"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
March 18th, 2012
There are all varying degrees of “roughing it” when you go on an adventure. When I first started traveling, roughing it consisted of sleeping in a tent outside; but that didn’t last for long.
One of my favorite “roughing it” experiences occurred during my first solo backpacking trip to Belize, on a trip to Barton Creek Outpost. Barton Creek Outpost is a family run lodge near Belize’s Pine Forest Reserve. Complete with underwater caverns, rope swings, and free camping, my friends and I decided it would be the perfect place to spend a few idyllic days. Getting there was half the experience. It was a two hour ride over dirt roads through some of the thickest parts of the Belizian jungle, at one point our little minivan even had to drive through a wide stream to get to the road on the other side.
Upon our arrival, the guys and I set up our hammocks, while the girls set up a tent that promptly collapsed on them. Watching them struggle with the tent made me recall the many reasons I had brought a hammock instead. A hammock is smaller, easy to pack, keeps you away from the insect infested jungle floor, and can keep you dry in rainy weather, provided you have a tarp.
Within fifteen minutes of pitching camp, my friend David had a roaring fire going, and a simmering pot of ramen noodles was cooking. The dinner of champions. One of the things I have never been able to get used to while roughing it is surviving on a base diet of ramen noodles, peanut butter and the occasional snickers bar. This diet seems to be customary for most teen backpackers, but I’m picky. Halfway through the trip, I caved and ate out more than once!
Halfway through the night, I awoke to the sound of one of the girls screaming frantically “It’s pouring! Oh my gosh! My stuff!” Only two of the hammocks had tarps and while I sat back and thanked God for my tarp, the others ran in a frenzied rush around our site, gathering backpacks, cooking utensils and clothing. It was a tropical rain, which means sheets of rain so thick that I couldn’t see more than five feet in front of me. I jumped out of my hammock to help and landed up to my shins in a puddle. A few wet minutes later a very soaked group of rather miserable girls huddled beneath a tarp, trying to stay warm.
Soon, the boys came splashing through the downpour to join us, with the news that the tent had collapsed, dumping gallons of water onto them. We waited. And waited. The rain showed no signs of letting up. Twenty minutes later we dashed out into it again and ran for our lives towards the Lodge, rain sheeting down on us with the same force as a shower. The Lodge was dry and warm, and soon we were comfortable again, and left with an experience that while being a miserable one at the time, has always been one of my fondest memories.
Most of my experiences with roughing it have not been as extreme as this one, and I would never pass up the chance for an adventure. However, whenever traveling gets me into an uncomfortable situation, I remind myself that it will make an interesting story later on!