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Forty reasons to love the woods

NINA KNIGHT / The Stanford Daily

I spend my summers staffing at a wilderness camp based in Vermont. Along with several young girls and a co-staff, I lead canoeing and hiking trips located within the Northeast and Canada. While this isn’t an internship at Google, I honestly wouldn’t want anything else. I was a camper for nine years before starting on staff last summer; the wilderness is a second home for me, and I hope others can appreciate why. Below are 40 reasons I love the woods:

  1. Fresh air unpolluted by car exhaust
  2. I feel like Hatchet from the book “Hatchet”
  3. Strong women supporting strong girls
  4. Food always tastes better after hiking eight miles
  5. The ground underneath the tent feels soft when you’re sore and sleep deprived
  6. A break from society
  7. No depressing news updates concerning the current U.S. government
  8. Wool socks are my best friends
  9. The sound of rain on a nylon tent is peaceful and serene
  10. The sound of rain on raincoats while paddling in the middle of a lake is less serene, but I’ll take it over thunder
  11. Your clothes smell smoky from the campfire
  12. If you put your wet socks by the fire, they get dry and warm
  13. When it rains during meal time, you can all snuggle underneath the tarp
  14. Campers love when you can show them you how far you’ve gone on the map
  15. You know you’re partially guessing on where you are on the map
  16. Your iPhone’s compass app works even on airplane mode
  17. If the wind is in your favor while canoeing, you can hold onto each other’s boats and “sail” down the lake instead of paddling
  18. When I was 13, we were floating down a river with a strong current, and one of my staff read “Harry Potter” to us for three hours
  19. Rest Day’s pancake breakfast!
  20. You always eat the tastiest dinner (Annie’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese) after the hardest day
  21. Receiving handwritten letters from friends back home
  22. Finding the perfect two trees to set up your hammock between
  23. Dipping your cap in the lake when it’s hot and putting it back on
  24. Striking a match on a rock makes you feel cool
  25. Watching a float plane land on the water with your resupply
  26. Even the tough parts make for good stories
  27. My Common App essay was a story from my 28-day canoe trip in northwestern Quebec in which my boat sank
  28. Running rapids in canoes is exhilarating
  29. The sunburns are worth it
  30. You can all sing really loudly, and no one can hear you
  31. One time, a kind, old French-Canadian couple caught my crew fish for dinner
  32. If you have to wake up early, you can see the sunrise and the morning fog clear off the water
  33. Carrying everything on your own back makes you feel self-sufficient and capable (because you are)
  34. Carrying a canoe on your back on a narrow trail through the woods is very fulfilling. Painful, but fulfilling.
  35. You always end stronger than you began, physically and emotionally
  36. If you burn a dead branch from a pine tree, it sends little fireworks up into the air
  37. You realize time is a human construct
  38. It’s fun to tell campers that fact when they ask whether it’s time to stop paddling
  39. Having a camper tell you they now love the woods makes every rainy day worth it
  40. Friendships are forged in the tears of long days and burnt marshmallows.

 

Contact Nina at ngknight ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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