I don't know if I've ever revealed this or not...but I have the coolest small group ever.
This past weekend, we went on a camping/canoeing trip together.
This marked my second time to camp, my first time (and most likely, my last) time to canoe.
We stayed at The Eagle's Nest in Noel, MO. Our camp site was beautiful, but with a road close by, railroad tracks, and a nearby cow field...sleep was pretty much futile. BUT there was a bathroom, like right there, so I was cool with the loss of sleep.
We walked down to the Elk River from our campsite and practiced skipping rocks.
For dinner, we heated up some burgers, hot dogs and ribs over the fire. For dessert, we had s'mores. It was pretty warm during the day, in the 80's, but the night we camped got pretty chilly. That's another reason I didn't sleep well, but again, I was ok with it because there's something so fun about sleeping in a tent and feeling the cool evening air all night long.
By the way, I don't particularly care for s'mores because of the marshmallow part. But I still ate one because duh I was camping and that's just what you do.
Something neat about our campsite was the plot number we pitched our tent on. Number 61. For reasons that go all the way back to high school, 61 is my favorite number. How cool is that?!
The next morning, we got up around 6:30 (to the sound of a train) and had a breakfast of eggs and bacon. We walked down to the river to mess around, then we took our tents down.
Then the canoeing adventure began.
Let me just say, I am dang proud of myself. I'm proud of all of us, but considering it was my first time and I have a very unhealthy fear of water, I'm super proud that I didn't wuss out.
Eight miles down the Elk River in 2.5 hours (and that includes stopping halfway to eat soggy sandwiches).
I almost cried, almost had a panic attack. The two non-swimmers wore life jackets...
But I found my comfort in sitting on the floor of the canoe as opposed to the seat. I didn't feel like I was going to fly overboard as much with the walls surrounding me. After my panic subsided, I got into the groove of paddling and actually did quite well.
The Elk River was beautiful!
And minus the drunk people that so rudely squirted us with water guns and that one time we almost tipped...I ended up having fun.
Oh, yeah, we ALMOST tipped. In choppy, deep water that carried us straight towards a fallen tree. We had to completely duck to avoid getting decapitated by the fallen limbs. Upon rising back up, we realized we were about to tip, I prayed "Lord!!" out loud, followed by a choice word as my oar got ripped out of my hands and my life flashed before my eyes.
A nice boy scout in a kayak saved my oar and brought it back to me.
Thankfully, this near-death experience happened towards the end of our adventure. Once we got back to shore and all the canoes from our group returned, we learned that one of our friends' whole family tipped in the rapids that almost tipped us. They lost everything out of their canoe, but the husband was able to swim and retrieve it all. Well, all except for my friend's flip flop, but that floated downstream to us eventually.
Needless to say, after all the drama and excitement, we were exhausted and just ready to get home and shower.
One thing's for sure, you don't go on a trip like this and not grow closer to the people you share in the experience with. I absolutely love this group of people and I'm go glad I could be a part of these memories.