Bear Mountain

by Miri Horowitz, age 15
Bear Mountain Miri is fifteen and a half years old. She is very passionate about writing and art - particularly painting. She plays tennis and is going to mini-volley camp soon. Miri is on Student Counsel.This story is based off an experience that she recently had.

“Picture this: a hot and sweaty day. When I say sweaty I don’t mean I went on a run sweaty. I mean I officially became redder than a tomato. I’m a city girl. So, you might be wondering why a city girl is going to a hiking camp. A normal answer is because I want to explore the life outdoors and disconnect from all the technology. But not me.”

Picture this: a hot and sweaty day. When I say sweaty I don’t mean I went on a run sweaty. I mean I officially became redder than a tomato. I’m a city girl. So, you might be wondering why a city girl is going to a hiking camp. A normal answer is because I want to explore the life outdoors and disconnect from all the technology. But not me. I’m certainly not a hiker. Nothing could change that. The only reason why I’m going to a hiking camp this year is because this is my fourth year, and the previous years at my camp didn’t have a lot of hiking. Being myself, I thought, It’s just hiking, what’s the worst that could happen? Boy, was I wrong.

I’m about to begin the fifth hike. This hike is not like a normal hike where it’s, “Oh look, I got a sunburn and a tick bite.” It’s more like bring enough water in order to see the sun shining tomorrow. I have no clue how I could survive this long. The other hikes were crazy hard!

For the first time, my counselor said, “This hike is so easy.”

I started to believe her, but then I looked up, expecting to see a clear view of the sky. But, then a gigantic mountain emerged, and I glanced to the right and a sign appeared that said: Welcome to Bear Mountain. All of a sudden, I started having doubts. For instance, when am I going to see civilization again? 

The hike just started. It got so bad to the point that the group was a half an hour ahead of me, and three counselors had to help me up each step. So then I thought, Nothing could get worse from here. Luckily, two other kids were with me. However, one of them was my arch nemesis. If things couldn’t get worse. But, this year we became friendlierish. And for the other kid, we didn’t know each other well. As we were walking, we stumbled against a rock that had a chain. Somehow that was the easiest rock which was not slippery at all — while there were much more dangerous and harder rocks. My friends and I were trying to survive. Not only was the hike physically draining, so too emotionally as well. Not only was I on the hardest hike of my life but an emotional rollercoaster too. I felt really bad for the counselors, but they were actually very encouraging. Maybe it’s because they were getting their paycheck in two days… Yup, you just heard me, folks! My camp decided to take us on a disgusting, dirty, and — in my opinion — a dangerous hike before we have packing day.

Packing day is when we pack up our abnormally nauseating clothes and other luggage that is completely destroyed, dump them in our trunks, and leave a nice “I’m back” present to campers parents. Not only is it horrific laundry, but it’s seven hours of laundry time. No exaggeration! And, this is just for one month! Imagine two months.

Just in case something happened to me, I already wrote a letter to my mom before: 

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for everything! I love you, and I’ll never complain about being bored again! 

Love,

Miri

All of a sudden, my counselors said, “Miri, why don’t you try to lead the hike.”

I was so sure that they were joking, I was cracking up. But, they were serious all right. So for a couple of minutes, I led the hike (and people wondered why the hike took more time for us). Three hours later, we finally reached the top! All there was were plums and cookies. What a great way to give us energy! Wow, I feel like I should get an award for this #mostlikelytonotsurvivethehike. Not only is Bear Mountain known for hiking but also its tower, which was not as bad. Since my so-called acquaintance and I were the only people there, we walked up the tower. For every step I took, I thought Wow, what a great workout I’m getting! Right before the last step to the top, my ‘friend’ slipped and twisted her ankle. I felt mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was funny because what are the odds of walking up a crazy big hill and falling down on a stair and what goes around comes around, aka Karma. However, I also felt bad because — what a pain in the neck. 

After, I helped her down the staircase step by step. When we got back down, there was a van with a counselor. However, the counselor said there’s not enough room in the van. To picture this, think it’s like going to the school nurse with a headache and she/he gives you a bandage and says, “put it on your stomach.” We have all been in the situation before and know how that works out.

Anyways, when we got back down, we thought that the hike was over. My counselors started to crack up. They said you only did the hike halfway. All we have is just downhill. Oh, I knew this hike was going to be downhill since the beginning.

Thank goodness downhill was so much easier! Maybe it’s because I officially became a hiker. Or, it’s because I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. Either way, I still have a story to tell. When I finished the hike, I heard a couple of kids complaining. I thought we should have a party together. We would call it the pity party. Instead, they were complaining that they “didn’t get enough exercise from the mountain.” Later, I found out they were serious when they went on a run. 

Two days later, I finally arrived home! The second I got home, I ran into my shower, and then I ate a multigrain bagel with cream cheese, aka a normal lunch. Because a lunch for my camp was potato chips, and breakfast was muffins. Last but not least chicken nuggets were a snack. Although I enjoyed most of camp, I was happy to be home. From my personal camp experience, not only did I learn survival skills but to appreciate home. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but this is what I learned from the hikes: First, you can become closer and friendlier to a person who you were once not on great terms with, and life can be a rollercoaster at times. Sometimes you can be on the top and go straight to the bottom. When we are at the bottom, it can still be very difficult to climb up the ‘steep hill.’ But, when we go in, we must have a positive attitude. A positive attitude can make a huge impact on the whole situation. And vice versa. Whatever our experience is, it’s part of a bigger picture.

The End

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