The questions on my blog yesterday sparked this memory. The Hodgepodge is its own form of therapy because I'm pretty sure this is a memory I'd successfully blocked.
Way back when, I was a girl scout leader for Daughter2's troop. Once upon a time we attended a camp out on a gorgeous warm spring day and although we were booked into a cabin for sleeping, the girls clambered to switch to the platform tents instead. Me, being the great outdoors woman that I am, said okay. It was April and we were in shorts all day long. The sun was shining and some of the girls even got their feet wet in the river.
Flash forward a few hours to dinner. We ate with some of the other troops in a central location and as we were eating the weather began to change. We decided to gather up our belongings and head back to our tents which involved a bit of a hike in the suddenly deep, dark, scary and slightly wet woods. Now that darkness had settled in the girls were
terrified unhappy at the thought of being spread out into several tents so we piled everyone together into just two. There weren't enough cots so I, being the great outdoors woman that I am, said I'd sleep on the floor because I can stand anything for one night.
Or so I thought.
The rain that started off as a sprinkle had suddenly turned into a downpour and it was lightning in that spooky, Friday the 13th sort of way. Next came the winds. I can honestly say I have never in my life been outdoors in winds like these.
Have you ever slept in a platform tent? For those of you who aren't in the know, the tent is tied to the platform all the way round, but there's still a gap of several inches where a little bit of light gets in and a whole lot of wind. At one point I seriously thought the tent was going to lift off the ground ala Dorothy in Oz.
It felt like we'd been in our sleeping bags for hours when a couple of the girls awoke and were sniffling, aka sobbing. My co-leader and I said reassuring things like, ' Just close your eyes and before you know it, morning will be here.' One of the girls asked me what time it was and I made the gargantuan mistake of looking at my watch. I replied, 'Almost morning-try to go back to sleep'. The other leader said she knew better than to ask for the precise time since she figured if it really was almost morning I'd have said it.
It was 11:55.
Not even midnight.
One mom had taken her daughter to the car to sleep early on in the evening. We should all have done the same but have you ever been so cold you can't even entertain the idea of moving even when you know you should? Pretty sure that's how people die in the woods.
I slept that night wearing every article of clothing I'd brought with me. I tucked my knees all the way up to my chest and pulled my fleece over them and shivered and prayed. When I woke up I was literally frozen in that position. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to unfold my legs. I told my co-leader that I had never in my life been that cold and we both said the air had that same feeling it gets when it snows. It was the middle of April and had been 85 degrees the day before so no way did it snow.
We peeked outside.
Hello white winter in April while I'm sleeping on the floor of a platform tent in hurricane force winds. We learned later that there were tornadoes spotted in our county. It was kind of like The Perfect Storm except we weren't at sea and of course there was no George Clooney.
I bet right now you're wishing I'd been your daughter's troop leader.
And I don't know how much time you've spent with tween girls but wet, tired, hungry, and frozen does not a happy camper make. Pun intended.
Everyone involved in this little weekend still speaks to me.
I'm not sure they've ever camped again but we are still friends. Nothing bonds you to someone quite like a shared near death experience.