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This weekend my friends and I went to Yosemite National Park to go camping.

I have never been backpacking or camping before; my family and I always do day hikes.  After the events this weekend, I understand why my parents prefer to return to a hotel after a hike.  Camping is disgusting.  I’m pretty sure I am still washing dirt from between my toes.

Nevertheless, I had the most amazing time.

Before we embarked on our 6.2 mile hike to Ostrander Lake, we wrote our goals for this weekend on a bandana.  One of my friends wanted to find adventure, another wanted to “sh** in the woods” (we are a mature group of 20 year olds).  I said I wanted to relax.

At the time, I envisioned my friends and I lounging by the lake after a leisurely, yet challenging hike, while our campfire sparked to life and the smell of smores wafted in the breeze.  I imagined waking up to the chirping birds and gently lapping lake.  In all, I had this weekend chalked up to be a spread in an L.L. Bean catalog.

However, things never turn out as planned.

We forgot tent poles.

It rained.

We forgot fuel.

We packed too much food and not enough bear canisters.

A storm struck less than a mile away.

Combined with a few other minor incidents, the weekend could be a considered a disaster.  In fact, I am pretty sure my friend, who is deathly afraid of lightening and dirt, will never go outside again.

However, dealing with so many unexpected circumstances was both tense and fun.  There was nothing more we could do except be resourceful and make use of what we had.  Case in point: we created a “bear cave” to protect our jumbo marshmallows from the bears the bears from eating our jumbo marshmallows.

Though each situation seemed desperate at the time, they all resolved themselves and provided us with stories to laugh at and experiences that brought us closer as friends.

When we finally arrived back at the parking lot the next day, muddy and weary, we collapsed under a grove of trees and pulled out our bandana to review our weekend goals.  We certainly found an adventure and yes, we did sh** in the woods.  Though I didn’t get to relax in the traditional sense since I was too busy collecting rocks to MacGruber a tent without poles and frantically throwing food in the “bear cave” during a thunderstorm, I can say that I relaxed my desire for perfection.  Despite all its imperfections and “disasters,” our camping trip was one of the most exciting and fun experiences of my summer so far.

Here are a few more photos from my weekend:

Ostrander Lake 

Scrambling up some boulders.

Most frightening Titanic reenactment of my life.