know, I was a teacher for many years. And I was also the crazy teacher who loved to take middle schoolers on field trips-overnight. One of the most interesting and physical field trips that I ever did was the time we went to a wilderness camp. Yes, you heard me correctly-a wilderness camp! We could have a total of 15 people. The reasoning for 15 was that was the size of a van. And we didn’t need to take too many students because not everyone is ready for that kind of experience. By experience, I mean that we were going to do a ropes course, go hiking on the Appalachian Trail and we were sleeping in tents on the trail. We didn’t have to do cooking-thank goodness! The other teacher had never been camping-EVER! But she was a good sport and willing to give it a try. So that left space for thirteen students. We were not sure how many eighth graders would want to attend but we figured that it would be mostly boys. Right? Nope. We had ten girls and three boys. All of the boys were in Scouts-so no worry there. The girls were bright and funny and cheerleaders. I was concerned a little about them.
The day began misty and gray as we set off from the school parking lot. By the time we had driven 20 miles, the girls had begun to tell knock knock jokes. They were hilarious! By the time we reached the 30 mile mark, the girls had switched to blond jokes. The fact that they were all blondes made the jokes even funnier! Next they switched to singing songs. The other teacher and I didn’t have to do a thing. The girls were the undesignated entertainers for the trip. When we arrived at camp, we put our things away and started on the ropes course. Ropes was the key word here. We were divided into teams and used group strategies to use ropes and cross rushing streams and climb cliffs. It is a good thing that I could do heights! The strangest and scariest activity was something called the pamper pole. It was as tall as your typical telephone pole with the little iron steps up the side. The activity for this was to climb up the pole using the iron steps/grips. When you reached the TOP, you were to crawl up and stand up on your two feet on the very TOP of the pole. BTW, we wore a safety harness. Once you reached the top and were standing up straight, you were to spring from the top and grab a swinging bar. The harness person would then let you down to earth. Some of the kids started up the pole but came back down. Most of the kids climbed to the top and leaped to the swing bar. No one made it to the bar yet. Then it was time for the adults. My teacher friend said no and looked at me. So up I went. Once you got into the groove of climbing up, it was ok. But when I looked down when I was almost to the top—yowie! I made it to the top and then climbed up. Next was the swing bar. Man, it was hard to leap into the air but I did it. I missed the swing bar but was fine. Well, check that off my list!
The next morning we left the base camp and headed to the mountain trail. It was misty rain. The guys were glum. They were not hikers. The girls were cheery and sang the WHOLE day! We had a great time eating by the campfire and sleeping in 2 man tents at night. The next morning after a hearty breakfast, we hiked back to base camp. The guys were tired.. The girls were singing-again! The guys even mentioned how difficult it was to hike with cheerful people. The girls mentioned that the boys were real stick-in-the-mud campers and started singing again.
Well, I know one thing from this experience. I will choose blonde cheerleaders to hike into the woods with any day over Boy Scouts. Sorry guys!