Once midterm season rises and rears its ugly head, it is necessary to remind yourself that there is a world outside of Economics tests and Philosophy papers. For me, this meant loading up a Volkswagen Golf (thank you Zipcar membership*) with tents, food, and four of my friends and heading straight into the great outdoors. We fought rain, racism, and second-degree burns, but we all agreed it was the best way to spend our Columbus Day weekend.
Our destination was Matthew’s Arm Campground in Shenandoah National Park, but of course the fun did not begin there. Along our route to Shenandoah, we stopped to pick some of the finest apples Virginia could offer and were greeted by Deborah, our new best friend. Deborah was orphaned at a young age and has been living at the apple orchard for a couple of years now. We played with her, and even took some photos. Also, Deborah is a sheep. While there, we were touched by the orchard owner’s passion for the local youth ministry, mission work, and “teaching the love of Jesus Christ to the Muslims” in Algeria. Lots of the money earned at the orchard is donated to support these causes. After we had picked our apples, said our goodbyes to Deborah, and had our fill of cultural insensitivity, we resumed our journey to Shenandoah.
After a long ride in the old Golf, it was time to embrace the nature in all of its rainy glory. My friends and I immediately began our trip with a hike through the wilderness, and dared any of the natural predators to try and stop us. Our trail took us along a windy path through a fall forest full of yellow, green, and red leaves. The hike took us deep into the woods where we stumbled upon a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
When we returned to our campsite, it became time to let the camp-life begin. This included pitching our tents, and kindling up a roaring fire. The fire proved to be more difficult than expected; our troubles began when store selling the firewood claimed to have run out of firewood. Fortunately, we were able to take the scraps from the store’s wood storage. The struggle continued, as all of the kindling was far too wet to be of any use. Our luck held out as we brought an ample supply of both The Voice and The Hoya as a substitute. (For those keeping count, The Voice proved to be much better kindling, likely due to its superior journalism and paper density.) Following only a handful of second-degree burns, we had a fire to last us the evening.
Our night ended with a delicious supply of campfire-roasted foods. The main course, was hot dogs—cooked to perfection and paired with perfectly toasted buns. As a side, we had some delicious buttered popcorn, popped right over the fire. To top it all off, there were wonderful s’mores, which were complimented nicely with a slow roasted apple. (Your move, Leo’s.) When the rain resumed, we called it a night and crawled into our comfortable tents and sleeping bags.
The next morning, we packed the car in pouring rain and headed back to Georgetown. The squad was able to once again enjoy the view of Shenandoah, this time with incredible panoramas of clouds over the distant rolling hills. The highlight of the return trip, however, had to be our penultimate stop at The Apple House, home of the best apple cinnamon donuts you will ever treat yourself to in this lifetime. After a great trip, we returned to Georgetown with hopes of a smooth transition back into “city-life” and for another politically incorrect holiday to give us a chance to return to Shenandoah.
Photo: Connor Letendre/The Georgetown Voice