Surprise #1: I forgot the bread.
I was in charge of providing lunch for the group on Saturday. While at Arby’s for dinner on the way to Lake Hope State Park, I realized that I had forgotten the bread in my apartment. Fortunately, a Super Wal-Mart was near the Arby’s, and I was able to replace the forgotten bread with little time lost. As you can see in the photograph below, everyone enjoyed lunch despite my forgetfulness.
We arrived at the park and proceeded to the ranger station in charge of the camp sites. Several other cars had either already proceeded to the camp site, were waiting at the station, or were still en route. Chris decided to stay behind with Jenny to wait for the final cars to arrive while the other two of us in the car proceeded to the camp site using directions given to us by the ranger. The road to the campsite was long, winding, and paved with gravel.
Surprise #2: Car Wreck
The gravel was the problem.
Above is the car after we slid of the road into the woods. Below is the scene as viewed from the side of the road.
For about 30 minutes, we waited for the others to find us while I tried, with varying degrees of success to call someone on my mobile phone and alert them to our plight. Two other cars arrived, and we transferred ourselves and cargo into them and proceeded to the camp site.
Neither of us was seriously injured. We were both wearing seat belts, but I did bounce vertically, hitting my head against the car roof. I also received a scrape on my arm, as shown above.
After we had all arrived on Friday evening, we started a camp fire. The story is continued by an e-mail sent by the leadership team summarizing the trip.
[One of the InterVarsity staff workers] shared with us “Ten Years of CGSA”, a beautiful walk into the origins and growth of CGSA through the years. This fell into various theological and political discussions, and small talk as we were illumined by campfire, and surrounded by moonlit starry night. Luke afterwards gave us a tour of the skies which, because of the bright moon, allowed for a fascinating illustration of how the phases of the moon work, and where the moon’s light comes from, with our own Se Kyung representing the moon. Luke pointed out a few bright stars, explained how glorious, how large, and how far away they really are. Looking at the stars is at once an awesome and humbling experience.
We cooked most of our meals over the campfire. Here Paul is frying vegetables for breakfast.
He and his wife Arwen also made delicious bacon.
Paul is preparing to grill the cooler…erm…I mean douse the fire before we head off to the beach.
As its name suggests, Lake Hope Sate Park contains a lake. That lake has a nice swimming beach, seen above. The water was warm, clean, and somewhat green.
No pets were allowed on the beach, so Jenny had to stay on a leash tied to a picnic table on a patio overlooking the beach; it is the same place where we ate lunch. She was extremely unhappy about that.
and Sara appear to be an ordinary couple reading on the beach. Neither they nor their reading materials are quite ordinary. She is a chemistry graduate student; he is a chemical physics graduate student. She is reading a classic American novel; he is reading The Odyssey.
Thanks to some SPF 45 sunscreen, I had only one patch of mild sunburn after spending several hours on the beach and in the water.
This photograph was not taken during our time at the beach, but I thought it was best placed next to the picture of Jonathan and Sara. Paul and Arwen are here shown wearing their matching CGSA T-Shirts.
As is usual on a CGSA camping trip, we took a short hike on a path through part of the forest surrounding the park. Orange paint on some tree trunks assured us that we were still on the trail.
On point of interest on the hike was a pioneer cemetery.
It still had a few headstones.
For some reason the Geological Survey neglected to stamp the elevation on this marker.
The final point of interest on our hike was the Big Sandy Furnace, which was used to extract iron from iron ore in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Surprise #3A: Thunderstorm
When I checked the weather forecast for our trip, it predicted a 30% chance of rain on Saturday. Before the rain arrived, we heard thunder and decided to get into our cars to reduce the probability of being struck by lightning.
The storm was surprisingly strong and last for one or two hours. We stayed safe and dry in our cars.
Surprise #3B: Lighting Strike
One bolt of lighting struck so close to us that the light from the bolt and the sound from the thunder appeared simultaneous. One member of the trip saw the bolt strike this tree in our camp site.
You can see the black region where the lighting charred the tree. On the upper right corner of the charred region is a patch of exposed wood where the lightning apparently ejected a chunk of bark. Also, in the photograph below, you can see two paths down the tree that seem to have been stripped of some bark; perhaps one or both of these are parts of the paths the lightning took to the ground.
Surprise #3C: Dead Snake
If you click the photograph above for the full-size version, you will see a silver object near the bottom of the photograph at the right edge of the charred region. Closer examination revealed it to be a small dead snake.
During the storm, a tarp kept our firewood dry, so I was able to restart the fire relatively easily afterwards. We cooked dinner in several stages over the coals of the fire. We had hot dogs, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and various snack food. It was all made more delicious by the rustic setting and our relief that the storm had passed.
In spite of our relief, more rain was in store. After dinner, we retired to our tents as we felt more rain begin. We talked in our tent for some time about many things before going to bed. I slept fairly well, but I was happy to return to by bed at home.
Surprise #4: Resilient Fire
On Sunday morning, we did not have any firewood left, but a few hot coals still survived in the fire pit.
They were hot enough for Jonathan to ignite a stick sick soaked in White Gas; he used that flame to light his trusty camp stove. He and Sara cooked sausages for breakfast.
We also had cinammon rolls.
Before cleaning our site and departing, we had a small church-like service. We sang a few songs acapella and Bob (one of our InterVarsity staff workers) , led a short discussion on II Samuel 23:8-39.
Overall, it was an exciting and fun trip. I am glad I went, but you can probably understand why I am glad we only do this once each year.