Kathryn, Mandi and I have been friends since middle school. We survived the awkwardness of 8th grade, overcame the typical friend-fallout of freshman year, and graduated close as ever. After a year apart and being in different places for college, the three of us planned a weekend camping trip! Sometime the week before, we went grocery shopping and bought everything we would need for a fun weekend of hiking, swimming, camping, and catching up.
On Friday, July 7, we loaded all of our stuff into Mandi’s car and headed to Jasper, Arkansas. We stopped at Ozark Cafe, a really cute little restaurant not far from where we were planning on camping. They even had a veggie burger, which was very delicious. After we finished eating, we said goodbye to phone service and drove down what felt like a mountain. Mandi’s car, Rosy, somehow survived the trip, and we were excited and ready to get the weekend started!
We picked our spot, which had a triangle of perfect hammocking trees, and paid for our two nights. Then we got the tent out, ready to set it up in twenty minutes or less, which is what the bag says it will take. That was the beginning of our misadventures. We could not get the sides to stay connected, and it took all three of us to figure it out.
We finally had it standing and needed one more set of pieces to attach. No matter the amount of muscle I used, the pieces would not get close enough together. After some reworking, taking things apart, and reattaching, I finally got them connected and our tent was finally up! We put the rain cover on, preparing for the worst, and stepped back to enjoy our hard work.
Then we decided it was time to relax. We set up our hammocks- which might have taken longer than it should have- and sat around for a little bit, hanging from the trees. We talked and debated about what we should do next, then decided the lake was calling our names.
We changed into our swimsuits, then walked down to the lake! We swam for over an hour, and even managed to climb up a big rock and then jump down. We struggled to swim against the current after our rock jump- misadventure #2 of the day- but we survived our cardio workout and headed back to the campsite.
We changed again and decided to hang out in the hammocks again. We read our books and took naps, then got ready to eat dinner! We brought a bunch of snack food, but our main meals we planned on being peanut butter and jelly tortilla roll-ups, since they were quick and easy. We even brought squirtable jelly so that we didn’t have to dirty up as many knifes while making our meals.
But guess what we forgot to bring?
Mandi decided to bow out of her rollup dinner, but Kathryn and I braved the dirt and used our fingers to spread peanut butter on or tortillas. They tasted really good actually, so it wasn’t bad, but it still felt disgusting putting our fingers in the jar of peanut butter. We ate Oreos, pretzels, and chips and dip, then put the food up and broke out the cards!
After a long and thrilling game of ERS, which I rose from the ashes and finished in victory, we could hear thunder in the distance and decided to get some sleep. That of course didn’t last long, because we were all soon woken up by pounding rain, flashes of lighting, and rolls of thunder. Thank goodness for that rain cover. I’m not sure how much sleep the other girls got, but I laid in my sleeping bag, unable to sleep for a long time. My anxiety attack due to the storm didn’t help any. I was in and out of sleep all night, ready to run to Mandi’s car if the storm got bad enough.
We did survive the night, though, and rose with the sun to inspect the damage. The river had gotten too high in the night for our hike to be safe, since the trail crossed the river three times, so we tried to come up with another plan. In fear of more bad weather coming, we decided to pack up the camp site and leave before the end of the day. We had already paid for two nights at the site, but the cost wasn’t too high and we were too scared to try to sleep out another storm. We still planned on going hiking somewhere, though, but wanted to put everything up first.
One of the ropes we had used to tie up our hammocks was stuck on the tree, and because it was wet, we couldn’t get it off. We had the bright idea to use Kathryn’s dad’s pocket knife to loosen the knot, which resulted in misadventure #5.
The knife slipped and closed slightly, cutting Kathryn’s finger pretty deep. We quickly opened up our first aid kit and wrapped her finger in gauze, but she was in pain and understandably worried about all the bacteria we had already encountered in the woods. We made a unanimous decision to leave our camping trip early in order to get Kathryn home to her paramedic father who could fix her finger up.
We struggled to get the tent packed up back into the bag, then struggled to get Rosy up the mountain we had drove down less than 24 hours before. Somehow the car made it out, and we were on our way home again.
We stopped at Hollister Coffee Co. for some drinks, and Mandi and I played a board game to try to prolong our weekend as much as we could. We didn’t stay for long though, and before we knew it, we were back at my house, unloading all of our stuff and divvying up the mass amounts of food we had packed but never had the chance to eat.
Our camping trip may have been “cut” short, but we still had a blast getting to hang out together, living like Larry. The weekend definitely didn’t go as planned, but the best stories never do. Our adventures in misadventure will be memories we hold dear, even as we travel to different parts of the country this coming semester. I love you, girls!