The "Senior Night Experience" is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Anybody who has participated in it before keeps to themselves about it, so all one can really assume is that it is at night and is an experience.
I had attended Camp Dudley for the past three summers. Going into my Senior year, I felt like I would have my best summer yet. And it didn't disappoint. But near the end of the summer this mysterious night adventure awaited. I was nervous, but I didn't know what to expect. It was a lot different than anyone could've guessed.
We were sent deep into the woods near Stacy Brook at around 7:00. It would get dark soon. Along with our cabin's leadership, we were joined by legendary Navy S.E.A.L and tough guy Marlon Fisher. He gave us a handful of trail mix and gave us the lowdown on what we would be doing. He told us as soon as it was completely dark he would set off into the woods. He had done so many times and knew the way by heart. He would find his way back to the campsite, placing two red LED markers along the way: one on a big, dangerous rock and another on a turn in the path. After fifteen minutes had passed the cabin leaders would send the first camper into the woods. After all of us had gone in moderation, the leaders would follow. He then proceeded to hand us each a small whistle: if we had fallen and hurt ourselves or were dreadfully lost, we were to blow into these. Then he told us the order and set off.
I was third. My turn came way to fast. As soon as it did, I tried to set a good pace. I sang "You'll Never Walk Alone", one of my favorite hymns, to myself. I hadn't tripped yet when I started feeling plants crunch underfoot: I was off the trail. I immediately stopped still--the dark world swirled in my eyes and I bent down and shut them for a second. I stood up and looked behind me. There, in the distance, I saw a minuscule red light. Relief rushed through me as I carefully made my way through the foliage to the checkpoint. I had majorly overshot the turn.
The rest of the walk up to the rock went perfectly. As soon as I saw the final marker, I knew that I was close. The stream was very loud by then; I could feel the mist in the air. I took the rockier path all the way back to the lean-to where I reconvened--I couldn't believe I had just done it.
Thinks no back on it, I feel like I was needlessly scared. Nonetheless, fear is probably what pushed me to complete the walk so fast. My time was the fifth fastest of the year--and the fastest of anyone in my cabin. Not that I was trying to complete it quickly; I almost wanted it to last longer. It surely lived up to its name as an experience.
Even now that it is over, I am still not completely clear on what went on during the experience--simply because I couldn't see! That's part of what makes it great: sometimes everybody needs to close their eyes and let their fears lead them home.
"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."