When I say camping, I am not referring to the bougie manner of camping where you make sure to grab any and everything that you would never want to do without. Last week, I went camping with my mom and grandma, and my mom had signed us up for this camping experience located next to the Chattahoochee River. It was called the National Chattahoochee Nature Preserve, and there were about thirty of us, including staff.
The first day involved signing up. We signed our names on two liability releases: one was for going out into the river, and the other was for cycling. They had a mock mountain bike riding course set up on the second day, which had wooden blocks arranged in a specific way so that they people could ride over them. The first block had four dips in it, and then it curved to the side and circled around until it reached the end.
Back to the first day, though. After signing the papers, we got plastic sunglasses and a s'mores fork for when we would have s'mores. Once everyone had their tents set up, we all had a meeting to discuss the people involved and how this event was special because the area was never opened up for camping before. After that, we went out to the location where the river was via a shuttle and a bus. We were at the river, and before we left we had a demonstration from one of the staff regarding how to hold and use the oars used in the canoes and kayaks. Once we reached the location, we were divided into groups of people who were going to travel in canoes and the more experienced people were to go in kayaks. Our mission essentially was to pick trash out of the river using grabber tools to pick up trash. We were on the river for about 3 or 4 hours. Near the 3 mile mark, there was a basketball goal submerged in the mud that wouldn't budge and was basically stuck. I learned gathering trash out of the river is important because not only does it remove the debris that gets caught in certain areas, but it also makes those areas look more appealing and more like their natural state. There were things like chairs, buckets, beer cans, shoes and flip flops, tennis balls, tires, a rug mat and more.
Afterwards, it was free time and we ate sandwiches and barbecue type food as we sat at wooden tables and ate and talked together. When night finally came, there was a fire where the s'mores were roasted, but I couldn't go near it because of my asthma so I asked my mom to grab me one and she did, but so did my grandma, so I ended up having two of them before I went to sleep.
Sleeping in a tent at night was extremely cold; you have to make sure that you are wearing enough clothing. And going to the bathroom was a process. The bathroom wasn't extremely far away, but it was far enough away that one needed a flashlight to reach it because there were holes scattered around the campsite and we didn't want to fall in them. Another thing about the bathroom was that the bathroom door would slam shut really loud and almost echo throughout the campsite.
The next morning, we had a short photography class in which we got into a circle and told the instructor our level of photography and what we wanted to learn. We ventured out into the woods near our campsite and took places on the trail. There was trash all through there, but I'm sure there are people specialized in land trash. My mom, grandma and I were going to go back through there and pick up the trash, but we had to pack up our tent and all of our belongings so we could be ready to leave when it was time to go.
My mom did paddle surfing, where there is a single board and you begin by sitting down on it with just your knees. Then, you sit up and use the downward dog pose to slowly stand up and use a paddle to steer yourself. Overall, it was a really fun day and I learned so much from it. I already liked nature, but this emphasized how much I loved it even more. I should note that I had no WiFi the entire time, but I think immersing yourself in nature at least for a couple of days is a good thing, even if society tends to make you forget that. It helps you to clear your mind and appreciate the world that's around you.