Mission Review: Camping Trip, Sept 9-11, 2011

Campers pose for a group photo right before leaving Blackwater River State Park Sunday afternoon.

Last weekend, fourteen crewmembers and four visitors (including two from the USS Jubilee) enjoyed the absolutely beautiful great outdoors at Blackwater River State Park during the Continuum’s Fall camping trip.  And once again, the weather was perfect.  Truth is, we’ve always been that fortunate: there has only been one camping trip where we’ve ever had to deal with rain, and this certainly wasn’t it.  If only we were so lucky with our yard sales.

After weeks of preparation and anticipation, Friday morning finally came.  September 9.  Day one of the camping trip.  I rendezvoused with Kaydmaw and Bob Fass, and the three of us proceeded to our destination.  We arrived at Blackwater around 3 p.m. to find Katie Cline had already beat us there and set up.  From there, the rest of the crew slowly started coming in.  Continuum members helped one another set-up their tents, in some cases, even after the sun had set.  (One of the greatest things I like about our group is members always willing to help others).

The crew getting lunch Saturday afternoon.

It’d been a few years since we went to Blackwater.  They renovated a few years back, adding gravel to their sites instead of dirt.  Everything from the individual sites to the restrooms were looked great.  We had reserved seven of those sites: six for our members and one for our kitchen and dining area.  All of them were within walking distance with one another, and all within the same circle save one; we took what Blackwater had left, and unfortunately, that didn’t leave us any choice.

We had spent most of Friday evening near and around a campfire, some venturing down a nature trail looking for alligators (they didn’t find any), some gazing at the moon through a telescope (the night sky looks a lot different without any city lights interfering with the view), but all talking with one another, enjoying each other’s company before finally going to bed.

The next morning, the group waited patiently as our chef Bruce Dolan prepared breakfast: scrambled eggs, grits, sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, & coffee.  From there and throughout Saturday, group participants did several different things: some went to the playground, some headed down to the beach, some played games, some quietly read.  All of us at some point discussed ideas and shared what was going on in our lives.  There are never any structured activities at our camping trips, except for maybe our meals.  All of it is “low tech;” the most advanced piece of technology was some kindles (unless you want to count the vehicles we drove, which newer models are highly computerized).

Tammy Allen and Hayden Bilsback, roasting some marshmallows Saturday evening.

For lunch, we enjoyed Taco Salad, and for dinner, chicken with broccoli-rice and squash.  And then it was back to above mentioned activities.  After the sun set, we started our campfires and roasted marshmallows, a favorite Continuum tradition.

By the time the sun rose Sunday, none of us were looking forward to heading back home.  Nevertheless, we ate our breakfast, played a bit more, and then started packing up.  We left around 1:15 p.m., shortly after we were supposed to.

The camping trips are a great break from real life.  But it’s also a chance for us to spend more time with one another and, I believe, to strengthen our interest in the Continuum and STARFLEET.  People had expressed interest in doing another one in the Spring, possibly at another site: maybe Fort Pickens or someplace in Alabama.  Wherever we choose, I have no doubt Continuum members will great anticipate their new camping excursion.

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