This Is What Two Days In The Wild Without Cell Service Will Do To You

This Is What Two Days In The Wild Without Cell Service Will Do To You

Dare to venture into the wild?
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Last Friday, my family and I received the dreaded text message from Verizon informing us we had 10% of our data remaining. I assured my parents that I would stay off my phone, because I would be spending the weekend in Hochatown, Oklahoma. I couldn’t think of too many reasons why I’d need my phone during our stay in a log cabin in the woods. But to my surprise, my parents insisted I stay in contact and “send lots of pictures, sweetie.”

When the McLaughlin family and I pulled up to our cabin called “The Birdhouse” I snapped a picture and sent it to my parents. But the message failed to send, and in the upper left-hand corner, it read “no service.” It looked to me like my parents would be thanking me for avoiding coverage charges. That is, after they heard from me two days later.

That night, Kylee and I started a bonfire, set up her hammock, roasted hot dogs on the fire, discussed our favorite song lyrics, and spent the rest of the evening in the hot tub. Hundreds of trees surrounded our camp while the crescent moon and stars I had missed for so long peeked through their leaves.

Saturday began with a hearty breakfast of eggs with cheese, strawberries, sausage patties, and biscuits filled with butter and grape jelly. Kylee and I left a trail of biscuit crumbs along the ledge of the deck so that we could marvel at the bluejays that came up so close to the window in search of a snack. Then, we headed over to Broken Bow River and rented paddle boats and double kayaks. Kylee and I had spent the majority of our Fridays at Baylor on a kayak or a paddle board, so we decided to exercise our legs on a paddle boat this time.

Kylee’s family had the advantage of traveling faster on their kayaks, so they explored the lake while we trailed behind them. We met up at a cliff jutting out and over part of the river where Kylee’s parents encouraged us to climb up and jump off. We held hands, jumped on “3,” and sank into water that felt like it was made entirely of icicles. We did it twice more, and I somehow managed to earn two bruises on my shin from accidentally swimming into the cliff below water.

Our hour of rent time quickly approached two, so we paddled back to shore. We drove to the famed “House of Burgers and Blues” and feasted on delicious burgers that were at least the size of my hand. Poor Kylee had to silently suffer and watch as we scarfed down our lunches, because the waiter had mistakenly forgotten to tell the chef what she ordered.

After sifting through bigfoot memorabilia at the gift shop across the street, we went back to the cabin and discovered the biscuit crumbs we had left for the birds had mysteriously disappeared! At this point, we were all too tired to care so we relaxed in the hot tub and napped in our hammocks.

Later that night, we celebrated Mrs. Sherry’s birthday with a very special chocolate sheet cake made by the best master chefs around, Kylee and me. Per her mom’s request, we both taught her sister and her friend, Ella, how to two-step and line dance to country songs on the deck of the cabin. You can bet I will be teaching my own family soon!

After roasting our second round of hot dogs and s’mores, we headed in, showered, and fell asleep peacefully. The next morning, we had an easy morning lounging around the campsite and after saying goodbye to Kylee’s polaroid camera, (it slipped out of her hands) we headed back to the friendly state of Texas.

And that is when I started receiving messages again. Turns out, my family had taken in a stray kitten, my friend Emily Jane will be hosting a French foreign exchange student, and my friend Abigail’s brother celebrated his first anniversary with his wife! Did I love learning this new information? Absolutely. Could it wait a few days? Absolutely.

Get out in nature folks, and please, leave your phone at home.

Cover Image Credit: Bryanne Sanchez

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Why It Is Scientifically Proven That Golden Doodles Are The Best Kind Of Dogs

No matter what color you have, they are awesome.
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Let me first say that golden-doodles are golden retrievers and a poodle mix. It's a big difference from other doodles. This is a new, popular kind of dog, that is known worldwide. It has been proven (not really but let's say it is) that they are the best dogs ever, in every color. Here are some reasons why:

1. They are great with kids!

2. Especially sick kids or kids with disabilities!

3. They enjoy the party life!

4. They love every kind of weather!

5. They can help you pass the hardest levels on Candy Crush.

6. They think they are humans.

Or just big babies.

7. They have the best manners!

8. They give the best hugs!

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11. They make the best snuggle buddies.

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Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Harvey had an impact that went beyond floodwaters.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.

Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.

I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.

It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.

Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.

Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.

Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.

Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.

Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.

Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.

With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.

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