Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trying to Look Cool

Photo Credit: IndianRain

    So, it's most of the way through my first year at undergrad in PA. I have no car, and not much of a plan for what to do over spring break. I had a few places that I could stay "in a pinch" but these were last ditch scenarios in my mind. I was killing time in our dorm room as things on campus were winding down.  My roommate, Bill, a relative local had headed home hours ago, so it was just me and my books, which was fine with me; but didn’t much help my aimless spring break.
    However, when you forget to return your RA’s keys on the first day of spring break, it’s kinda important that you bring them back. So Bill ended up making the hour plus trip back to campus. And, he traded me for the keys, despite the fact that his mom was in the process of moving into a new house with his younger sister. That’s all another story. And while I was totally unsure about the adventure to come, my camera and I aren’t going to miss a thing… Click.
     So, the next day, we’re in his mom’s new house, sanding the floor of a room, and he gets a phone call (ClickClick). “Yeah?”… “Maybe”… “I don’t know”… “My roommate is here and…” “Let me ask him.” At this point, he turns his attention to me, “Hey man, some of my friends want to hang out tonight. Interested?” My roommate is rugged and tough, and a little bit awesome. I was a soft-handed book reader, who listened to classical music, and loved board games. So I didn’t even understand the implication of my favorable response. I just wanted to prove I could hang with him.
“If we go out, it’ll likely be all night.”
“That’s fine,” I replied. The social engager that I am, I often entertain guests all night, also. Only, for me, when I kept people out all night, we’d start with dinner, then a movie, late night coffee shop. If we were still blowin’ and goin’, we’d adjourn to someone’s home or an all night diner. That’s what I call hanging out all night. But not them.
     When I said “yes,” what followed was a one and a half hour drive to his friend’s house, for the link up (Click). We putzed around for second, then? We got into the car for a three hour drive to the Poconos. Five minutes into which… I spilled hot coffee on my crotch. Then things got challenging.
  Because we were going…Camping. (Click). At the end of the drive when we parked the car, I thought, “OK. It’s midnight and so cold that my eyelids hurt when I blink. But we’ve arrived, So, here we camp.” Oh, nay nay! We were are at the trailhead. Now it was time for a hike of a mile and change, beside a frost slowed stream (Click), on a path consisting of mostly ice. The hill at which we arrived wasn’t exactly a gentle grade. But we finally found our site. And by “we,” and “site,” I mean, “they” and “random outcropping of rock on rock halfway up the hillside, which was at least ten degrees colder than the rest of the area.” They swore to me that it served as a wind shield, which will help with the fire, and reflect the heat. If that was the case, I was all for it. Because, by then, I had taken the extra pair of socks out of my bag and put them on my hands over my gloves.
     Finally settled in, we hunkered into the impromptu shelter…Not “tent.” Not “cabin”… Impromptu Shelter. And we’re talking, and planning the mornings events, reading the park guide, when suddenly, one of Bill’s friends says, “Wait, what park are we in again?”
“That one, right there,” Bill replies, pointing over his shoulder at the guide book entry.”
“Dude, this thing says camping isn’t permitted here. The fine for camping is up to ten grand.”
“…We gotta go (Click).”
We’d just gotten to the point where it was warm enough that feeling was returning to my fingers, and now we’re leaving again. Slipping and sliding across the icily uneven trail on our way back to the car, we stopped once or twice to do random things (Click). Back at the trail head there was a rushing cascade and Bill suddenly said, “Hey man! Get a picture of me and the waterfall.” And goes running up to the top of the tube into which the cascade empties. “Wait ‘til I get closer.” And he straddles the bar overhanging the chasm. “Not yet,” as both feet landed on the tiny ledge. “Take it. Take it,” he exclaimed, finally hanging by one hand from a protective bar over the dark capsule of the cascade tube… (Battery Depleted: Powering Down).
     And so we left; hungry, tired, and in pain. Spooling down the road on our way to sustenance, I noticed a lit bank sign which read 6:54a.m. As it flipped from time to temp, the whopping seven degrees showing, despite the sun already being up, made me just a little sad.

I need a latte! And I need it now!