June 3, 2013

Summer Camp

Jon and I have just returned from 3 days and 5 nights camping in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. The funny thing is you will have to take my word for it that it was beautiful. I have no pictures to share. Despite the degree in photography and an exhibition record, I never take vacation photos. Which is not to imply that I don't take photos while on vacation. While others get the perfect, quintessential shot of Big Ben, I'm taking pictures of the broken plastic forks on the pavement. (OK, the plastic fork pictures are from Glasgow, not London. Regardless, the example does illustrate my point.)

The camping expedition was at the invitation of lovely friends getting married at Chestnut Ridge Park, near Morgantown, WV. Several days of organized adventures, quiet strolls, socializing, camping, grilling, lawn games, charades, music, kayaking, and more culminated in a fabulous diy / upcycled wedding ceremony and reception. I've "borrowed" a couple of shots from the photo sharing website to give you a taste.
The reception decorations were peppered with handmade, personal touches like this cake and cupcake stand made by the groom and bride's father out of an old maple tree from the bride's grandfather.
Rows of gleaming picnic benches decorated with burlap runners topped with salvaged glass bottles, moss, pinecones and dried sweet gum pods. So simple, elegant, and perfectly rustic. All the bottles will be recycled, the pinecones and sweet gum returned to their native habitats, and the burlap saved for future re-use. And I believe the moss was collected by a future bride for her wedding decor.

This is what I will remember from summer camp:
• finding a baby (rattle?)snake on the Rattlesnake Trail at Cooper's Rock State Forest
• suicidal Elmo doll sprawled on the rocky trail at the bottom of a 50 foot rock wall, viewed from above (Upon return the next day, Elmo had wandered off. The leg that was twisted underneath his prone body, that surely looked broken, must not have been too bad. After all, Elmo is a plush doll, not flesh and bones.)
• crystal clear views of the Cheat River Gorge from the overlook at Cooper's Rock  
• Petrified dinosaur poop at the West Virginia Geological & Economic Survey mini museum (I forget the scientific name, but the first line of the tag really did identify the specimen, in bold type, as petrified dinosaur poop)
• replica of the first known (odd) bird, Archaeopteryx, at the same museum
• driving aimlessly around and above Cheat Lake trying to locate (unsuccessfully) the 4.5 mile walking trail at the lake only to discover later the same day that we had directions on the dashboard of the car - doh!
• millipedes, millipedes, millipedes
• leisurely kayak paddling on Bruceton Mills Lake (Big Sandy River above Bruceton Mills Dam)
• the welcome drop in air temperature stirring through the tent just before a thunder storm
• the sound of thunder bouncing and echoing off the ridges surrounding the camp
• outdoor movie time - camp chairs, white bed sheet, digital projector, popcorn popped over an open fire, and the absolute most perfect summer camp movie selection: Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom
• playing charades for the first time and not sucking at it (perhaps not the most obvious choice for those of us introverts with social anxiety, but a fun challenge nevertheless)
• the amazing amount of time, effort, thoughtfulness and creativity that went into the wedding decorations (and the decorations themselves!)
• most of all, the amazing group of family and friends gathered to celebrate with the bride and groom, everyone lending a hand to set up for the ceremony and reception, pitching in to prepare food, and tearing down and cleaning up afterwards

No comments:

Post a Comment