After Midterms, A Relaxing Break
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
*Photo credit to Dani Hoisington.