Ninjas in the Night

A camper’s recollection of a rain-soaked camping trip

| 07 Mar 2022 | 10:04

As our counselors yell at us to wake up early in the morning for a daunting canoe trip across the vastness of the lake, we cling to sleep. The rain drumming on our tent drives us deeper into our sleeping bags, protected from the chilling temperatures. Finally, we work up the courage to leave the sleeping bags, and the cold attacks us like needles sticking our half-asleep bodies. I reach over to grab my clothes, and feel a large puddle of rainwater that had gathered on one side of our tent, where my bag was. I struggle to open the drenched bag of clothes with heavy eyelids, in the cramped two-person tent.

Once we are ready, we brace ourselves. I open the tent with the broken zipper and carefully take a step onto the wet grass, like I’m not sure it’s safe to touch. The harsh downpour from the sky splatters on our shivering bodies.

The river we camped next to is blocked by a thick screen of mysterious fog. It’s like looking out the window of a plane and seeing clouds upon clouds. The trees sway like gas station floats in the heavy winds that blow through our camp. The ominous fog rolls down the rushing river, as thunder booms in the distance.

As we pack our canoes by the light of brief lightning strikes for the final trip back to the pickup point, we pray for the rain to take a break, just for a second. And yet, it just keeps coming.

With the weather against us, we load crate after crate of uneaten rotten apples, peppers, and a half-full bucket of disgusting sun butter. As we triumphantly load the final crate and hop in our canoes, we dread the cold paddle back. The wind slaps against our faces. We make our way up the river, disguised by the fog like ninjas in the night.

Then, finally, like a Christmas miracle, there is a break in the rain. There is a small opening in the fog, where the sun magically finds its way through the dark. We all group up underneath the refreshing warmth from the ball of fire in the sky. We bask in the light, still surrounded by the dark, for what feels like hours. We never want to leave.