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After Midterms, A Relaxing Break

Posted by on Sunday, October 19, 2014 in Fall Break, Nature.

Fall break couldn’t have come any sooner. After about ten days of study study test study cram test paper study test (a.k.a. midterm week), I packed a few clothes in a duffel and drove three hours east to Ocoee, TN with friends.

The three-hour drive. Photo credit to Google Earth.

We spent Wednesday night in a pastoral setting, and then found a camping spot in the Cherokee National Forest. We hiked to a waterfall, scrambled over boulders to watch the sunrise, told stories around a campfire, and otherwise managed to survive in the wilderness for 48 hours. It was beautiful.

black walnut tree / friendly horses / farm-scape at Derek's house*

My favorite part about this trip was the friendliness and inclusivity of the group. I only knew a couple of people of the group of eight other students, but that wasn’t a problem; we all became friendly very quickly. A few people knew each other through ASB, and others were connected as roommates or classmates.

Smokey mountains* / Ocoee Whitewater center* / hiking goal: waterfall*

I enjoyed our group because I wasn’t the only vegetarian, so the effort I put towards cooking a separate meal benefited someone else as well (thanks, Isabelle). I wasn’t the only one with a hammock, so I didn’t feel like the odd one out when I wanted to sleep in mine instead of a tent (thanks, Michael). Finally, I wasn’t the only one who liked to climb to the top of the tallest thing in any situation, so I had a risk-taking partner-in-crime (thanks, Ariane).

overlook advice* / golden sunset* / campsite*

The trip was similar to some of the WilSkills trips I did this past spring, but it was definitely a different experience to be with a smaller group, operate at a slightly more relaxed pace (we did the same amount in three days that WilSkills would do in two), and be somewhat let go of the “learning about the outdoors” mentality. I actually earned the nickname “WilSkills” during this trip, as in, “WilSkills has spoken” whenever I offered any advice, but I’m not sure I earned it with anything more than incessantly talking about my past WilSkills experiences (it was hard to resist).

Cool people at Sugarloaf Mountain*

*Photo credit to Dani Hoisington.

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