A few months ago a friend and I were sitting on my couch brainstorming what type of bachelorette party our mutual friend would enjoy most. Our friend is an artistic type, so we were brainstorming all of the most creative things to possibly do.
“What about a camping trip?” my girlfriend suggested, “With a lazy river! And s’mores!”
SOLD! What group of girls WOULDN’T want to float along a river, drinking beer and get a great tan for our strapless dresses?
The trip was planned for a weekend in early September. All along we were thinking of the crisp, fall weather and great smells of campfires. And s’mores.
Six of us met at the bachelorette’s house and strategically packed two cars with tents, blankets, pillows, coolers, snacks, sleeping bags and beer.
We were happily on our way, stopping briefly for gas, Starbucks and potty breaks. The sun was shining and the air was warm enough to feel soothing, without being hot.
Once we reached our campsite we unpacked and had everything set up in what seemed like minutes. We all changed into our swimsuits and grabbed our inner tubes, excited for the “Lazy River” experience.
Around the moment we all slipped into our swimsuits, we started to realize maybe this weather wasn’t ideal for an afternoon in the water. We each added an extra layer on top of our suits – some wearing shorts, others adding a t-shirt. We were going to float down a river and it was going to be AWESOME.
We reached the river and inflated our tubes. Kayakers and canoers passed us, bundled in layers of fleece and windbreakers. We laughed nervously as we saw how many layers they had on.
One woman stopped and laughed at us while saying, “I hope you have more than those tiny bikinis to keep you warm out there! Bring some liquid courage!” We had beer and whiskey. We were fine.
The moment we stepped into the river and the wind whipped through our hair, we were less than fine. We were a little chilly but the stubborn attitudes in all of us were determined to make this a trip of a lifetime for our bachelorette. Three miles down a river in 65º water isn’t THAT cold. We could totally do it.
Three hours later, we had only traveled a quarter of a mile and our lips were turning blue. Another girl and I were shaking so violently from the cold, she finally put her foot down.
“JESS AND I MIGHT DIE. WE NEED TO GO BACK.”
Now we had to hop sandbar-to-sandbar, swimming through the frigid water in between to eventually get back to where we started. Against the current. In 65º water. WE ARE TOUGH GIRLS. WE CAN DO THIS.
Once we finally reached the car, we realized all of our towels were in the car we’d left at the end of the three-mile float, so we would have to drive back to camp dripping wet and still shivering. That warm sun wasn’t nearly as warm as we had thought it was three hours ago.
Eventually, we made it back to camp, took hot showers and warmed up with as many layers of fleece and windbreaker that we could. Those kayakers knew what they were doing, so we followed their lead.
As we enjoyed the fire and started roasting our dinner, a kind man from the campsite across the way stopped over.
“I don’t mean to interrupt ladies, but it seems like you have a pretty big spread here and there is a big storm coming.”
As he pointed to the sky all of our eyes followed and we saw the infinite blackness ahead. Oh, crap.
As quickly as possible, we packed every ounce of what we had out into the cars. We grabbed a single bowl of pasta salad and a pan of s’mores bars and headed to the biggest tent. We all snuggled together and passed the bowl of pasta salad and s’mores bars around the tent, taking turns eating what became our dinner.
It ended up being a trip of a lifetime for the bachelorette. Turns out some of her favorite things are storms, whiskey and swimming. We managed to cram them all into one astoundingly chilly, but eventful 24 hours.
While it was memorable and we all grouped together in a bonding experience we will never forget, I am really hoping the weather at her outdoor ceremony in October is more kind to all of us.
Jess Bedsole is a Graphic Designer, turned Web Designer turned Social Media Producer who has a burning passion for blogging (& over-sharing). She has a constant “Go get ‘em” attitude & is a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. Her goal is to inspire others to make better decisions or share their latest epiphanies. A dedicated do-it-yourselfer, Jess can be found blogging about newlywed life, home ownership, crafty projects & emotional meltdowns at Sparkles & Crafts and as a monthly guest author at Parenting Without A Parachute.