Though I was invited to attend the conference, there was no possible way for me to miss teaching on Friday (way too much going on in my eight week flex course), so when my friend Kristen invited me to go camping this weekend with her Outdoors Club, I was very excited to be able to work Friday and still have my own adventure away.
Kristen picked me up shortly after 5:00pm on Friday and we headed to Fort Davis, which is about 2.5 hours away. We had an SUV packed full of stuff for our 48 hours away. What can we say? We like to be prepared (according to our friend Chelsea, we like to go "glamping," but she is over-exaggerating, though I do love my camp stove and double high airbed!)
It was raining when we arrived, but the sunset was gorgeous:
We enjoyed conversation with the other campers and made veggie burgers on the camp stove for dinner. We survived incredible winds in the canyon we were camping in on both nights. I really thought that our tents were going to go flying away, but Kristen is a seasoned camper and kept assuring me that that wouldn't happen.
Friday morning, I went on a drive with Chelsea and her boyfriend, Brandon, and we saw some pigs, horses, cows, roadrunners, and other wildlife.
Friday afternoon, we all went rappelling off of an 80 foot canyon cliff. This involved putting on a harness, gloves, and a helmet and then being tied to a lot of ropes that my life was sincerely depending on. I felt comfortable because Richard, the former founder of the Outdoor's club was highly experienced and had an experienced helper, Tom. I also watched several people go before me and survive. Plus, back in December, my sister-in-law, Annie, took Brendan and I to her rock climbing gym, which gave me an idea of what to expect.
So, I suited up:
Got hooked in:
Hugged my friends goodbye and told them to establish a scholarship in my name for a reading program for children should anything happen to me:
Then I began my descent (backwards!) off the cliff. The photos don't show how nervous I was. This took a big leap of courage for me:
I kept my feet on the rocks until I was perpendicular to the ground and there were no rocks. Then I had to push off to find myself hanging 80 feet in the air. I continued to let out rope until I was safely down on the ground. I got an awesome view of the canyon on the way down. It was so cool!
The rest of Friday was spent relaxing since everyone was exhausted from staying up late, the canyon climb (very step), and the rappelling down. Kristen and I made mac n'cheese for lunch and other campers made two kinds of cobbler, which we proudly ate for dinner.
This morning, it was time for a short hike! We packed up the tents and our campsites, and I headed off with Kristen, Chelsea, and Brandon. Fun Fact: I have been friends with Kristen and Chelsea since fall of 2011, so over 3.5 years now.
We had an amazing hike, though we all estimated it to be longer than its true distance of 1.5 miles roundtrip (I logged it on my Run Keeper app just to see).
We even found more horses:
And because of recent rains, the creeks were not empty:
At this point, I hadn't showered in three days, but I was happy to break in my new hiking boots this weekend. I got them at Sierra Trading Post and only spent $54.00. They were very comfortable and had good traction.
We saw a rattlesnake (scary!)
Even after my bravery rappelling yesterday, I still appreciated a helping hand to get across the mossy rocks!
We stopped for food in Balmorhea and made it back to town a little after 3:00pm. As for Brendan, his flight lands in about fifteen minutes, and by all accounts, their conference was a big success. Both students had never been on a plane before, and one student had never seen the ocean before, so I think it was a big weekend for them. I cannot wait to see my husband after our weekend apart. I had a great time, but now I just want to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere and cuddle (and don't worry, I did take a much needed shower as soon as I walked in the door!)
We hope your weekend was awesome too!