After the devotional we packed up for our hike. Kristy had to speak to the stake leaders so I went along with her. She was asked to help run the hike and we quickly packed up our lunch and ran to catch the girls as they went on their hike. We hiked up past the amphitheater and headed right up the mountain, quite literally I might add. The first part of the hike was almost straight up. All of the girls made it up the steep trail except for one which Kristy and I stopped to help out. She was definitely scared so Kristy took her by the hand and helped her up. I stayed close behind to make sure she didn't slip or fall. She kept saying that she was going to die but she took it like a trooper and we made it up the mountain. And that is when we realized (well, the other leaders in front of the pack) that we were on the wrong trail and we had to hike back down to the amphitheater. It was so steep (how steep was it?) that almost all the girls (and we had about thirty of them) slid down the mountain on their rears to get down safely.
We found the right trail to take (and it was CLEARLY marked) and we headed back up the mountain to this lake. It was not as steep this time around but it was still quite the uphill hike. Kristy and I commanded the back to make sure all the girls were ahead of us. It was very hot and muggy but very beautiful. The trail was covered in green and at times the trail could barely fit one person. We took a few breaks here and there to view the scenery (or in my case to catch my breath) and we split off into our own wards/groups. I am really impressed with the girls. It was not an easy hike (and we were only half way) and they marched on with little complaining. We finally stopped up this steep grade to eat some of our lunch. There were a few girls that were really tired at this point and wanted to turn back but a few of our girls really took a leadership role and they motivated us all to finish the hike and see the lake. We were the last group to make it up to the lake and we celebrated when we got there.
It was so thick and green.
This was us half way up the mountain. I love this picture of the girls.
Taeler was so thrilled that we made it that she wanted to jump in the lake to cool off. It sounded like a good idea and then we saw the "lake". It was no lake, it was a swamp. I didn't even want to dip my bandanna in the water because it was so filthy. But we finished our goal!
That is no lake. That is a disappointing swamp.
We ate our lunch and then the other group of girls that made it up already got up to leave. We were so tired that Shonda suggested we stay for awhile and I am glad we did. We hiked a little bit further and found a real beautiful view of the valley. That made it worth the hike alone. Kristy had some Tootsie Rolls in her backpack and she tossed me one right before we were getting ready to leave. I commented, "This will give me the energy I need... ... to stand up."
One thing about camping with these people for a couple of days is that you really get to know them. I had no idea that our Camp Director, Shonda, dreams about her teeth. "I like my teeth." Is what she told us. She also shares my fear of going to the bathroom in other places aside from our homes.
It was during the long hike that the quote of the day was spoken by Taeler. I don't want to divulge all the details for various reasons but I do want to remember what she said. I am certain that this will remind me:
I died inside when she said what she said. I didn't make any reaction because I didn't want anyone to know that I actually heard her.
We stayed around for a little bit longer and then headed back home to camp. The hike down was almost as difficult as the hike up. My toes were so sore from the hike down. Kristy led the girls down and Shonda and I stayed in the back. Suddenly, during our hike back, Shonda decided to take a fast nap. She was walking one moment and the next moment she was lying down on the trail. She must have slipped a hundred times down that hike. I felt bad because I couldn't tell if she was hurt (she was actually laughing) and I have to admit that I was laughing because it looked so funny. I reached down and pulled her up by her backpack. Kristy and the girls were far ahead of us and she claims it is because they were just being speedy. Personally, I think it is because Shonda spent too much time falling on the trail. The girls in front of us kept shouting out "Marco!" to see how close we were to camp. Finally we heard "Polo!" and we were so happy to get back. I was proud of our girls. They made it through a real difficult hike and they did it singing and cheering. I overheard some of the other girls from other wards and they said that they wished they were with us because we were so happy.
I think this is the only picture that I am in. I am eating my Tootsie Roll to gather some strength.
Look at the view.
I tried to get the girls to pluck this flower. That way I can turn them in and maybe get a reward.
Shonda and Kristy decided to reward the girls by driving them down to the showers. After some snacks and some relaxation, the girls had to go and do a compass activity. They had to use a compass to find their way around the camp and finally to the end of the course at the amphitheater where Kristy, Shonda, Tiffany and I were waiting. Then there was a small moment of reflection of how a compass can lead and how instructions from our leaders and our scriptures can also lead us like a compass.
For dinner we ate these delicious tin foil dinners and our No-Drama-Mama came to visit the girls. It would have nice to have Tara and Karen stay at camp with the girls. They brought these delicious Popsicles (oh boy do I love Popsicles) and this funny pink zebra duct tape which they made bracelets out of. The only stipulation was that in order to wear it you had to have NO drama. And for the most part, there was little drama in the camp. After dinner we hung around the campfire and just enjoyed our time together. Kristy broke out the candy and we roasted Starbursts and I asked if anyone would would roast me some Lime Tootsie Rolls. Taylor graciously cooked me up some and they turned out better than I thought they would. She brought them over to me and they were piping hot and I couldn't snag them off the pole. "Just put them in your mouth!" She called out and so I immediately popped them in my mouth. "Are you crazy?" I yelled back as the Tootsie Rolls about melted my tongue off. But they were so tasty. It was nice just to sit around the fire with these people.
After the girls went to bed, the rest of us leaders sat around the campfire just chatting. Kristy got up and wanted to do a tent check to make sure all of the girls were in their tents and we all decided to go with her. The main reason is that we wanted to stop and eavesdrop on the girls for a little bit. We got up and surrounded the tent with the youngest girls and listened in. We could hear the girls giggling and talking when suddenly I heard my name (Dr. Pepper) being mentioned. "And then Dr. Pepper was a..." is what I heard one of the girls start to say. I honestly didn't want to know exactly what they were saying about me so I grabbed the tent and yelled out "I'm a what?" as I violently shook the tent. The girls screamed in terror. It was such perfect timing. Us leaders laughed and laughed.
I finally got ready for bed and easily fell asleep, I was so worn out. Kevin invited the Bishop to spoon with him and then told me that he doesn't fall asleep that quickly. Yeah, whatever. Kevin was snoring within a few minutes time. And he didn't even go on the hike with us!