Monday, June 13, 2011

Aaahh, camp!

I chose this picture specifically because you can't really see any faces and I don't need anyone's permission. I just wanted to write a little blurb about what I did last week. 

In April I was thoroughly enjoying myself teaching a little class at church and avoiding anything really hard. Right before my birthday, the Bishop called me in and asked if I'd be the new young women's president, since ours was moving away.

I had carefully avoided being asked to go to girls camp, knowing that camping in tents was a little more "back to nature" than I really wanted to get. Apparently, avoidance was no longer an option and I was going to Long Valley, AZ with 9 first years, 3 second years, one 3rd year,  2 4th yrs who would join us later, and 6 ycls (youth camp leaders) who would wave to us as they walked by with their charges. One of the newbies and one of the ycls were my very own girls.

Everyone told me that it would be cold and possibly wet. I continually checked the weather channel app on my phone. I bought a new sleeping bag, I took a blanket and extra socks. 

There was a very dedicated lady called as Camp Director and a super organizer called as Food Specialist. I even managed to finagle it so that my little sister went with me. (ok, Meg, it wasn't really me who sent you there, but I was sure glad you were there.) These people ran things, and I was just there as a warm body to help corral girls and put away dishes.

Driving to camp, listening to loud music, I started to think this might actually be fun. We were pumped and the girls were all so sweet. I felt sure I could handle this. I didn't even notice that backs of my hands burning under the windshield as I drove.

When we got to camp, everyone pitched in to help get set up. All of the girls were so cooperative and helpful. I was in heaven! We sat down in the cool mountain air to eat the lunches we had packed. It didn't phase me in the least that we were the last ward to arrive, the last camp set up, and had the most girls. We finished our lunches in plenty of time to show up for orientation, and I was happy!

After dinner, we went out to a little stage in the woods and enjoyed a presentation, silly camp songs and all. I noticed that it was starting to get a little chilly, but not really a big deal with my nice warm hoodie on. I did talk to a dear friend of mine who had gone up the day before to help get camp ready. She had frozen the night before and hadn't slept at all. I thought, "This poor dear must not have a super, low-rated, xl sleeping bag like mine. I'll let her use my blanket tonight so that she can get some sleep. Ah, warm feeling inside.

By the time we got back to camp and cheerily prepared for bed, the warm feeling had dissipated and I was feeling cold. The thought of changing into pajamas was a bit daunting. I put on my warmest jammie pants, a long sleeve shirt, put my hoodie back on and thought about how wonderful it was that someone had sent up some hand warmers for us to use. 

I climbed into my xl sleeping bag and quickly realized that a mummy bag is not designed for an xl woman. I could barely zip the zippers up all the way around my shoulders and it was difficult to move. Not only that, but  my face was freezing when it was exposed to the air and I couldn't breathe when my face was inside the bag! The hand warmer did keep what ever part of me it was touching warm, but that was about it. Someone had suggested putting our clothes for the next day in the bottom of our sleeping bag to keep them warm. They were cold.

Although I was told later that I may have snored, just a little bit, it felt like I didn't sleep at all. I got up some time in the middle of the night to go to the lovely porta-john. It was a wee bit cold. Teeth chattering, I headed back to the tent, rummaged through my suitcase and put on another pair of pajama pants and another hoodie, then crawled back into my tight sleeping bag. It didn't help AT ALL. I did figure out around this time that if I slid way down into my bag, I could curl up in a ball and turn. Somehow, the middle of the bag was wider, like it was built for a very slender, yet pregnant person. However, I still had that claustrophobic, lack of breathing problem. So it was defrost face inside sleeping bag, lower bag, gasping for air and freeze, hide back inside bag.

In the morning I wondered how I would ever survive the day after having gotten no sleep at all. Line dancing for morning exercises did not improve my mood. I don't know what it is, I just cannot bring myself to line dance. I think being one child of 10 makes my desire for individuality overly strong. 

Back in camp, clean clothes and pancakes for breakfast cheered me up somewhat. I decided to go on the 1st year hike. Seeing as how we had 9 1st years and it would be the easiest hike, it seemed like the thing to do. We set off with our packed lunches, water bottles, and scriptures (mine on my ipod, because David never did find mine).

It was a lovely hike, more of a nature walk, really. We walked down the road for about half an hour, stopped to eat lunch, play games, and read scriptures then followed the ravine back to camp. The best reason to go on this hike is, that now I qualified for a shower. I waited for most of the girls to finish, which meant that my shower was rather cold, but a little longer than most and quite refreshing. 

As the afternoon wore on, I started to worry about how I would cope with another freezing cold night of no sleep. I think I forgot to mention that in the morning several of the girls thought that the hand-washing water spigot was broken. When they asked one of the men in camp to fix it, he quickly realized that the actual problem was the water was frozen. It was COLD!!!

I managed to get a hold of 3 hand warmers and a tip to slide them between 2 pairs of socks, plus an extra sleeping bag that I unzipped and tried to share with Megan. In my sleep addled brain I managed to steal the whole thing apparently. I put on an extra long sleeve shirt and wore my fleece headband to bed. I slept like a BABY, the ones that sleep all night long and are really warm. It was beautiful and I felt eternally grateful to all who had participated in assisting me toward that goal.

The day before we had found out that some of our newbies were also cold during the night. One of the actual camp leaders went to find out what the problem was. One of the girls hadn't actually gotten into her sleeping bag and one had forgotten the ever-so-important sleeping mat that had been strongly suggested to bring. She tried to rearrange the girls so that they could sleep better and perhaps later than the 5am they had woken up the first morning.

She must have succeeded somewhat, because when I got up about 6:15, they were still asleep. I crawled back into my bag and slept for another hour. 

This day I had volunteered to drive some of the older girls out to their hike site. I figured this way I could get to a store to purchase more hand warmers and whatever else might keep me warm. When I got back after dropping them off, I found one of our girls had gotten sick. We stewed about what to do and decided to have the young lady call and talk to her parents to make a decision. I left the other leaders to deal with this issue as I headed off to town and to pick up my 3rd years.

At the gas station I ended up at, I got more cups for the camp, hand and foot warmers for myself, Emma, and Lauren (I completely forgot about Megan. What a jerk!) They also had a hat with ear flaps, which I snatched up, and some sprite for my little sicky.

By the time I got back to camp, I found that she had already gone home. I gave Lauren and Emma their warmers. Emma was wrapped up in Megan's blanket, she had apparently lost hers (it turned up later in the bottom of her sleeping bag.) She asked Megan if she could borrow her blanket and Megan replied, "Sure, if your mom will give me the extra sleeping bag. AAagghhh! Now I'm either a terrible mom and a mean sister or a popsicle! I took the nice, warm sleeping bag and put it over Emma and her newbie neighbor, returned Megan's blanket and borrowed another extra sleeping bag. Unfortunately, this one was a mummy bag and unzipping it would have done nothing. I laid it sideways across Meg and I and told her to skooch in. She replied, "Hey did you remember to pick up hand warmers in town?" I swallowed  and said, "Yep." I handed her my extra pair of hand warmers (Sorry Megan, but it is true. I had bought myself two sets. I am awful!) 

I settled in, prepared to freeze. Luckily this was the warmest night so far. Thank Heaven! It was very cold, and I woke up a lot, but I did get some sleep and was comforted that the morning would involve taking down camp and heading home for a warm shower and a warm bed.

Aaahhww, girls camp!

7 comments: said...

btw, I'm not so good at "little blurb".

Darilyn said...

Oh my heck, this made me smile and laugh. I have been there, cold and in a darn mummy bag. I hate those things, they make me feel extremely claustrophobic. You are a champ. I'm seeing a family theme here though. Has Merilee told you how much she loved girls camp last year? I was sooo excited to have her there and thought she would love it. I couldn't have been more wrong. My biggest mistake was not insisting to be in the same cabin. I didn't want to come off jr. highish, "please, can i be in a cabin with my best friend?" {insert whining voice?} But it turns out I should have done that. If i had I'm sure her experience would have been a ton better.

How far away is your girl's camp? Why in the world would it be so cold there? said...

Mer and I were just talking about their trip to Utah and how cold it could be.
You definitely should have whined about staying together. It helps to share the torture. (Megan really hates to camp.)
Our camp is almost 3 hours away at almost 7000 ft. It's fairly close to Flagstaff.

megan said...

Mo, you're my hero! Thanks for giving up your extra hand warmers. Had I even thought about you being able to get them I would have given you some money to get me some. I slept so good that last night with the warmers between two pair of socks.

I love girls camp, I hate camping. In fact i may just have a baby so I don't have to go next year.

If this signs me in as Reuben, it really is Megan. I just don't want to change it

ducklips said...

That was fun to read. I remember it being freezing in Long Valley too. I also remember having some way that I kept extremely warm when everyone else was freezing. I'm pretty sure It was Bobby's trench coat over my sleeping bag, but I'm not sure.

Sarah, Three Boys said...

I remember camping in high school and it was so cold I was lying there waiting for it to be morning so I could get up and walk around:) AHH good times!

Teresa said...

Sooo...after all that, do you think you'll do it again?