I'd been chaperoning the senior class trip at the school I worked at for two years. It reminded me of a choose your own adventure book. Every morning they would give us options for different hikes, canoe trips, and climbing. There were usually about three options in the morning and a few more in the afternoon. One night of the trip you could opt to sleep out on Black Balsam. The elevation is about 6,000 ft. No tents, just sleeping bags and ensolite mats. I think they kept letting me chaperone because I loved this part of the trip and the other female chaperones could stay back in the warm cabin. It was interesting how unprepared some of these students were for the trip. It was much colder and winder than most expected.
The first year we camped up there, a group of girls thought they could get the group to leave if they screamed enough. So, about every three hours they would start yelling and complaining, etc. Luckily, our guides were used to this and were not effected by the silliness of these students. We didn't leave until the morning.
The next year a student came just because she knew that there was about five minutes on the drive where she would have phone service. In the middle of the night I woke up to hear her sobbing because she was cold and couldn't sleep and didn't want to be there. Since there was nothing I could do to help her situation, I just turned up the volume on my iPod and went back to sleep.
The last year I was there we weren't able to sleep on top of the mountain because it was raining. This was disappointing for me since I thought I'd finally figured out how to make it all night without getting cold. The first year it was really windy and I brought my shorter sleeping bag, so wind kept getting in. The next year the only thing that got cold were my feet. And the third year I wasn't able to face the mountain, so I don't know if my revised plans were going to work.
Anyone want to take a trip to Black Balsam? I have some unfinished business with it.
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