Two years ago at this time, I was leaving for Beaver Island with my friends Alyssa and Amanda, along with the 9 other people in our “Biking Beaver Island” class. My undergrad honors program offered some unique courses, so when I saw a week-long class that entailed taking a ferry to a small Michigan island and biking all week, I pounced on it. And I dragged along Alyssa and Amanda.
We learned a lot about ourselves and about each other throughout this trip. For example, Alyssa and Amanda don’t like biking. None of us particularly likes camping. We all hate geology.
Our professor announced that we would have a “best fossil” contest and a “coolest rock” contest. I couldn’t find a single fossil, so Amanda let me borrow one of hers…and it won. The rock contest didn’t happen.
There was no fitness requirement for this class, and our professor assured us that we would ease into the biking (however, our professor has also biked across the nation twice and probably had a different definition of easy).
We biked 26 miles on the first day.
Alyssa hurt her knee on the first day and was down for the count the rest of the week, so she followed us all in a large van with the director of the honors program and a map. Amanda loathed the biking so much that I’m pretty sure she would have given her knee to ride along.
Aside from the biking, the geology curriculum for this class was intense; 8 weeks worth of material was squeezed into 1 week. This is especially challenging if you don’t like geology.
We were so miserable that our dramatic selves were tempted to swim home. To combat our misery, we tried to look on the bright side and find things to be thankful for. This quickly escalated into the “I love” game, where we sarcastically emoted our appreciation for the worst.
- I love how bad my shoes smell.
- I love that my towels are still wet from 24 hours ago.
- I (Alyssa) love how there’s no hand dryer in the bathroom because there are paper towels, but there are no paper towels left…and I love that I decided to wipe my hands on my pants which will now never dry.
- I (Karen) love that I took a used paper towel out of the garbage to dry my hands.
- I love that in pictures of this week I won’t be able to tell what day it is because I’m wearing the same outfit.
- I love watch alarms…and I love that Amanda’s went off every 5 minutes for 6 hours.
- I love how Amanda got called for every single hard question.
- I love that I can be cold, hot, sweaty and sunburned all at the same time.
- I love how I’m wearing two different shades of fluorescent right now.
- I love how someone fell into a giant mud hole 36 miles into a 37 mile trip, and I especially love that it was Amanda.
- I love how we played rummy with the other halves of 2 Euchre decks and it took us 3 rounds to figure it out.
- I love that everything I brought with me in this trip is now damp and smells like wet paint.
Our “I love” game was hilarious, and it may have saved our friendship.
Looking back, this trip rocked (although I would have taken a failing grade to bring the ferry back early).