i went camping this thanksgiving. i almost didn't go. i haven't done that sort of thing since i was little. and now, i want to make it my own tradition.
it all started on friday morning. i took my new car to david's house and we loaded it up with all the stuff. it was there that i found out that instead of the six people going in the first place, had been added to and the number now was 13. pretty much everyone was family. but it was so cool, cause all the gear went into my car. david rode up with me, and on the way there we all stopped at this tunnel place. it was being built in the civil war era, and they never finished it because they ran out of money 30 feet from the end. but at the back of the tunnel, there was a ledge that everyone stood on. then we started singing. the tunnel was maybe forty feet high maybe more, and we were standing about 3/4 mile back, so the reverb was incredible. everyone that was there was in some sort of choir too, so there were all the parts, plus a bunch more. we sang for about a half hour. people would gather at the bottom of the ledge and just sit with their flashlights off and listen. a couple requested songs, and many clapped when we were finished. it is amazing to think that God can use a bunch of college kids singing in a dark tunnel as a means of ministry.
when we got out of the tunnel, there was a group of people just staring at us. they finally asked us if we were the ones singing, and we told them we were. they laughed and told us at first they thought they had taken a wrong turn and ended up with the angels. we all laughed politely, and kind of embarrassed. then we left.
it took us a grand total of three hours to get to the campsite, but we stopped a bunch on the way up. when we got there we had to carry everything down to the site. we had about two hours of daylight left to get everything set up. we had to gather firewood, but we soon realized that it was all wet, and we had to go elsewhere to find some. so david, adam, david and i all drove off to see if we could find some firewood. we finally found some in this clearing about ten minutes away from the camp. all nice and chopped up, ready and waiting for us. =) we then took my car to the fish hatchery cause we were going to hike there the next day.
when we got back, we made the fire, dinner and had an awesome time just sitting around the fire and having a great time of fellowship. it was getting really cold at that point, but i was nice and bundled. i felt like meat on a spit, cause the front side of me would get nice and roasted and i would have to stand up and turn around. my face today is peeling and when i got home on saturday i looked at my knees, and they were all red. maybe i got too done on the front! i didn't have the timer on.
about 8:30 we decided to hike, and i mean literally hike, to the bathroom and then to a place called king's falls. the hike to the bathroom was pretty much uneventful, other than david and josh running ahead and hiding in the bathroom, so when i opened the door, they jumped out and scared the poo-didly out of me. king's falls was amazing. the moon was full and was just peeking over the top of the falls. the beams were hitting the mist and creating these wonderful shapes. it was incredible. we sat there for about 45 minutes just looking at it all. it was beautiful.
we got back and sat around the fire again to get warm, and talked again. it was so much fun. we finally decided around midnight to turn in. it was down to about 32 at that point, and it was hard to go to our cold tents and leave the fire. the night was freezing, but the only part of me that was cold was my face so i just pulled my sleeping bag over it. when we woke up around 7:30 we looked at the temp, and read 28. it was COLD! but the hike to the bathroom warmed us up again. breakfast consisted of pancakes, bacon and coffee. it was wonderful. the best i have ever had.
the afternoon hike was beautiful. whenever i get overwhelmed, i just get quiet. all i could think of doing was praying, singing songs in my heart to the Lord. i can't really describe what was going on in my heart except for intense worship. i really can't put into words everything that happened to me on that hike except it was the closest i had felt to the Lord in a long time.
when we got to the fish hatchery, i realized that we had to fit 13 people into my car, and drive back to the campsite. we all fit, and someone has a picture of it, but it was hilarious. i was very nervous having all those people in there, but it worked and we got back in one piece. the campsite was about a mile away from the cars, so we were pretty tired when we got back, and famished. the cold air really works wonders on the appetite. we had beef stew, little debbie oatmeal things, pudding, coffee, lemonade, and tuna. it was amazingly good. i haven't had tuna that good in a long time!
about 3:30 we started breaking camp. when we finished and got everything in the cars and started driving away, it started to rain. the Lord was so gracious to us! we got back in about an hour and twenty minutes. we were so dirty, sore and tired, but i haven't had that much fun in a long time. david's mom had made chili for us and it was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.
i have left out so much from the story, and there is much that i wanted to say, but i am too full right now to get it all out. maybe later. =) but i hope that i can do it again, and very soon. i have found a new favorite thing to do.