Sunday December 27th I had to be at the Kansas City airport by 4am because our plane to Atlanta was expected to take off at 5:45. Checking our luggage took a lot longer than was expected and so as soon as I got through security I didn’t even get to sit down before boarding the plane. I was lucky enough to get some sleep on the plane during our nearly two hour flight.
After arriving at the Atlanta airport several of us wandered around looking for food we settled on a place that I was able to get an egg-white spinach and cheese wrap. Upon inhaling that I found a spot to plug in my phone and then I laid across a couple chairs and passed out. Where I slept was not comfortable by any means, but I guess one could say that it was good preparation for what I was about to endure on this trip.
At 2 pm we took off with Ft. Lauderdale set at the destination. As one may or may not have guessed I napped on that plane as well. We all landed at the airport and I am sure that every girl made a beeline to the bathroom and then we all herded to the luggage claim. There we found some of the Outward Bound instructors. We had to take an airport bus to the airport and upon stepping off the bus a combination of the humidity and nerves I began dripping sweat. I began sweating because I knew the time that we had all been anticipating was coming next-we would find out who our crews would consist of and who we would be spending the next 13 days with.
They had us gather up in a circle and the instructors began to read off the names. I was not in the first group which had my good friend Larissa and I began to get nervous because I tend to be shy and I like to have at least one person I know. Next was the all girls group and I prayed that I would not be in that group for the sheer fact that while I may be awkward around guys I could not handle being around that many girls for that long and I know that it would make some aspects of the trip more difficult due to the fact that there would not be the guys to help with the physical aspects. To my surprise and satisfaction I was not in that group or the one after that. I was in the last crew which consisted of 3 boys and 4 girls including myself. Collectively we were all greek, but there 2 fraternities and 2 sororities represented.
After the names were read I was able to relax just a little bit because I did know the girls from class, but I knew that we would be a lot closer after the trip. Our group was one of two groups that would start at Flamingo camp ground and then paddle to basecamp. So we had a two and a half hour ride down to the tip of Florida and along the way I lost connection to the world.
Upon arrival at the campground we all saw a shooting star, but the overwhelming presence of mosquitos was concerning. We all raced to the bathroom with our suitcases to try and figure out the appropriate layers to put on to protect us from the pests that were waiting to strike outside. Dressed in long pants, long sleeves, thick socks, and a fleece we were semi-ready to tackle the outdoors. Following dinner we did duffle shuffle and moved our few clothes into our red dry bags that would be making the canoeing expedition with us. At this point we were all pretty beat and crawled into our tents and wondered what we were about to face the next morning.