I went camping over the weekend with ABA, my business club. It was a Cabinet-only retreat, sort of an opportunity to bond with the people I’ll be working with in the club this semester. And bond we did. I guess being miserable in the cold with no comforts and an eleven mile hike do wonders for bonding. More on that hike later.
We left Friday afternoon and drove to Santa Cruz. Our campsite was at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Helped set up the tents, unpacked my stuff, and explored a little around our two camp areas. I immediately noticed two things: first, it was COLD. Second, the bathrooms were far, far away. Walking to them will not be fun.
We eat dinner and sit around the campfire afterwards while the officers held one-on-one committee meetings. It was at this time that I realized something remarkable – that technology was the culprit for extending our day and keeping us up late at night. There was absolutely no electricity, and even though we chatted around the fire, I couldn’t help but feel really, really tired, because it was so dark.
We ate some s’mores. Delicious. Hadn’t had them in a long time. Raccoons start to show up, and one of them steals a bag of our marshmallows. I follow the trail of marshmallows, find the bag, and take it back. These raccoons are pretty persistent. They get into our tents by unzipping them, and whenever we’re not looking, they drop by the table and steal some food.
We play some mafia afterward, and sleep in the big tent. Big day tomorrow.
I wake up the next day, a Saturday, with my feet feeling numb from the cold. Note to self – wear two pairs of socks to sleep. It’s cold.
Today is our big day. We eat breakfast and hit the trail. The day is pretty nice: it’s not too sunny, but it’s not that cold and it isn’t rainy. So we start our hike. The scenery was beautiful, with lush redwood trees, streams, and waterfalls.
The only animals we see are banana slugs. Someone remarks that I should try it…maybe they taste like bananas. No thanks.
We continue our hike. The first few miles weren’t that bad. Then the uphill climb hit. That’s when it got tiring.
After a few hours, we end up in front of a beautiful waterfall, where we enjoy our lunch. We continue our trek – uphill, downhill, through bushes, mud puddles.
Soon, we stop at another waterfall. This one looks amazing, like it’s straight out of a painting. We take some group pictures there.
Even though I’m getting exhausted, I’m having a blast with the ABA Cabinet. We constantly chat and encourage each other. We poke fun and try to scare each other by jumping out from trees. It was fun.
By four o’clock, we are nearing the end of the trail. We passed the end mark, and I can’t describe the feeling of accomplishment that followed. I was proud of what we did as a group – an 11 mile hike on the hardest trail in the park, totaling six hours.
Absolutely exhausted, we head back to camp, where I fall asleep the instant we get there.
The spaghetti dinner was delicious, and afterward, we have committee updates and affirmations. We each make short speeches, thanking and encouraging our co-chairs.
The next day, we wake up, pack, and head back to Berkeley. My thoughts on this camping trip: as a first time camper, I have to say I had a fun time. What made it better was that I felt that I learned so much more about the Cabinet members. Through the exhaustion and the lack of technology, we had the opportunity to bond and talk to each other. I’m definitely looking forward to the 2o1o spring semester of ABA.
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