The second day of girls camp came quite early. Marci and I got a jump start on the bathrooms, (EmilieAn stayed zonked in bed) before the crowds came. We were there before 5am, taking a shower (yeah for indoor bathrooms!) and getting ready. We woke the girls up at 6am and got them going. (I didn't sleep most of the night...too worried about the girls, safety, and my mind wouldn't quit...so I was relieved when it came time to get up.) After breakfast and a few morning activities, we all went on a hike for a few hours.
They kept trying to hitch a ride, but there really weren't any cars that came their way. Guess they had better keep on hiking!
Along the way, we had ample time to stop and play in the trees or on rocks...
We hiked up the road to the entrance of Camp Joseph, and took a picture under the sign.
We also played lots of games, halfway through our hike. We played "big bootie" and "bunny bunny" and a few other games that the girls knew of. They provided lots of laughs and entertainment. This afternoon was probably one of my funnest memories of the week.
After we were finished with hiking, the girls had a lot more camp-wide activities and certifications that they were involved with. Later in the night, we made a campfire and cooked orange cakes and orange brownies over the coals (an idea from pinterest) and it was super yummy. (Kamy and the other girls liked playing in the smoke of the fire, pretending they were in music videos.)
While our treats were cooking, we had a great "dating panel" discussion with the girls, where they asked us questions (myself and three other leaders, including a dad of one of the girls) about relationships, marriage, dating, and whatever came to mind. It was an amazing time and I think everyone really loved it, and was sad to see it end.
It had to end when we were pulled into another camp-wide activity, involving the theme of camp, which was Temples. At this point, it was after 9pm and every girl had a flashlight. We all walked down to the amphitheater grove area and went group by group to different stations where someone talked about a specific temple. They included pictures, personal stories, and historical information. It was quiet and reverent and a perfect setting to bring in the spirit and feel the love and blessings that await each of the girls.
After all the groups had rotated through, they all came together and had a little slide show of all the temples. At this point, my back had been hurting pretty significantly, and I wanted to go back up to our campsite and sit down. (I tweaked my back the week before and for a few days, couldn't even walk. It was better by the time camp started, but I was still having difficulty walking, stepping, sitting, and in general, just moving around. I walked hunched over like an old man half the time...very comical, but ouch...I hurt!)
So, I grabbed Marci (our camp leader) because we aren't supposed to go anywhere alone at night (bears frequent our area) and told her I needed to go back to camp. She came with me. We went to camp, cleaned up some stuff from the brownie/cake oranges, sacked up the garbage, and went to take it to the pavilion. On the way was our assigned bathroom, and I went to separate myself from Marci so I could go to the bathroom, but then I thought: Nope. Stay together.
I was walking right behind Marci, just to the side of her, with barely any space between us. She looked back at me and started to say "Why are you so far back?" and noticed I was practically in step with her. She said "Oh, I thought you were way back there because I heard you walking from far away." Then she turned around again, and that's when she saw something moving behind us (remember, at this point it's about 11pm and very dark). She said.."Uh, stay by me and hurry!" So we hustled the rest of the way to the pavilion and shut ourselves in the kitchen.
I looked at her and said "What happened?" She said she saw something and heard something and thought it was a bear. So we eased our way out the back door where we could see our bathroom about 40 feet away, and our camp was beyond that. We thought it looked clear and tried again to get to the bathroom, but then Marci saw something again in the trees, heard the gravel and sticks crunching under the weight of something...so we again hurried back to the safety of the pavilion.
At this point, we begin seeing a line of light, coming from the direction of the amphitheater, where all the girls and leaders (about 200 people) are coming back from the activity. They are making noise and shining flashlights everywhere, so we knew they all were safe.
When we met up at the bathroom with all of our girls, we told them all to stay together, have a buddy, and make noise! We were very serious and although didn't want to scare them about telling them about the bear possibility, we wanted them to know to be extra careful.
Back at camp, when everyone was in their tents and ready for bed, Marci and I breathed a sigh of relief. We told EmilieAn (who was in our tent too) about what Marci saw/heard, so she could be prepared as well.
The other two leaders went to sleep quickly, but again, I laid there wide awake, wondering and worrying and thinking and getting annoyed that I wasn't sleeping like them. I dozed off every now and again, but found myself awake a lot.
It was on one of those wide-awake moments...that the bear came.
(how's that for ending this post? More to come!)