Hickory Run: Ecstasy or Drudgery?

So many people say, “Oh, Hickory Run?”, like they have memories, when you ask them about the camping trip.

Oh what? Was it really fabulous or something you have recurring nightmares about?  I, for one, loved the camping trip very much. I wish we hadn’t had to leave at the end. For some reason lots of people seem to think that Hickory Run is the worst thing that ever happened to them. What’s wrong with it?

For one thing, the bathrooms are certainly the stuff of nightmares. Doors that don’t lock, toilets that get clogged and water that tastes like metal aren’t the sort of things that make people want to jump up and down. The cabins are splitting and the “beds” are hard as rocks. Some kids in my class complained about the long hikes and getting covered in dirt. But really, what’s the point of getting home after CAMPING if you don’t have a bit of dirt under your fingernails?

“I loved the camping trip,” says Thea Applebaum-Licht, June Gondi’s student.  “I felt so independent and free. If I were a teacher I would definitely take my class to Hickory Run.”

My cabin was cold, rickety and patched with newspaper. The walls were covered with cobwebs and there certainly wasn’t any insulation. But that made the small, smoldering fire in the mornings so much sweeter. Midnight snacks being forbidden made the smell of breakfast cooking so much more welcome. The hikes were tiring and hot, and woe befall you if you drank all your water, but then collecting firewood felt as relaxing as a long nap. The night we roasted smores was cold and dewy, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my warm sleeping bag. Then I looked up at the stars, and everyone went “oooohh!” at the same time. We tore ourselves away under duress and curled up in the fetal position for another icy night.

The accommodations might not have been great. Maybe the water was too cold, and maybe we overdosed on our daily iron content via the running water. But four days of camping at Hickory was an experience I’ll never forget, for good or bad.

~Photo by Jessa Agner