Sunday, April 1, 2007

nature essay

One night when I was at work with my boyfriend Chris, he and his friend Scott decided that it would be a lot of fun to go camping that very night. I am usually up for new things so of course I said that I would go. I had never been camping before and was not expecting the experience that I got. Chris always told me about this place called Long Eddy in New York where he would always go camping with his friends when they were growing up. Whenever he would talk to me about it I would always picture him and his friends around a campfire doing “camping” things. I can’t even explain what “camping” things are, maybe cooking food over a big fire or maybe telling scary stores. I just thought of a bunch of old friends having a great time. When Chris told me that he wanted to go to Long Eddy with him, I was excited that he wanted me to see that place where he had so much fun with his close friends growing up.
We left as soon as we could and the drive up there was exciting and scary to me. The closer we got to Long Eddy, the further away we seemed to get from the living that I was used to. The roads were getting darker and the streetlights seemed to be getting farther apart by the minute. The only real lights were the headlights of our car. It took us about four hours to get there because we got a little lost on the way. When we got there it was like nothing I had pictured.

When we first got to Long Eddy it was just me, Chris and our one hundred and twenty pound Alaskan Malamute Nekinya. Scott and his friend had not gotten there yet. It was about twelve o’clock midnight when we got there and it was pitch black. I was used to the lights of the city and suburbs always being on no matter where you are. Where I live in New Jersey it is not pitch black. Because of streetlights, stores, buildings, and signs there is always lights on. The main difference here is the fact that you can actually see the stars in the sky. It was so beautiful to look at up so many stars where at my house you can’t see half of the stars that you can see at Long Eddy because of all the light pollution. Although all the beautiful stars were a captivating sight, the fact that it was pitch black and I was in an unknown place was making me uneasy. Even Nekinya was more comfortable then I was, after all he had been there so many times with Chris. I was afraid because I could not see anything and I had no idea where I was. I wouldn’t let the dog’s leash go because I knew that I would be safe with him. I could hear the water, but I did not really know how close it actually was. Nekinya was excited to hear the water and couldn’t’ wait to go swimming. It was up to Chris to start us a fire so we could see and get warm. The air was a little damp because it must have rained some time that day so starting a fire was no easy task. Eventually Chris did get the fire started, and I was able to see a little bit of the beauty that I was about to discover in the morning. All night around the fire Chris would tell me how beautiful the area was, and how amazed I would be when I woke up that morning. Eventually our friends got there, we had a few drinks and all went to bed.
That next morning I work up to the light of the sun. Nothing beats that, especially waking up to an annoying alarm clock and having to get up suddenly to go to work or school. This time it was the natural light of the sun that slowing woke me up. It was weird waking up in a tent outside where it was a little muggy from the morning dew. It felt a little gross to wake up that way but I was still extremely excited to see what Long Eddy looked like during the day. When I left the tent the first thing I saw that was so beautiful was the Delaware River. It was also soothing to go to sleep to the sound of the running water. The water was so clean, and I really like to go swimming so I was extra excited. The other most amazing thing about Long Eddy was all of the trees. You look across the river and you see endless trees. I wouldn’t help but think about what animals lived over there. That was a little scary to, but the beauty outweighed the scary aspect of it.
Something that I think is so interesting about camping is the fact that in order to get clean you have to go into the river to wash. We would bring soap and even shampoo and bathe in our bathing suits in the water. This was weird for me because I had never done it before and it was awkward trying to get clean while standing on the bottom of a river. I of course wore shoes but it was a weird concept.
Watching Nekinya in Long Eddy was an experience in itself. After all, a dog’s natural habitat is outside. It was interesting watching Nekinya go swimming in the water with out fear of anything. One other time when we went camping we were able to take a boat out into the Delaware, and Nekinya would walk around in the shallow parts of the water and howl like a wolf. This was such an experience because Malamutes don’t bark and barely make any noise. This is the only place that we would hear Nekinya make a sound. For some reason he must have felt something to make him howl like that. We were also a little bit concerned because we thought that he would attract some animals, but he never did.
If there was one thing that I didn’t like about camping was the bugs. I know bugs are a part of nature and they will always be outside, but they were not my favorite part of the experience.

I absolutely love camping now. Since my first experience camping I have been about twelve times. I like being outside and breathing fresh air and looking at the starts at night. After my first experience camping am not afraid because I know where I am. When I am in Long Eddy it is like leaving the real world for a little while and spending some much needed time with friends. Here I don’t have to worry about doing schoolwork, or paying bills. I leave all of my worries and problems home and come to Long Eddy where during the day I can lay out in the sun and read a book and at night I can sit and talk around a campfire with good friends while listening to the Delaware River go by. I will never forget my first experience camping, and I am looking forward to future camping trips!

1 comment:

S. Chandler said...

I liked reading this essay, and the points you raise about the difference between how you felt and how it looked like the dog felt could make a solid focus. AS discussed in class - nature writing generally demands more detailed description - but if your point is about your initiation to camping - you might be able to finesse not being an expert.