It is even easier for a dozen junior high school students without jobs; without jobs, without cars, without money. Hanging out at each others houses, preferably without supervision. Roaming our small town on our bikes. Hitch hiking to the lake for swimming, sunning, and sleeping. Oh yeah, life was good. Life was very very good. It was every parent's nightmare.
Something had to be done but what?
Mr Taylor, the youth minister, decided that a backpacking trip in the Mt. Rainier National Forest was just the ticket. 14 miles up to some alpine lakes ought to wear out an active bunch of kids. 5 days of hiking, fishing, and scaring wildlife.
Gear was obtained. Freeze dried meals were purchased. REI was joined. Boots were broken in. REI dividends were calculated. This was going to be a perfect antidote to summer boredom. (I'm not sure who was bored. We weren't. We were having a great time) How can you not have a great time when your days consisted of hitchhiking (yes, this was our favorite mode of transportation. If we asked any of the stay-at-home parents to drive us anywhere there would have been questions asked as to our intended activities. Questions we really didn't want to answer; such as, who's parents will be there to supervise? You can see where that one would be problematic) to the lake with your inner-tube and swimming all day or taking that same inner-tube to Flaming Geyser Park launching it into the river. 4 hours, much laughing, swimming and innocent flirting later getting out at Green River Park and hitching a ride back home.
Us, kids were game for a bit of a walk.
The whole gang loaded up into the Whitmore's van. Mr. Taylor, the youth leader, is on the left and my mom is on right. Dig those sunglasses. I'm the one sitting on top of the van with bare feet and a hat on.
We started our hike up into the Cascade Mountains on an up note. It wasn't more than 3 or 4 miles into the switchback trail that you could tell the outdoorsy type from the not-so-outdoorsy type.
Sandy, middle front with striped shirt, had her sleep bag fall off of her pack and roll almost to the bottom of the hill. My mother who was bringing up the rear thought she was going to cry. So mom walked all the way down to fetch it. My mom is like that.
Tim, behind and to the left of Sandy, and Matt, sitting on Tim's shoulders, and I kept up with Mr. Taylor. This meant that we had time to hang the food from a tree to keep the bears out, check out all the cool places around the lake, and generally misbehave (Stick with your strengths, people.) before the others showed up.
My mother woke everyone up in the middle of the night, after that long hike, because she was sure there was a bear outside the camping hut that we were all crammed into. Turns out that bears and chipmunks sound almost the same at 3am. Who knew?
We ate re-constituted scrambled eggs with bees. Something that is not sold at REI. The bees kamikazed into our eggs. Turns out, when you are really hungry, they are delicious.
We fished for high mountain lake trout. We hiked all around the area. We spun tall tales about bears and mountain lions to scare the fraidy-cats. We bonded even more tightly than we had over the last 3 years. It was great!
If we could all get together again someday it would be a reunion that I would spend a lot of money to get to. Something I really wouldn't do for a high school class reunion because this is the group that I grew up in. This is the group that acceptance never depended on what one wore (obviously! Look at that hat.) or what side of the tracks one lived. And, while there are some in this group that death has ensured that I will never see again I think that I'll try to find them. See if any of them are on Facebook. Maybe, a reunion is in order.
This Reunion spin was brought to you by Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. Go check out all the others who've taken a ride on this ferris wheel.