Monday, June 02, 2008


Weekend Camping

This weekend my family went camping. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my grandparents on my dad's side of the family have pictures of all the grandkids on 2 shelves. The oldest 9 are on the top and thus we call ourselves "The Top Shelf". I know it's sorta dumb, but whatever. Anyway, we've had trips before with some of us, but this year we decided to have a big trip where all of us would go. We finally found a weekend and it almost worked out. Unfortunately, my sister got a job (what a grown-up!) and it started today, and my cousin B. Martin's roommate bought a house so they had to move. But it will happen someday!

So, the rest of us went anyway, along with 2 boyfriends and a friend. There were 10 in all. We had a group campsite, which is totally the way to go. There were 5 tents! We stayed in Matthews Arm campground in the Shenandoah National Forest.

On Friday, I went to my brother's house after work. He had already picked up my cousin Yecats from the airport (she's going to school in Tampa) and they were at dinner. I joined them and as it was Jeff's last day (and he worked at that restaurant) he had a lot of shots. Then we went shopping for camping food and it was like shopping with a 4 year old. He actually put things in the cart when we weren't looking. It was somewhat fun though. I am very glad Yecats was with me. We went to sleep after packing the car around 1:30. Then we were up at 5 to start on the trip. We made it to the campsite right in the middle of the other 2 cars (about 15 minutes each). The PA car had some problems - they had stuff tied to the roof that flew off. The recovered everything but a pair of sneakers, a hairdryer, and tent poles. We set up camp & had lunch and then it rained on & off until about 4 pm. Luckily it really wasn't that bad. The weather service had actually called for tornado & hail warnings for our area and it just rained.

The other thing that was weird was the caterpillars. They were freaking everywhere. They fell on you, or climbing up you until around 4 or 5 pm, when I guess they went to sleep. I'll have to say it was better than bees or flies, but still, it was kinda gross. The other thing was a ranger told us that when it sounded like it was raining was actually the caterpillars pooping. So yay. And that was basically a constant background noise. Oh, and did I mention that there weren't showers at this campground? Luckily nobody was really all that smelly. But that's why my hair was in pig tail braids & why I wore a hat until I got home basically.

On day 2 we made breakfast and then went on a hike. It was the Overall Run Falls trail. We read the map and followed the instructions only to find out on the way back that the trail ended literally at our campsite. So we walked 6.5 miles round way instead of 4 miles. Oh well! Here are some pictures from the hike.

Some of the Top Shelf Cousins on a rock - it's higher than it looks

All the cousins that went at Overall Run Falls

After we got backed we were all hungry and wanted lunch. That's when we noticed that 2 of the coolers (the ones with all the food) were missing. A ranger stopped by and gave us a warning about leaving coolers unattended because of bears. After lunch, a bunch of the group took naps. The rest of us sat around the fire and played drinking games. Layla "built" a fort and stayed in it the entire night, adjusting as we used the wood to feed the fire.

It started to rain again that afternoon, but it only lasted about 15 minutes. Jeff had some ponchos from his ROTC stuff and that's how we stayed dry to watch over the fire while other people either went under a tarp or in a tent.

This morning, Layla woke me up to go potty. Our tent was supposed to be a 2 man tent, but I could barely fit. I had to sleep diagonal if I did want my feet to touch. But it was cosy and that's what you get when it's a free tent. And it stayed dry so whatever. Anyways, there is a rocky outcropping behind the campsite and we were up there walking around. I saw something move and looked up and did a double take - it was an adult black bear. Probably about as big as a picnic table (maybe a little smaller). He was just wandering around. I don't even know if it saw me. I started running and under my breath kept repeating "it's a bear, it's a bear". Luckily some rangers happened to be coming up to the site and I told them. They went to look and couldn't find him and said that we probably scared it away. Nobody else was out of the tents yet, but 3 of my cousins said they heard someone running past them. One of my cousins and her boyfriend saw a bear cub on the side of the road just sitting there on their way out. I wish I had seen that one instead as I might have actually looked at it instead of running like hell - did I mention I was in flip flops and pjs?

We left this morning around 12 and I got to my house after unpacking first my cousin & then my brother, around 7:45. I am super tired, dirty and my legs are starting to get sore. But I had lots of fun. Hung out with some of my favorite people in the world, and met a few more to hopefully include in the family one day. Next time I just hope that the whole Top Shelf can come, and that it doesn't rain and that if I see a bear I am in a car.

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