Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy when it rains

We were driving 40 miles per hour on the interstate in the driving rain, windshield wipers unable to keep up with the downpour, unaware that a tornado watch was in effect, when I asked the three guys in my car, "Is this crazy or what?"

"It's kind of cool," a voice from the backseat said. "Scary drive with great music."

I had the volume almost at maximum, partially to hear the music over the pounding rain, partially to keep my mind off the potential flooded campsite, partially to introduce my students to a range of loud music, from Modest Mouse to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes to the Jesus and Mary Chain.

"How about this?" I asked. "What if I pay for a couple of hotel rooms and we just throw our sleeping bags on the floor and spend the night like that?"

We were off to our annual camping trip, twenty students and their gear piled into two cars and a 15-passenger van. The teacher driving the van is a lot more bad-ass than I am, because when I called her and suggested the hotel, she shrugged me off and said we'd see how the campsite looked.

By the time we arrived, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. We checked around, picked a spot, and returned to the cars for the kids. As soon as we had our gear in hand, the sky opened up one more time, soaking us. Maybe it was a baptism. We sludged our way anyway, and when we arrived at our chosen spot, the rain stopped. By the time we pitched the tents, there were stars above.

The two nights were cold, maybe in the lowers 40s. The day was fine, and without getting into all the details, the trip was an amazing success. Everyone had fun. With 20 teenagers, you'd expect some drama or fights, but there were none. You'd expect some laughs, and there were plenty.

I took some pictures, but I can't show faces, so you can't see any of the good ones, the ones with the amazing smiles. But maybe this will give you an idea of what you can expect if you take a bunch of teenagers camping:

They stayed up until 3, so they tried sleeping in,
until their evil teacher entered the tent:

D makes a new friend:

Scrambling up the dune (going down was hilarious):

Taking in the view from the top
(the lake's the other way, by the way):

Psychedelic pancakes (with M&M's):

There's more I can say (like me purposefully getting four kids lost on the hike back from the dunes, like the late-night storytelling around the fire, like sitting under a tree with one of my students and reviewing the novel we're reading in class, like me finding a tick on my hip a few minutes ago while taking a bath), but I'm exhausted.


Anonymous said...

Shurrrreeee.......rub it in Mr.P...and yes, i spelled it SHURE purposely so you'd get mad! ha! i didnt want to go on that trip anyway.did rather stay home do homework. man this sucks!


a said...

Mmmm, tick on the hip. Sweet.

Bill said...

Sounds cool, though you could have had better weather

middleson said...

i sounds like a experience those kids will remember, and that's part of what we're supposed to provide...i think.

did you guys go to Warren Dunes State Park? I LOVE that park! I used to go over there often when I was in chicago.

appopt said...

Yup! Warren Dunes. You recognized that hill, huh?