last week two guys from our youth group in chicago took the bus out to philly which probably took about 15 hours. nate planned on taking them rock climbing, camping, steaks, water ice, etc. they also wanted to go up to nyc and DC which made for a pretty activity packed week we themed ‘americana’. they learned how to pitch a tent, build a fire, sleep in the woods, lie awake in the woods, follow a hiking trail, run for their lives, climb a vertical stone wall, order steaks philly style, order a hoagie from wawa and hit the bulls eye on a paper target with a rifle. they played pick up soccer in the middle of the city, walked a million blocks in nyc, were assailed by times sq, ate dinner from a food cart, walked the national mall, mistook the capitol for the white house (my fault) and witnessed the difference between caucasian and asian families.
if nate had a choice, he would live in the wild. he would create a shelter and live off the land. he made friends with all these people here who are equally keen on the wilderness. we finally pinned down dates and location and set off. nate does not generally plan. favorite mantras include “play it by ear” and “let’s see what how we feel”. except when it comes to camping. the past several weeks he’s researched camp sites and hiking trails, he sent out a packing list, planned balanced meals and coordinated between everyone. we set off with a 40% chance of rain, hoping for the best. the campgrounds were along the delaware river, so we picked a campsite on top of a small bluff with steps leading down to the banks of the river. we pitched our tents and began to prep dinner, only to realize that there were only twigs and bark chips to feed our fire. i guess the supply was depleted over the summer, so we decided to venture further away from the camp sites. we managed to find a couple small trees and stuffed them into the car. dinner was hot dogs along with southern style baked beans and carrot sticks, dessert was s’mores and ‘banana boats’ – s’mores crammed into a banana, wrapped in foil and buried in the embers of the fire until banana, chocolate and marshmallows ooze together in one fluid mess. the rain held off except for a quick drizzle, so we managed to sit around the campfire until night fell. the schedule had us starting our hike early the next morning, so we decided headed to bed. soon after we were settled in our tents rain drops began to fall, then torrents began to fall and i thought the tent was going to collapse on us.