Book Squirt

Outward Bound – Day One, Part One

This entry is part 1 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

**Just so you all know – I am mostly just writing this to preserve my memories. So I am sorry if it is not perfect grammar, or if some of it does not make much sense. :)**

I woke up Friday morning extremely nervous. I was going to be leaving my family for the first time ever, and I was NOT ready.

Cole, Mom, Dad and I were in a hotel room in Ashville, NC. We had gotten there late the night before so that we would be able to sleep in before getting to the airport (where everyone was meeting) by two.

Then Dad’s phone alarm went off. At 6:00. And I could not fall asleep again. So I got on my computer, worked on a blog post and took care of a couple of things that I had not gotten to earlier. By then it was 7, and the hotel breakfast was open. So Colter and I went down to the breakfast room. I tried to eat, but I could not get anything down. I think I had a half of a yogurt container, which is not enough for me. I knew I was going to be hungry later, so I grabbed a bagel and cream cheese to bring back to the room, and some coffee for Dad. Then Colter and I went back up to the room to drop off the food and get into our bathing suits.

The hotel pool opened at eight, so we took our time getting ready. We were down at the pool room by 8:10, ready to get into the water. I did some half-hearted swimming in the pool, and then decided to get into the hot tub. I was hoping that it would calm me down and help me relax. It helped a little bit, but not nearly enough.

I think it was around 10:00 when I decided that it was time to go back to the room and get ready. I was so nervous! I had just been talking to this nice guy in the hot tub about my trip, and all it had done was make me even more nervous. At least by then I had stopped crying – for the past week it seemed like all I had done was cry every time I thought about the trip. It was not like I was trying too… The tears just spilled out everytime I thought about it.

We went back up to the room and I took a nice hot shower, knowing that it would be the last one that I would have in two weeks. It would have been a really long shower, but we had to be out of the room in an hour, and I still had to finish packing up my stuff.

I got out of the shower and got dressed in my outward bound clothes. I regretfully packed my comfy cotton shorts in my bag, knowing that I would be wearing the “quick-dry” shorts for the next two weeks. And I don’t care what they say about quick-dry clothes – they never dry as fast as you want them too. Just sayin’.

We got in the Hulk and started driving to the airport. That was when I started crying again. I was starting to wonder when I was going to run out of tears, and hoping that it was before the rest of my crew got there. I knew that I was going to be the smallest, youngest kid there – I did not need to be known as a cry-baby on top of that. Mom kept trying to point out the beautiful scenery, but I could not appreciate it then. I had been able to appreciate it the day before, but then? I was too busy trying to cry all of my tears before we met the rest of my crew. ๐Ÿ™‚

We got to the airport at about 12. We still had two hours before we had to leave, so I had a feeling that we were going to be the first kids there. We walked through the door of the airport and saw a guy with an Outward Bound t-shirt on. We walked over to him and introduced ourselves, and a lady with a clipboard came over too us. We told her our names and she gave me a blue dot to stick on my shirt, and she gave Colter a yellow one. I looked around – there were two boys with a yellow dot sitting in chairs, but no blue dots yet. Mom and Dad told Colter to go over and introduce himself to his crewmates, but all he did was walk over and sit in silence with them. Honestly, I don’t blame him.

I kept watching Julie, the lady with the clipboard. There were a few more boys with yellow stickers, and then there he was. The first guy with a blue sticker. He looked big and shy, and my first thought was, “crap!” Actually, I don’t even remember why I thought that, I just think it is funny. Because looking back at my time with Kayce, I realize that I had nothing to worry about. ๐Ÿ™‚

The next person there for the blue group was a big, tall, blond guy. He went to the bathroom to change, and when he was on his way back Dad pointed at him. “You see that guy, Brett? His name is Robert, and you better make friends with him because he is the guy who is going to help you carry all of your stuff when it gets too heavy for you”. I shook my head at Dad and stayed sitting. I was not going over to where the blue group was sitting until I had a girl there. That was when Mom asked me if I was hungry. I told her no, and she dragged me over to buy some snacks anyway. I did not want anything -I actually had not eaten that bagel from the hotel breakfast. I was too nervous to eat anything. But, we got some chocolate covered pretzels and a granola bar, and I stuck them in my bag.

And then the first girl arrived.

It took me a few minutes to realize that she was actually on my crew. I saw the blue dot, but it did not actually sink in until Mom nudged me and told me to go sit by her. I felt like I was going to start crying again, but walked over to her anyway. She was sitting there texting someone, and I don’t think she really noticed when I sat next to her.

She looked up from her phone, and I held out my hand for her to shake. Her name was Maggie, and she was from Pittsburgh. We sat and talked about how nervous we were, and we agreed that we could be nervous together, and that we could cry together when we got homesick.

After that, I forget who came and when. We met one of our instructors, Katie, and we each talked with her about any last minute concerns. By then we only had 2 more girls that we were waiting on.

My crew was starting to know each other – we were all talking, laughing, and starting to have a good time. I kept looking over at Colter’s crew. They were all just sitting there. Actually, I think Colter was talking with one of the other boys. My crew and I agreed that we were going to have more fun then Colter’s crew, since we were only at the airport and already having fun. LOL

We had a girl whose flight was delayed, so we were at the airport till three. Once Tullia got there, it was time to go. Mom and Dad came to me, gave me a hug and said they were leaving, and left. I am surprised that I did not cry – I think it is because I did not have time to realize what was happening.

We got the two crews together in a circle, where Josh, (the course director) handed out some slips of paper with things on them that might happen that would make it hard for us. Things like “you get into camp and it is midnight” and “you have to hike over a 1/4 mile just to get water”. Then he told us a few other things, (that I don’t remember anymore…) and then it was time to load up in the 15 passenger vans. My crew put our duffel bags in the trailer, and then Colter’s crew put their bags in. There was only one trailer, but we were going to meet up with a truck for their duffel’s an hour or so after we left the airport.

I was sitting in the front seat with Maggie and Tullia. At first I was sitting right behind the driver, but then Maggie asked if she could sit there so she could sleep against the window. We switched spots, and Maggie and Tullia both fell asleep. I spent most of that car ride just listening to Luke and Bruce talk in the back seat.

We drove for an hour or so, and then stopped at a Food Lion (a local grocery store, kind of like Kroger) so we could get rid of Crew Nine’s duffels. Colter and I waved goodbye at each other through the car windows, and then we left. After that, I did not see anyone that I had known before Outward Bound, for 12 days.

Camp was still a good hour to an hour and a half away. I ate some of my chocolate covered pretzels and put the rest away for later. I sat and stared out the window, trying not to cry, looking at the gorgeous scenery. I listened to the conversations going on around me, and put in a few words when I thought the other’s might find it interesting.

At about 5:00, we made it to the mountain. We started going up the mountain and kept going. And kept going. And then there was a lady standing on the side of the road, waving and motioning for us to drive off the road onto this little trail. I honestly did not think that we were going to get on that trail with our fifteen passenger van and trailer, but apparently Gavin (the driver) is good at manipulating the trailer. ๐Ÿ˜€ He managed to get us through, and in about three minutes, we got our first look at our camp.

Two tarps set up in a clearing, with backpacks under them and piles of gear set around the clearing.

That was our camp.

We all got out of the van and stumbled into the clearing. (Literally – I tripped on my way in and almost fell. :)) There we got into a circle, (we were quick to learn that Outward Bound people like circles) and introduced ourselves. That was when we learned that our other instructor was the lady who had been waving, and her name was Jen.

**OK – that’s all I have time to write tonight. Hopefully I can get more written before next Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜€ **

Click here to read the next part of Day One.


Outward Bound – Day One, Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part one of my first day, click here.

After we had introduced everyone, we did some group exercises. I don’t remember what it was, I just remember it was something about being a team. Then it was time to start the “duffel shuffle”. Gavin (the driver) had pulled all of our duffel’s out of the trailer and placed them in a pile. We all grabbed our bags and went back to sit in our circle again. Then we all went over to the tarps to get the backpacks out from under them. We started sorting through our clothes, making sure everyone had what they needed. We sorted through everyone’s bug stuff, making sure that there was not too much DEET in them. (Mine did not have any DEET in it… :D)

Then we started packing things in our backpacks. It was amazing how little we put in! We had the clothes we were wearing, and we put a long sleeved shirt, long pants, a fleece jacket, a pair of long underwear, and extra socks in our backpacks. That was pretty much all we had in there! We put two pairs of clean clothes in the resupply bag, and left the rest in our duffels.

Then we took care of all toiletries. We each got our teeth stuff, a hairbrush, sunscreen, and bug stuff. No soap, shampoo, razors, or anything like that. At least I was able to bring some soap to clean my retainers with! (I feel like it gets them cleaner, and towards the end of the trip I was extremely glad I had a way to get them really clean).

Taking care of all of that took forever. It was starting to get dark by the time we were done, and we had not even had dinner yet! At least Katie had gone to make it, so we knew it was coming!

When we were done with the clothing it was time for personal gear. We each took two water bottles and labeled them, we each took out our spoon and bowl and labeled them. We made sure that everyone had different marks on their stuff so no one was mixing them up.

Once we were done with the personal stuff, then it was time to explain how to pee. I know I was embarrassed for this part, but I don’t think anyone else was. Towards the end of the trip, I started to not mind as much. Just a word of warning – I am going to be writing about this trip like it was. I want to be able to read this and remember exactly what happened. If talk of going to the bathroom bothers you, you might not want to keep reading my story. Just sayin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, it was time for the pee talk. Katie explained that you have to go 200 feet away from camp. (I honestly don’t remember why…) Then she told us all about the “pee rags”. Each girl had a bandana that she kept tied on the side of her backpack. The boys were warned to stay away from these bandanas at all cost. ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t really remember what happened next. But after whatever we did then, I am pretty sure we each picked a pile of food to carry. We stuffed them into our food bags, carefully identifying what kind of food we had, and which food bag was ours. I had something that did not weigh a lot, (don’t remember…) and my food bag was the orange one with the little purple patch on the bottom. That food bag was then mine for the rest of the trip.

I think after that it was time for dinner. We had already labeled our bowls, spoons and water bottles so we grabbed those and headed down to the kitchen. We were having Mac and Cheese for dinner, and everyone was so excited! We were all really hungry, since it was after 7:00 and we still had not eaten.

The Mac and Cheese was amazing! It was just the first example of how anything can be done in the wilderness with some hard work. ๐Ÿ˜€ We all really liked the food, just not the clean up part.

To clean your bowl, first you licked it clean or used your finger to clean it. Then you poured some water from your water bottle in it, and drank the water. It doesn’t sound that bad, does it? But I can tell you this – it was REALLY nasty when you had Mac and Cheese for dinner. All cheesy and greasy… *insert an involuntary shudder*

When we were done with dinner, I think we cleaned up and went to bed. I don’t remember exactly… It happened almost three weeks ago, and I can’t even remember what happened less then a week ago. That happens when I get really tired. ๐Ÿ™‚

I sat in my sleeping bag, listening. All of the other girls were in their sleeping bags next to me, Jen and Katie were setting up their tarp, the boys were all talking in their tarp. I sat up and looked to see if I could see the guys – they were being so loud! I could see a couple of headlamps under their tarp, but other then that I could not see anything. I lay back down and looked out from under the edge of the tarp at the stars. Since I was on the edge, I could see the stars pretty easily. The trees made it kinda hard in places, but from the clearing I was able to see quite a few. There were so many of them! They were beautiful.

I don’t think anyone (other then the instructors) slept well that night. I know I didn’t! The crickets were so loud, that even when everyone else stopped talking the noise was just so loud that I had trouble falling asleep. And then I woke up and had to pee, which was quite an adventure.

All in all, I think I managed to get around 5 or 6 hours of sleep that night. It’s not enough, but it was not bad for my first night of sleeping outdoors!

And now that I am looking back, I realize that overall it was a really good first day!

Click here to read the first part of Day Two.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Two, Part One

This entry is part 3 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part two of my first day, click here.

To see a picture the instructors took of us in our campsite, click here.

I woke up the second day to the crickets chirping (they were even louder than they had been the night before!) just in time to see the sun start peeking out from over the trees. Since everyone else was still asleep and I knew that I was not going to fall back asleep, I pulled out some postcards and wrote to Mom, Grandma and Grammy, telling them a bit about my first day.

Then Jen and Katie were moving around in their tarp, whispering and laughing as they started putting their stuff away. I put the postcards away – I could finish them another day. I started packing up my stuff, knowing that I wanted to be ready as soon as I could be. No need to be the slowest person to pack up!

Jen came around to wake us up by whistling. She was really good at whistling! A few of the girls woke up, and we were able to get the other girls awake. The other girls started putting their gear away, (sleeping bags, black foam mats, and clothes sacks) and getting dressed, so I got back to work. I had gotten an ok amount of sleep, the birds were singing, Jen was whistling, I could hear the other kids talkingโ€ฆ It was a pretty good morning.

It was made even better when I learned what was for breakfast. Bagels! I love bagels, and these were no exception. They were cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese and apple butter. It was delicious! And for a bonus? It tasted like real cream cheese, even though it was not. ๐Ÿ˜€

After we had cleaned out our bowls, (the water was not that bad this timeโ€ฆ :)) it was time to learn to poop and still Leave No Trace. Someone went and grabbed the poop bag, and we all walked pretty far away from camp. You had to poop far enough away from camp that you could not smell it from camp, and your poop spot also had to be far from water.

Inside the poop bag was one roll of special toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a folding shovel. The shovel had been named already – the first person to use the shovel on the course gets the honor. The name? Princess.

The boys protested. They wanted to call it Thor instead. But Jen insisted that Princess was it’s name, so Princess it was.

One of the things that was hard for me on this trip was that there was no privacy whatsoever. You needed to go poop? You had to ask around and find out who had Princess. You would get back and everyone would ask how your date with Princess went, and if you had had fun. That was a little funny, asking the guys how their date with Princess went, but it was also kinda embarrassing. All though, I think I was the only one who actually got embarrassed by anything there…

Once we were done with the poop talk, we went back to the sleeping area to split up the group gear. Katie asked us to each stand behind a pile of group gear. I chose a pile that looked like it did not weigh as much as some of the others. I did not want to take too much weight and make it harder on myself! I ended up with a tarp, extra strings, and the repair kit.

You know what I found out? Those tarps are surprisingly heavy! The repair kit and strings did not weigh that much, but the tarp was pretty heavy. But that was the pile I had stood with, so I was stuck with it! It did not really matter though- everyone else had pretty heavy piles too.

We each grabbed our group gear and dragged it up to where our backpacks were. We were taught how to load our backpack with craftsmanship. Then it was time for our compass and navigation lesson. We split up into two groups – one group went with Jen to learn about maps, and the rest of us went with Katie to learn about our compasses. We were told that we needed to have our compass and whistle with us at all times – even if we went to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I knew how a compass worked, but Katie taught us some of the ways we would be using it on our trip. Then my group went over to talk with Jen and learn about how a contour line works on the types of maps we used. (I don’t remember what the maps were called – I forgot about 30 minutes after Jen told usโ€ฆ)

When we were done with “Navigation 101” we put our backpacks on and learned how to tighten up the straps so it would fit comfortably and put the weight where our bodies would carry it best. I don’t think I learned very well – Jen had to help me adjust it later on in the day.

Then we decided to play a game of Ninja before we went out on the trail. I had Rebecca on one side, and Bobby on the other side (I thinkโ€ฆ). I was doing really well! Over half of the people were out, and only a couple of the people left had both arms. I still had both of mine, and then when I was talking to Bobby, Rebecca came and hit my arm so hard it gave me a bruise. LOL

So I had one arm left, and I managed to get one of Bobby’s arms. I think Rebecca got my other arm then so I was out, but I’m not 100% sure.

Later I was talking with Bobby, and he asked me why I was so good at Ninja. While we were playing the game, I had thought he was actually scared of me. Now I know that he was just playing. But back then I thought he was actually scared of me. Let’s just say I learned a lot about the kids on my crew by being with them for two weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚

I told him that I had five brothers and he just grinned at me. I don’t think he believed that was the reason I was so good at Ninja. Now I have to admit, it was probably the best game of Ninja I’ve ever played. But my brothers have taught me to always be on my guard, and I have gotten good at avoiding anything that might be coming at me – a punch, kick, or an arm that is trying to hit mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

After we decided that the game was taking too long and we were going to need to have a Ninja face-off later, it was time to go! I looked around at our campsite one last time – it had been a good place to start this trip.

As we marched down the trail, I prayed that our next campsite would be as good as that first one!

Click here to read the next part of Day Two.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Two, Part Two

This entry is part 4 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part one of day two, click here.

We hiked out from our campsite in good moods, ready to start our adventure. We hiked for about two minutes, and then we were at a road that we had to cross. We all lined up along the edge of the road, with Jen and Katie at the ends of the line. Jen and Katie called out “Clear!” after checking for cars, and we moved across the road in a line.

Then we started walking up the trail that was there, if you could call it a trail. It was more like a deer path. And it had a pretty good elevation change – I don’t remember what it was, but it was pretty steep! I was up close to the front – I think Bruce and Jen were the only two in front of me. We had not gotten far when we heard the first “Red Light!” of the trip.

This time it was because Jordann had fallen, and she was laughing so hard she could not get back up! She managed to get back up, and we started back up the trail.

I have no idea how far that first section of the trail was, but it seemed pretty far to me! I tried to just keep up, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. I only got caught on the thorns once, and I was able to get myself unstuck and catch back up to Bruce.

We reached the top of that little trail where it started going along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There was a huge retaining wall (it was way over my head)to our left, and a pretty steep hill to our right. So we stuck pretty close to the wall until it dropped down to probably about 2-3 feet tall. Then we climbed over it – at least, everyone else did. I got pulled over it. ๐Ÿ˜€

Then we had another road to cross. We did it the same way as we had crossed the first road, with everyone in a line along the side of the road.

Then we walked along the side of the road for a bit. The trail we were going to be taking started up in an parking lot somewhere ahead, so we did not have to worry about missing it.

I was just walking along, being amazed at the view. There were so many gorgeous views on this trip, and the crappy camera I had did not do them justice. But I took a couple of ok pictures, so I’ll include those with the proper day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The view walking next to the Blue Ridge Parkway

After a few minutes we made it to the parking lot. There were several cars parked there, and just past them was the trail. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know I was very happy to see that it was a proper trail, not like the trail we had just been on.

We took a quick water break there at the bottom of the trail. The water break became a longer break when several dogs and their owners came by. Every time we saw a dog we would stop for a bit and exclaim over the dog. (Everyone was missing their dogs, so they all wanted to love on the ones we saw on the trail.)

Taking a break. ย From left to right: Bobby, Maggie, Ben, Tullia, and Kayce

The road we walked next to, with the mountains in the background

After we started walking again, we only stopped 4 or 5 times for water breaks. I was a bit further back this time, since Luke and Bobby had gone ahead of me so they could talk with Jen. I’m not really sure what happened next – it all happened so fast! I just remember Luke down on the ground next to the trail, about to fall off the mountain. I remember that Bruce and Bobby had him by his ankle and his arms (I think that’s where they grabbed himโ€ฆ) They pulled him back up onto the trail and pulled him onto his feet. It seems that he had been stepping out of the way to avoid a bee, and he had gone a little too far. After he assured us he was ok, we started walking again. But I noticed that he was walking a bit closer to the uphill side of the mountain then he had before! ๐Ÿ˜€

We hiked for a good 2+ hours before stopping for lunch. It had been a busy day so far:

  • We had woken up at around 6:30 (I think thatโ€™s when everyone else woke upโ€ฆ I know I woke up at about 6:00).
  • We had packed up the camp, eaten breakfast, had the poop talk, and had our navigation lesson and were leaving the camp at about 10:00.
  • We had taken somewhere around an hour to get up that one trail, so we had hiked that until 11:00.
  • And then we had hiked for another two hours or so after we crossed the road.

So it was around 1:30 when we decided that we were going to get to the creek that was coming up before we ate. Everyone was getting hungry, and we were starting to run out of water. Lets just say that we were all really glad when we could hear the creek. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here to read the next part of Day Two.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Two, Part Three

This entry is part 5 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part two of day two, click here.

As the creek came into view, I felt like cheering. I was so hungry! We got to the edge of the water and people started dropping their packs, only to hear that we were going on a bit longer to find a good spot to eat. We groaned, but put our packs back on. We walked up the trail a bit and then cut straight up the hill to a little open spot. It was on a ridiculous slant, but it was mostly open and it was close to the water.

While the cooks started getting the food out, (we were having burritos!! :D) Luke and I took the water filtration bags, empty water bottles, and dromedaries (we also called them baby seals or droms) down to the creek. He and I were on Water Management that day, so we had to filter water when we could.

To filter water you had to fill up the filters with water from a creek. They strained out anything that might be in the water. Then you added bleach to the water. 1 drop for a bottle, three for a small baby seal, and five for the large baby seal.

We had to get down the creek – there were a couple of trees down across the creek that made it hard. And we had to get in the water but not get our boots wet, so that made it harder too. We managed to do it without slipping, (which was pretty amazingโ€ฆ) and we made it to where there was a little waterfall (a couple of inches), so we could fill up the bags easily.

When you had filled the filter bags with water you had to hang them up somewhere because it was gravity that made the whole thing work. So you hung it up high and let the water come through the clear, plastic hose into whatever you were filling up.

Once we had water filtering into the baby seals we went up the trail to where we were eating. We passed our bowls and got our food. It was so good! We got a tortilla, salsa, beans and lots of cheese. Actually, on this trip we got cheese at least once a day, if not twice. It became a crew joke, how much cheese we were eating. ๐Ÿ˜€

When we were done eating, Luke and I went back down to the water. We finished filling up the baby seals and water bottles, and we were ready to move down the trail again.

I don’t really remember what happened then. I remember there was a lot more hikingโ€ฆ

A couple hours later we came to another creek. Kayce helped Luke with filtering water while I got a “hot spot” (possible blister) on my foot taken care of. I actually felt sorry for Rebecca, who had the first aid kit in her backpack. We had to get it out to treat blisters so many times! It seems like we were taking it out at every break those first couple of daysโ€ฆ

We were still at the creek filtering water (I was done treating my blister by then) when all of a sudden a man came running down the trail ahead of us, barely slowed down to cross the creek and started running back where we had come from. I thought that he was insane – who would want to go running on a trail where he could hurt himself anywhere? I can tell you that I would never do that! I don’t have a problem with people who do, but I just think that is is asking for a hurt ankle or leg or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then some of the guys found some crayfish upstream, so they spent some time trying to catch them. Luke abandoned me to go join in the chase, and Kayce came back and helped me finish filtering the water.

It was pretty funny watching Bruce, Bobby, and Luke chase that crayfish all around the creekโ€ฆ They did not actually catch it, but they certainly tried! ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here for the next part of Day Two.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Two, Part Four

This entry is part 6 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part three of day two, click here.

We left the creek with full water bottles, ready to go again. We were hiking along at a pretty steady pace, not taking a lot of breaks. We did have to stop every once in a while, because Bobby would see a blackberry bush. And then he would stop walking and eat all the blackberries he could pick before someone would tell him to start moving again. ๐Ÿ˜€

Bobby eating blackberries.

I was never one of the ones who told him to get moving again – I was always glad for the breaks. I think my pack weighed about 40-50 pounds that day, which is almost or over half of my body weight! (I don’t weigh that much. :D) So the hiking was really exhausting me.

It probably did not help that my pack was not adjusted right! We were taking a break right before a big turn to the left, and I asked Jen to look at my pack. She pulled a couple straps, had me pull a few, and it felt A LOT better! The weight was sitting more on my hips, instead of my shoulders, the brain (top of the backpack) was not hurting my neck, and those two changes made a huge difference.

We started walking again. It got a bit easier for a little bit, and then got hard. I was having trouble keeping up, and there was a pretty big gap between me and Bobby.

What my view was supposed to be…

So I got put up in the front of the line, which was a lot of pressure. I felt like I had to go faster so I would not disappoint anyone, and I was just burning myself out. Katie (who was right behind me) told me to slow down, that it was ok to go a bit slower. I slowed down a bit and it was easier, but it was still really hard. I was able to keep going though!

We finally made it to the campsite! I was so happy – we had done it! We had completed our first hike with only a few small injuries. Mainly, blisters and bug bites. ๐Ÿ™‚ There were times during that hike (during the last bit) where I had thought I was not going to make it to the camp site, that I was going to need to take a break. But I was always able to keep going, and because of that we made it to camp and were able to eat dinner in the light! Eating and putting up tarps in the light was always a huge blessingโ€ฆ

We all got out our group gear and put it in the room of our “house” known as the “Gear-age”. AKA a certain area by a tree. ๐Ÿ˜€ The cooks grabbed the food, pots, fuel and the kitchen bag and went over to where we were cooking that night. I pulled the tarp out of my backpack and the girls and I walked over to the platform that we were going to be sleeping on that night. Yep, we got platforms that night! Some of the people did not like the platforms – I did not care. It was a place to sleep.

Since Jen was helping the cooks, Katie showed us how to do the tarp knots. There was only one knot, but it was not a very easy one, in my opinion. I don’t know itโ€™s proper name – we just called it the Four Knot.

We set up our tarp the best we could. The platforms made it difficult, since our tarps are rectangular and the platforms are square. And I did a horrible job with the knots – Sarah Margaret had to come and re-do my knots, since I could not figure out how to do it correctly. But we did our best, and we did not get wet that night!

The girls tarp the first night we set it up.

Now that I think about it, we probably did not get wet because it did not rain that night, not because we did a great job with the tarp. ๐Ÿ˜€

Ok, just kidding. We did a great job with the tarp, it was just that the platforms made it almost impossible to have a pretty tarp. ๐Ÿ™‚

Click here to readย theย next part of Day Two.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Two, Part Five

This entry is part 7 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part four of day two, click here.

Once the tarp was set up we grabbed our bowls and spoons, water bottles, foam mats (to sit on) and headlamps and headed for the “kitchen”, another room in our “house”. We set our stuff down and stood up for Dinner Circle.

For dinner circle, we all stood in a circle and held hands or linked elbows. I think everyone else preferred elbows, but I liked holding hands better. Because after our announcements and appreciations, and after the quote, we either squeezed hands or jerked elbows all the way around the circle. And if someone yanked on my elbow, it would pull me off balance. Plus, the people who I always sat next to were the tall ones, so linking elbows with them was not the most comfortable experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

After we had passed the movement the whole way around the circle, we all sat down again. You could bring your black foam mat (that you slept on) with you, or you could beg a seat on someone else’s mat. I brought my own mat most of the time, and I almost always shared it with one or two of the guys who had forgotten to bring theirs. (See, I was able to find a way to be prepared in the wilderness too! LOL)

We had a sort of stew with mashed potatoes that night, and I really enjoyed it! The mashed potatoes were really good, and the stew was not bad. And to make it even better, it was from my food bag, so it was less weight for me to carry! ๐Ÿ˜€

Once I was done eating I cleaned out my bowl, (it was nasty, greasy water again..) and headed back to the tarp to put my stuff away. I guess I did not see a root in the way, because the next thing I know I was down in the dirt, with my foot on its side in an extremely painful position. I hopped over to the girls platform and cried for a minute, holding my ankle. Then I tried putting a little bit of weight on it, and while it was painful, it was bearable. Then other people started coming back from the kitchen so I wiped the tears off my face and put on a smile.

After everyone had put their bowls in their food bag we took care of the bear hang. I stayed out of the way – I was too short to help much, and I just seemed to get in the way when I tried to help. So I stayed out of the way and gave everyone moral support. ๐Ÿ™‚

When we were done with the bear hang we moved over to the open space in the middle of camp and played a game. The game is called Essence, and it is a guessing game.

The person who is it turns his/her back, and the other players decide on another one of the other players to be the person “It” is guessing about. They have to all agree, and they can’t make any noise while doing this because then “It” will know who the person they are choosing is. It was really funny watching everyone point their fingers at various people, realize they were not going to get that person and point at another person who had more fingers pointing at him.

The round I remember most had Ben as “It” and I was the person everyone was pointing at. They all put their fingers down and told Ben he could turn around.

Then “It” asks one of the people in the circle questions about the person they had picked, in this case me. Essence was a really interesting game to play at that point in time, because none of us knew each other really well. Because “It” can not ask questions like, “what color hair does this person have?”

“It” has to ask questions like, “If this person went into a hat store, would they buy a propeller hat or a party hat?” (yes, this was one of the questions asked).

I think Ben asked Bobby that, and he answered propeller hat. Which is wrong – I would have bought something like a baseball cap. ๐Ÿ˜€ But if I had to pick between a propeller hat and a party hat, I would probably pick party hat.

After a few other questions, (like “would this person rather wear blue jeans and a t-shirt or party clothes?”) Ben turned to me and asked me a question. I think it was something like “Would this person rather tell people that they had won a million dollars or _____ (I forget what the other option was)?”

I thought about it for a minute, and said the million dollar one. I thought I did a pretty good job at concealing that it was me, but after two more questions Ben asked the crew if it was me.

I told everyone that they had done a pretty good job – I was definitely a blue jeans/t-shirt kinda girl, but I would NOT have picked a propeller hat. Bobby’s reaction to that was pretty funnyโ€ฆ He told me that he had me totally pegged out as a propeller hat girl, and that I had disappointed him. I just laughed at that. ๐Ÿ˜€

We played a couple of rounds of Essence, then it was time for Twilight Meeting. Since it was dark by then, Jen set up our “campfire” – a water bottle with a headlamp strapped to it. It made the whole water bottle glow, and sent a pretty glow around the circle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jen and Katie started off Twilight Meeting by telling us about how Outward Bound started, and explaining what the symbol means. The blue background with the white square on it is known as the “Blue Peter” flag, and it is the flag ships fly when they are going outward bound – leaving the known space, the safe harbor, the white square, for the unknown, the open sea, the blue background.

The Blue Peter Flag

They told us how, in 1967 a man named Kurt Hahn started Outward Bound to train sailors how to survive naval battles. Some of those sailors were younger then me! And they were getting killed right and left. So Kurt Hahn started a school to teach those sailors how to survive. And he did it, too! The sailors that went through his school were not quitters – they kept going no matter what.

There was more, but I can’t remember itโ€ฆ

After that we went to bed. I got the edge again, since no one else wanted it and I did not mind it. I actually thought it was nice to be on the edge -if you needed to pee in the middle of the night you were not crawling over people. ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, it was a great second day! I learned more about my crew, learned to trust them more, and had a pretty fun time while doing it, so that was a good thing. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here to read the first part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part One

This entry is part 8 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part five of day two, click here.

I woke up the morning of the third day and wrote in my journal.

Well, yesterday was our first whole day. I am so sore!! I mean, the pack weighs probably close to half as much as I do, and we hiked over four miles of steep mountain trails.

I felt so bad – I had to keep stopping everyone so I could get my breath back. And it seemed like every time we stopped someone would complain, saying that we should just keep on going, that they wanted to get to our campsite. At least everyone else appreciated the breaks! They did not say it, but I could tell that even the people who were complaining needed the breaks. But the complaining still made me feel badโ€ฆ

I think I am going to become good friends with everyone here. The guys are really nice! Luke gave me his trekking pole because I was having trouble. It helped so much! And then Kayce helped Luke with my water duty while I was getting my blister looked at. Bobby makes me laugh – some of the things he says are so funny! Ben is different from the rest of the guys, but not in a bad way. And I have not seen much of Bruce yet, but he seems nice enough! He made sure that I did not get whacked in the face with branches coming up that first hill, so that was really nice…

Before I could write anymore, it was time to get up and pack up all the gear. We got the tarp down, ย got most of our personal gear packed up, and then split up for our “roles” that day. I was on water again, this time with Maggie.

I think Jordan and Tullia came with us, and Rebecca might have as well. We grabbed the baby seals, the water bottles, and the red bag (with the filters and the bleach in it) and headed for the creek. On the way there my ankle started hurting again, but there was nothing I could do other then be careful about where I was putting my foot and being careful. I told myself I would tell Jen about it as soon as I caught up to them at the creek.

I got to the creek a minute or two behind the others. I had not lost sight of them, I had just fallen behind a bit. I got over to the creek and explained to Jen why I was behind them, and she told me she would look at it when we got back to camp.

We filtered the water quickly, because breakfast was waiting! We got back and I was surprised to see gear that was not ours sitting on the ground. A quick look around revealed that there were two ladies inspecting the different platforms, diciding which one they were going to sleep on. They decided on the platform Jen and Katie had slept on, and started setting their stuff up on it.

Then, I grabbed my stuff and headed over to the kitchen.

Click here to read the next part of Day Three

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Two

This entry is part 9 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part one of day three, click here.

I’m not 100% sure what we had for breakfast that day. (C’mon – I can’t remember two weeks worth of meals. I’m not THAT good! :D) But I think it might have been granola. That granola was amazing! There were apple bits in it, and it was so sweet and it was just amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVED that granola.

After breakfast I grabbed my food bag and headed back to camp. I set my stuff down and went over to where Jen was sitting with the first aid kit and anyone with blisters. We decided that we were going to keep my blisters covered, and then we moved on to my ankle.

Jen had me take both of my boots off and she compared my ankles. She said my hurt ankle was swollen, so she wrapped it in the crew’s ace bandage. She also said that she would have the crew take the group gear from my pack.

She called the crew together and asked who would like to carry weight for me. She did not mention me by name, and I don’t know if anyone else knew it was meโ€ฆ But when Bruce and Luke said they would, I thanked them, so they knew then. I went over to my pack and found the tarp, and the repair kit. I kept the extra strings – they did not weigh much and they were kind of annoying to have in your pack, so I figured I could keep them. I brought the tarp and repair kit over to the guys, and Bruce took the tarp and Luke took the repair kit. I thanked them and went back over to my pack and repacked it a bit.

Then Katie called us all into a circle. She said we were going to play another game. She told us all to think of someone (who was in the circle) in our heads. Then when she said go, we were going to stare at that person as hard as we could. If you thought of each other, and your eyes met, you were out. And you had to remember who you had gotten out with.

It took three or four rounds, but in the end we were all paired up. I was with Jen. Then Katie announced that we were going to be playing a game called Newlyweds. We had all just gotten married!

Katie explained the game better. You had to answer questions (that she would think up) about your partner. And as she was turning to leave, she said, “And I’m thinking up the questions, so tell each other crazy things!”

I knew I was not going to be good at this. When I get tired, I can’t remember anything. Like, if someone tells me something to tell everyone else, when I go to tell everyone else (five minutes later), I can’t remember a thing I was supposed to tell them! That’s how bad it was.

So I told Jen that I would do my best, but I could not remember things. She said that was ok, we would just do our best.

Then we all put our packs on and stood together for our first group photo!

The crew, ready to leave camp!

(Jen and Katie have a better quality picture up on the NCOBS FB page. It’s larger, so you can see everyone’s faces better…)

Once we were done taking pictures with the 6 or 7 different cameras (including mine) that had been shoved at Jen when she announced that she was taking a picture, we left! We said goodbye to the ladies, (remember them from the last part?) and walked away from the sleeping area, past the kitchen, and back onto the trail, mostly ready to start again. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Three

This entry is part 10 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part two of day three, click here.

We hiked for what seemed forever. I started out near the back, with Jen. Everyone was talking, asking their “newlywed” partner questions random questions. Like, really random.

ย “If you were a creature from a myth, what would you be?”

“If you could be a character in a movie, what movie and who would you be?”

“How old were you when you lost your first tooth?”

“If you could learn any language in the world, what language?”

“If a famous singer was going to write a song about you, who would it be and what kind of song would it be?”

And then there were the not so random questions.

“How many pets do you have?”

“Are you a cat or a dog person?” (I think everyone on my crew except me was a dog person. :D)

“How many siblings do you have?”

“What is your favorite TV show?”

“What is your favorite food?”

ย I warned Jen that we were probably going to lose, since I was not going to be able to remember anything she told me. When I am tired, things go in one ear and right out the other. I don’t even realize that it is happening, until someone asks me a question. Then I realize that I have completely forgotten whatever they were saying about 4 minutes ago. It’s not good, but I have not figured out a way to fix it yet. ๐Ÿ™

After we had hiked for a couple of hours, we made it to where we were going to be eating lunch! It was a good thing – I was really hungry that day. It was also where we were going to be doing our first service project. We dropped our packs and looked around the place for a minute. There was a little clearing, and a shelter overlooking a cliff. Next to the clearing was an area of trees with spaces in front of them, with a bit of litter. There was also some brush on the other side with even more litter. When we were done looking around, most of us went and crashed in the shelter, glad for a break.

At that point, whoever was on food that day was getting it out. They were setting up the kitchen in a little clearing away from the shelter, so I grabbed my bowl, spoon, water bottle, and black mat and headed over there. I set my stuff down and headed back to the shelter. I asked Katie about something I could use to get the splinter in my finger out, since it was started to get infected. We disinfected a safety pin and I picked out the splinter, which took a while. By the time I was done with that, lunch was ready. I disinfected the safety pin again, put some triple antibiotic ointment on my finger, and walked over to the kitchen.

Lunch that day was simple – peanut butter and honey on Pita bread. It was not that bad!ย  It made me laugh though, because from what I remember most of us were not having plain peanut butter and honey. Some of us were adding cinnamon, (that was meโ€ฆ :)) and some of us were adding things like Texas Pete (hot sauce) and garlic powder. Honestly, I think that was disgusting. Everyone who tried it liked it though!

When we were done with lunch we cleaned up, and went back to the shelter. Jen and Katie asked who had the trash bags, and Luke pulled them out of his pack. Our first service for our trip was going to be cleaning up this campsite, picking up all the litter.

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Four

This entry is part 11 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part three of day three, click here.

We spent about a half an hour picking up the litter around the shelter. We were surprised – we had been told that there was a ton of trash, and there was barely any! Jen looked out over the cliff, saw a bunch of trash on a ledge off to the side, and took Luke down there to get that. There still was not that much, so we kept looking.

Then Katie saw some trash under a little rock overhang. There was an insane amount of trash in there! She and Jen spent twenty minutes getting all of the trash out from under there. They even had to get long sticks, because their arms could not reach to the back of the cavern. They used the sticks to pull the trash from the back, and then they would toss it over their shoulder to us.

(You can see a picture of them pulling the trash out here.)

After they had gotten all of the trash out, it was time to move on. We still had a lot of ground to cover! Jen asked who was going to carry the two trash bags, and we all just looked at each other. I don’t remember who ended up carrying them, because they were switching back and forth and no one had them for too long.

We started hiking. Past the shelter, past the rock ledge that had been hiding all of that trash, past the kitchen where we had eaten, and back out onto the trail. I was in the lead, since I was being the slowest. My ankle was still really bothering me, and it was affecting my pace.

We had been warned that morning that there were going to be ladders. We had been warned at lunch that they were coming up. But I was not ready to turn a corner in the trail and see a huge ladder going up over a rock slab.

Jen and Katie told us what we were going to be doing, and as soon as they were able to the guys were at that ladder. I let them pass me – I did not need to be the first up there! I was really starting to freak out about it. I was so small, and I had a huge pack on my back, and I was sure that my pack was going to pull me down off the ladder once I had gotten a little bit up there and I was going to get hurt.

When it was my turn, I climbed up the little ledge leading to the ladder, crouched the way they said would work best, and started climbing. I found that if I kept my back at a certain angle, it did not pull me away from the ladder as much. It was still pulling me down though, and it was tough making it over those last couple of rungs. It did not help that the rungs were so thick – they were about as thick as two or three 2×4’s stacked together. I could not get my hands around them, which made it easier for my hands to slip. I was able to keep my grip though, and got up to the top two or three rungs. There I was going to have to get off the ladder, and I started freaking out again.

The second to last rung was level with the ground, and I was going to have to step over the top rung. I started shuffling my feet, trying to get my body in the best position possible to make it over that rung. Bruce (who was waiting at the top) told me that I could do it, that he was not going to let me fall. I managed to get the first foot over the top rung and not fall over backwards. So far, so good. I tried to get the other foot over, almost made it, almost fell onto my face, and grabbed at Bruce so I wouldn’t.

He pulled me back up to my feet and I walked over to where all of the other guys were standing. They congratulated me on getting up, and then continued talking about how awesome that had been, and how excited they were to do another ladderโ€ฆ

I ignored them. I decided that I was NOT going to think about having to do any more ladders, and I was going to pray that God would make the rest of the ladders easier then this one. Since I had handled this one, I was going to be fine on the rest of them if they were easier!

The next one was one of the hardest.

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Five

This entry is part 12 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part four of day three, click here.

The next ladder had two pieces to it. There first section was at about a 75 degree angle, and the other was probably a 45 degree angle. You can kind of see it in the bottom of this picture that Jen took.

I was starting to freak out again. I decided that I really, really, really hated ladders, and that I was never going to climb one (with something other then myself), ever again. I was the second to last crew member up this ladder – Maggie (the blond girl in the photo) was the spotter, so she was the last.

I started climbing up the first section. It was not much harder then the first ladder we had climbed. Then I got to the second section and stopped for a second to see how I was going to get into the position that the second part required. I was going to have to mostly crawl, but my knees could not go on the rungs. So it was this weird pose with only your feet and hands actually touching the ladder.

I’m not really sure how I managed to get up over the second half of that ladder. Maggie and Bruce were really supportive of me, telling me that I was going to make it, that I was doing just fine, and that they were not going to let me fall. Bruce told me I just had to get up to him and he would help me get off the ladder. That helped a lot, knowing that there was someone waiting to pull me off. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think that this was when I finally started trusting my crew. I had been struggling with trusting my crew. It’s not their fault, it was all in my head. But climbing over those ladders, I realized how much I needed to trust them. Because if I was going to be spending two weeks in the woods with them, I needed to know that they had my back. And I also needed to be there for the rest of my crew, ready to help them when I could.

I got to the top, where I had to step over the top rung again. Bruce pretty much pulled me over that rung and kept me from falling flat on my face again. ๐Ÿ˜€ I thanked him and headed up the trail a bit to where everyone else was standing.

As soon as Maggie and Jen were up the ladder, we started again. I think there were one or two more ladders then, but I can’t remember exactly.

Then we came to these big rocks standing right where we needed to go, with no ladders. Katie asked who had the “bear hang” rope, and whoever it was pulled it our. Then Katie took the rope, took her pack off, and climbed up the rock to fasten the rope for us.

Katie climbing up to fasten the rope.

*Now that I think about it, this might have been before the ladders. I’m not really sureโ€ฆ*

We started climbing it, using the rope to pull our bodies up. The guys practically ran up those rocks – the girls took it a little slower. I actually went faster then I thought I would, because it was pretty easy. But while I was climbing it, my trekking pole broke! This was a big deal for me, because without the trekking pole I was going to go even slower. It is amazing how much those things help. Especially when your ankle is hurting, because you can put a lot of the weight that you would normally put on that foot, on the trekking poles.

Katie decided that it was not going to get fixed, and told me to put it in my backpack. I went over to Luke, who was standing right there. I held the poles out and said “Luke, can youโ€ฆ” He cut me off and said that Dora broke the pole, Dora had to carry the pole. I asked him if he would just stick it in my pack for me, and he did it.

Oh yeah – Dora was my nickname. ๐Ÿ™‚

Apparently Luke bestowed that name upon me because I was short, I wore a purple shirt, I had khaki pants, and I had a huge backpack.


I don’t remember when that started, but I do remember that we would start hiking every morning, and almost everyday someone would start singing the Dora the Explorer theme song. And there were constant references to Dora. And when Luke asked me if I knew Spanish, I knew exactly why he was asking. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Six

This entry is part 13 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part five of day three, click here.

With my broken trekking pole put away, I was free to look around. We were standing in a little (emphasis on little) clearing, with trees and rocks surrounding us. To my right was a big pile of rocks. It seemed that Bobby wanted to climb those rocks, but he had been told that it was his job to make sure everyone stayed right there and did not go wandering off. ๐Ÿ˜€ I had to keep reminding him not to leave while we waited for everyone else. Then he said he had to go to the bathroom, so I get stuck telling everyone that we all had to stay in the tiny clearing. LOL

By the time Bobby was back, we were all up there. We had all dropped our packs, so we were all just sitting on our packs waiting for the last people to get back from going to the bathroom. Then Jen and Katie told us we could go up over those rocks. I moved to the side just in time – I would have been knocked over by all the guys charging from behind me. ๐Ÿ˜€

Ok, just kidding there.

Mostly. ๐Ÿ˜€

When I got up there I was amazed! The view was so gorgeous! I remember turning to Jen and saying that it was amazing, and seeing her just nod her head.

View from the rocks.

View from the rocks.

*Let me just say, the cameras don’t show half of the beauty. You really have to go out there and see it with your own eyes. :)*

Once everyone had gotten enough pictures of the view, we gathered for a group photo. Rebecca and Tullia are not in this one, since for some reason they did not come up there for awhile.

From left to right. Standing: Ben, Kayce, Bruce, Me, Maggie, Jordan, Sarah Margaret. Sitting: Luke, Bobby

Everyone reluctantly put their cameras away so we could climb down from there. There were a lot of people looking back as they left, hoping to catch one more glimpse of the beauty around us.

I left those rocks, blown away by the beauty I had seen. And completely unprepared for what was going to come next.

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Seven

This entry is part 14 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part six of day three, click here.

We hiked out from the rocks ready to go on. The next part of our journey would bring us to one of the peaks of Grandfather Mountain!

It was pretty hard – there were some rocks that were over half as tall as me, so trying to get up those, (even with the trekking pole I borrowed from Maggie) was really hard. The others had a hard time with it, but they were also taller then me. I think that was what made it easier on them – the fact that their waist was always taller then the rock and half of the time their knees were too. The rocks were almost always over my knees for this part.

But I managed to get myself up there, and I was not slowing the crew down too much! That was always a bonus, when that happened. It did not happen that often, so when it did it made me really happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

We kept climbing, and soon enough it leveled out a bit more. Actually, I think it just seemed like that because there were no more of those big boulders. That made such a huge difference!

Just hiking, hiking and more hiking. Then all of a sudden, we were standing on a bunch of rocks at the edge of a cliff! My crewmates who were in the front shouted that we had reached the summit and everyone cheered. We were so happy to be there! We had finally made it!

View from Grandfather Mountain.

One of Grandfather Mountain’s other peaks.

Like I said before, the pictures don’t do it any justice. I wish I had brought a better camera – Colter got the better camera, and he broke it. LOL

We all just stood around and stared for a minute. Katie told us that we had to stay one body length away. Like, if someone were to lay down with his feet at the very edge, we had to stay past his head.

Someone asked if they had to stay their body length away from the edge, or my body length.

I donโ€™t remember who it was, I just remember that I glared at that person for the next couple of hours, whenever they looked at me. ๐Ÿ˜€

Ok, not really. By then I knew that I was going to be teased about my height, and I had decided to mostly accept it. LOL

Then the girls decided that they were going to get a girls picture at the top of the mountain.

Left to right: Maggie, Sarah Margaret, Tullia, Jordan, Rebecca, Me.

In case you couldn’t tell, we could not decide whether we were doing silly faces or not. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m not sure whose arm that is, and that is Luke’s head behind my elbow.

The beauty was unbelievable. I wish I could find the words to describe it, but I can’t. It was just so gorgeous – and I had thought that the view from the rocks before was amazing!

Jen told us that we had to get moving if we wanted to get to our campsite before dark. We reluctantly shouldered our packs and started move out. At least, we thought we were. Then someone remembered that someone was going to the bathroom down the trail we needed to take to get down the mountain.

We waited for a minute, and then whoever it was came back. (Just another detail I don’t remember. :)) We all stood back up and got ready to move down the trail. Then out of the blue Bobby asked me to take his picture at the summit. I guess he wanted a picture with just himself, and waited for everyone else to leave? I told him we had to hurry and pulled my camera out.

I put this picture in so you could see the trash bag, not because it was a great picture. ๐Ÿ™‚ That was the smaller of the two bags. The majority of that trash came from the hole in the ground.

Bobby on the top of the mountain with the bag of trash in his hand.

Then Bobby and I started down the trail at a fast pace, trying to catch up to everyone else. It didn’t take long – when we caught up to them the rest of the crew was standing still, waiting to get over our next obstacle.

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*

Outward Bound – Day Three, Part Eight

This entry is part 15 of 209 in the series Outward Bound

To read part seven of day three, click here.

Our next challenge was a short ladder, nothing bad. I donโ€™t think it was even 6 feet long, so compared to the others we had done this was a piece of cake! The only problem? We had to go down it. Not up it.

Going down a ladder with a heavy pack on your back? Not the easiest thing I have ever done. Not the hardest either, but definitely one of the harder ones.

Since I was in the back of the line, I had to wait awhile. It was taking at least 4 or 5 minutes for each person to get down the ladder, and I was at the back of a 13 person crew. I took a couple of pictures, but put the camera away after a bit because I was not getting any good pictures.

Once we were all down that ladder, we started moving again. We had only been walking for about three minutes when we had to stop again. This time it was not a ladder – it was just a big rock that you had to climb over. And on the other side was a four foot drop. You could climb down the rock, (there were a few handholds) or you could jump. I climbed it. Or at least, I tried too.

This obstacle took even longer then the ladder. We were all told to drop our packs and line up to get down the rock. Bruce and Jen went down first, and they helped everyone else down. When the first half of the group was down there, they asked us to bring the packs up and pass them down. Because I was in the back, I carried most of the packs up. I did make Luke, Kayce and Bobby come get theirs – they were too heavy for me. I could lift Luke and Bobby’s packs about an inch off the ground, but I couldn’t budge Kayce’s pack!

I grabbed my pack and headed back to the rocks. My pack was passed down, and I went down after it. I was able to get about halfway down before I was stuck – my feet could not reach the next ledge. I donโ€™t remember how I got down after that – either I jumped, or Bruce helped me. I do remember that I went to get my pack on and could not get up again – Bruce had to pull me to my feet. LOL

We lined back up and moved out. If I remember correctly, the going was pretty easy for a while there. It was going downhill gradually, with a nice even trail. Not very many rocks or roots, which was always a nice thing. After I hurt my ankle, I was always very careful of the rocks and roots, because they made it very easy to twist my ankle, which just hurt it more.

Then the trail got a bit steeper, so I had to be more careful. And then we were walking over rocks that (kinda) formed steps, but they were also wobbly. Thankfully despite the trail I was able to keep up, even though I was tiring quickly.

Then we came to a trail junction, and apparently the LOD’s (Leader of the Day) did not know which way we were supposed to go. So I sat down and took a break. I did not participate in the argument debate about which way we needed to go – I just sat down and rested so I would be able to continue hiking.

When the rest of the crew had decided which way we needed to go, I pulled myself to my feet and started moving again. I really wanted to just take my pack off and curl up in a ball, but I had to stay with the crew.

We walked for another 15 minutes to a half and hour. And then a cheer came from the front of the line – “We made it!”

We walked into the campsite and sat down in “pack circle”. For pack circle, everyone had to sit down in a circle and we talked for a minute before splitting up to take care of “EGGS”.

Essentials – going to the bathroom, getting a drink, etc.
Group – taking out all of the group gear and piling it up.
Group – taking care of setting up tarps, getting dinner going, filtering water, etc.
Special – Umโ€ฆ We never had anything “special”. LOL

On this particular night, I took care of my essentials, and then started unloading the group gear from my pack. Which means, I pulled the extra strings out and threw them on the pile. ๐Ÿ™‚

Click here to read the next part of Day Three.

*Everything here is from my own memory and may not be correct. Outward Bound is not responsible for anything I post here.*