Last week was Aaron's final spring break and we came one step closer to ending this long chapter of life called "Arnie the Student." After 24 years, he finally has to bid farewell to his beloved Spring Break. We wanted to do something adventurous, different, and flippin' awesome, and we definitely wanted to stay far, far away from Spring Break locations that would include girls in scantily clad bikinis and guys who look like a steroid balloon about to burst. You see, we have experienced Panama City at Spring Break before, and we stuck out like sore thumbs. Trust me, you're going to want to avoid that particular area of the globe unless you meet at least one of the criteria I mentioned earlier (scantily clad or balloon.)
It did not take long to decide backpacking would be a sweet gig for us. We called up some good family friends who live in Montgomery and who truly are backpacking/camping/hiking experts and invited them along so we could watch and learn. And also because they are quite possibly the most awesome group of people on this earth to hang out with and we easily spend the entire time laughing our bums off together. Hannah and Daniel joined us in Montgomery and Aaron's parents GENEROUSLY met us there to watch Clark while we hiked. I love Clark with every fiber of my being, but I believe camping with him would be the most unpleasant experience imaginable.
Daniel, Kelly, Hannah, Aaron, Jill, Jake, and Matt
We left on Sunday afternoon and drove two hours either north, east, south or west, I didn't pay attention. When we got there and after we briefly went our separate ways to pee in the woods, we hiked about a mile and set up camp right next to a stream that turned into beautiful waterfalls. Aaron, being the brilliant son of a gun he is, immediately put his six pack of Guinness in a garbage bag and placed it in the stream so it could be nice and chilled by nightfall. Before you judge him for backpacking with a six pack of beer, keep in mind that I hiked with a bottle of wine and a Dixie cup in my pack. Now you can judge all you want.
We set up the tents and hammocks, explored the waterfalls, gathered enough sticks to keep a fire going all night, and started hunting wildlife for dinner. We didn't actually do that last one, we ate chunky soup out of a little gas stove for dinner. But other than that, we were roughing it pretty hardcore. We got the fire going and spent the entire evening sitting around it singing lullabies. Well, not so much singing but a lot of making fun of each other and telling embarrassing stories. We laughed a lot and I still laugh out loud when I think about that night.
Some of us grossly miscalculated the weather and spent every second of the wee morning hours shivering in sleeping bags and trying to not die, which means we got approximately zero hours of sleep that night. But if I could go back and re-do it, I probably wouldn't change anything because it just gave us one more thing to laugh about the next day. One member of our party got a full ten or more hours of sleep and we all were very happy for him. So much so that we wanted to punch him in the face when we had to wake him up because it was time to start packing up to go. (Just kidding, Jake. Nobody wanted to punch you.)
We packed our sleep deprived selves up, hiked back to the cars, and drove to town to devour the most delicious burger and milkshake my buds have ever tasted. We were still laughing at the fast food restaurant even though we were looking skanky and smelling pretty rough. Seriously, it was an awesome trip and I can't wait to do it again. Howells, Frazers, Rices, and Meigs: we MUST do this again and very soon.
Howell siblings. These kids really know how to have a good time.
There are a few more pictures of the trip on Daniel's blog. The rest of the week was spent in Jackson and Hattiesburg and I took about 403 pictures to prove it. Stay tuned...I plan to write about the rest of the week tomorrow.