Shall We Go Zip Lining?

Shall We Go Ziplining? | Majestic Adventures

So let’s be real here guys…heights? Not my thing.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go zip lining. This was not my first activity choice. My first choice was a 3 v. 3 basketball game, which I didn’t want to miss. Lucky for me, basketball wasn’t until that evening. Translation: I had plenty of time to go zip lining.

Yeah…lucky me.

Zip lining in and of itself sounds like a bucket and barrel full of fun. (And I’m not being sarcastic here.) It’s not the zip-lining that’s the problem…it’s that whole height factor. I mean…yeah. There’s not really much more that needs to be said about that.

I got my harness on and stood in line, waiting for my turn. I was feeling pretty good about it, too. This is going to be no big deal, I thought. I mean, how hard is it to walk up the steps to the platform and slide down? This will be easy.

That’s how everyone was making it look anyways.

Everything was going fine until I started walking up the steps with my friend. I thought, is it too late to turn back? Probably…I’m up here…I can’t back out now…Fear can’t win…can’t be that hard, right…I guess I’m going zip lining, folks…

My hands were gripping both sides of the rail and I was not going to look down.

At the top, the zip liner dude in charge of the whole shebang checked my friend’s harness. After, he checked mine. Adjusted it. Checked mine again. And again. It was making me nervous.

As he admitted my friend and I onto the platform, our harnesses having passed the safety inspection, I had to ask the question that was running through my mind. Because there was no way I was going down without asking it.

“Um…is there some sort of weight limit on this thing or something?”

Zip Line Dude looked up at me and said, “Yeah, only 1,400 pounds.”

I laughed, trying to brush off my nervousness. “Oh, right, so, I should be safe then, hahaha…I’m not going to fall…”

So now I stood up there, on that platform twenty-five or so feet in the air, with railing on three of the four sides. (I never stopped gripping said railing.) It was daunting. Totally not a fan. I searched the people below for my brother, who had just finished his own zip lining expedition, and was now safely on the ground. He waved.

I took a few deep breaths as I watched my friend go down the zip line. It looked like fun, and I did want to do it. I was just a little…uncomfortable, up there where only birds, airplanes, trees, and mountaintops are supposed to be.

I didn’t want fear to keep me from trying something new, but this was…eergghhh. I’ve been listening to this great new song that was released two days ago, and I thought of it as I was up there. It’s called Fearless by Jasmine Murray. (I’ll share it at the bottom. It’s awesome!) Fearless. Well, shall we go zip lining?

“You can sit down and go off that way,” Zip Liner Dude said when I didn’t really make a move towards actually, you know, zip lining.

“Okay…yes…that sounds like a good plan…” Somehow that option sounded safer than just hurling myself off the edge. I don’t know.

I sat down, and I could hear my friends cheering me on from below. I closed my eyes. I’m going to do this. I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to…GO!

With a scream (terror or thrill, not too sure) I was off, speeding down the zip line…it was soooooo fun guys! I went a lot faster than I thought I would, even as I scooted off the edge. Some people before me tilted upside down, but I was just excited about doing it upright, I didn’t even think about going upside down. Not that I would want to if I had happened to think about it.

I was mega excited as I regrouped with my friends. I DID IT! That was a feeling of great accomplishment.

And hey, if you have 3 minutes and 3 seconds, I really like this song. I think you might too! Happy Music Monday (on a Sunday, because I don’t feel like waiting, haha.)

Much love, Emma xoxo

Behind the song for anyone interested…

 

Kozmo the Explorer

kozmo-the-explorer

I have a black lab mutt named Kozmo. That’s him, pictured above, bathing in the summer sunlight, one of his favorite pastimes. And of course I’m bias, as every pet owner should be, but I think he’s the most adorable puppy-wuppy on the planet.

This puppy-wuppy also happens to be eleven years old…so he’s not much of a puppy anymore. But like any mother and her child, I shall always refer to my dog as my baby, no matter how old and gray he gets. We’re best buddies, my mutt and I.

The one thing about Kozmo is that he likes to explore. What dog doesn’t? I can only imagine how monotonous it must be, trapped in the same fenced backyard, day after day, year after year. Like Rapunzel in Tangled, they must wonder what’s out there, beyond their tower.

Kozmo likes to explore beyond his tower when he can, ever since he was a little bitty puppy. Even in his grandpaw-old age,  don’t let him fool you. He still gets excited and can run fast when he wants to.

It wasn’t too long after we got the Koz, a sleek little puppy only a couple months old, that we lost him. He was so tiny (smart?) that he decided to look for the one fence picket that’s spaced a little farther apart than the rest and squeeze right through to freedom. Finally we found him curled up underneath the steps in the garage. I guess as a puppy, the world seemed too big and intimidating for him to go far. Another time he did the same thing, and the neighbor lady caught him. Eventually he grew too large for such shenanigans, thank goodness.

When that happened, Kozy decided that the back gate was a good way to escape. If we happened to forget to close it while working in the yard, he would take advantage of the perfect opportunity. Kozmo would make sure we’re not looking then bam! He’s gone. Off to explore the neighborhood. What’s really fun is trying to catch him. The Koz has a tendency to wait until you’re five feet away before running off again. It’s lovely, truly ‘tis.

Too big to fit through the fence and with the back gate securely locked, Kozmo had to figure out something else. His new plan of escape? When the screen door was open to let in some fresh air, he would push it open with his nose and walk down the stairs, to freedom, the door slamming shut behind him.

This got really annoying, because it would happen all. the. time. Whenever the screen door would slam shut, someone would shout, “Was that the dog?” One time Dad, The Bro and I were working in the yard. Kozmo needed a drink of water so we put him inside. Later, I couldn’t find the dog anywhere, but I finally figured out he’d escaped through the screen door.

To solve this problem we bought a baby gate to put up whenever we wanted the screen door open. It works great!

Oh, and here’s a question for you! Have you ever had your dog run away while hosting a costume party? Kozmo thinks that all our friends come to see him. He’s a very extroverted dog (around most humans; we never did really get around to socializing him with other animals). Using the push-on-the-screen-door-and-escape trick he was able to waltz out into the front yard as we were greeting our guests for the costume party. And off he went, exploring the neighborhood again, before any of us could stop him.

The Bro chased after him first, his black cape flying behind him, as he was dressed like a phantom. Soon he returned, unsuccessful, and Dad went in his place. Kozmo went through a few people’s backyards, but Dad finally got him back. But what’s really funny you guys, is that my parents even dressed up for our costume party. And guess what Dad was? A bum. He ran through people’s backyards, chasing our dog, dressed as a bum. I thought it was hilarious. Dad…not so much.

Another good one is when we got a phone call from some lady, her saying, “I have your dog here. He’s such a good dog. He hasn’t even tried to get the chicken off my grill!”

Yes, he’s such a good dog. Although he’s not a chicken thief, so #score! No, in all honesty, I would say that my puppy is a very good puppy. Once in a while he’s a little naughty, but for the majority of his eleven and a half years, he has been the best (also only) puppy I’ve ever had. He has to put up with me running into him in the night (it’s dark and he’s black) so I can deal with him running away. It’s a “crazy little thing called love”. (Hey Mom…you know what that is? It’s a song. Hahaha…)

Perhaps in a later post I’ll compile some of Kozmo’s silly little quirks, but for now, let me ask you: Can anyone relate? 😀

Much love, Emma xo

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3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience

3 Tips for an Improved Sledding Experience | Majestic Adventures

Sledding.

It’s a wonderful winter pastime; a true classic for kids and adults alike. I love sledding. It’s so fun. Of course, in order to sled, you need three things, all of which are essential.

  1. A hill to sled down,
  2. A sled to sled with,
  3. Snow to sled on

All three together, you have an afternoon of fun waiting to happen. For years I have enjoyed whizzing down the hill, running back up, and sliding down again. My brother and I have made ramps and bumps to hit and invented a couple games to play.

Through it all we have accumulated quite a few sledding stories. From those sledding stories, tidbits of knowledge. And those tidbits of knowledge? Well folks, that’s what I am going to share with you today. If anything, my trial and error won’t become your own–that is, you’ll learn something from my past (and failed) experiences.

Sledding Tip #1: Don’t Walk on the Track

There is always a section for walking and a section for sledding. These are always two distinct areas; never one in the same. That way as you’re walking up, other people can sled down. As you’re sledding down, you won’t hit people walking up. Nice, right? Another plus to this is that when the snow freezes hard, your track won’t be a frozen strait of footprints. A frozen track of footprints makes for a bumpy ride. Don’t walk on the track.

Sledding Tip #2: Be Wary of Ice 

Ice is the best thing to sled on because of the speed factor. To feel the wind against your face as you speed down the hill…ahhhhh!!! It’s so fun. One year we arrived to the sledding hill only to discover that everything was covered in a layer of ice. Of course we had to stay and try it out. We slipped and shuffled our way up the hill and soared down. It was a blast! Except we couldn’t make the return trip up. The result of trying was falling flat on your back. Ice is fun, but only in limited quantities!!

Another potential hazard of ice-sliding is not being able to stop your sled when you reach the bottom and possibly hurting yourself. (My mom will be nodding and saying to herself, Mm-hmm, when she reads this.) But as long as you avoid the big ice boulders where snowplows have dumped their snow, then you’re perfectly fine!

Sledding Tip #3: Know How to Steer

I have been sledding for years. I know how to steer a sled. But if you saw me last week, sledding down the hill, trying to hit a snow ramp? You would’ve said to your buddy, “Wow, that chick needs to learn how to steer.” As you watched me circle and circle and circle and circle my way down.48-in-wham-o-snowboogie-alpine-rocket-foam-sled-15498

Last year I broke my sled while sledding. I really love these foam ones because they are nice to land on after hitting a ramp. They are pretty sturdy. Assuming you don’t land on the handle a bunch of times and break it off, like I did. When I found two new foam sleds at Salvation Army, I was stoked! Last week my brother and I got to try them out for the first time. But for the life of me, I just. can’t. stop. spinning. And I have no idea why! I’ve tried shifting my weight, sitting on the back of the sled, the front of the sled, lying on my stomach (I can go mostly straight when I do that). I usually sit on my knees, you see. Anyways, before I had it 100% figured out, I thought I would hit the ramp we made.

Bad choice. Just as I was about to hit the ramp, I turned sideways and demolished it. After rebuilding, I tried again. Only this time, I hit it backwards, flew in to the air, and landed on my side. My brother encouraged me to try it again, so I did…and I hit it straight on!! The landing was less than graceful though.

Oh, here’s another one I just remembered. Instead of ramps, my brother and I decided to make these speed bumps down the track. We dug small trenches and built bumps and hit them. The Bro went and then it was my turn. But as I went down, my sled turned sideways.

“Don’t hit it sideways!” he yelled, but I didn’t hear. As he later described to me, I looked like Superman slamming through a skyscraper and skidding to a stop, leaving a dirt trail behind me.

Practice makes perfect and once I figure out this doggone sled, I should be able to steer just fine. (It’s not me!)


Okay y’all…I think that’s it! All I can think of at the moment, anyways. 😉 All the information in this post has been gleaned from past and personal experiences, though I do not claim to be an expert. 😉  I’d love to hear about your sledding experiences in the comments below. If there’s one thing I love about winter, it’s the sledding…it’s so fun!

Until the next time, folks! Happy Almost New Year!

Emma xo

The Case of the Missing Ring

 

Case of the Missing Ring | Majestic Adventures It’s only been a few days, but I think you’ll get a kick out of how I lost my ring (like I lost my earring a few days ago). So I thought heh, why wait?

Ironically, I lost my ring because I was trying not to lose it.

Let me explain.

My brother and I met some friends at a ball field to play some baseball. I love a good baseball game. I can usually hit a double; sometimes a triple. That might be because there’s only two or three people on a team and one, possibly two of them are in the outfield. But it’s still really fun.

As I was going up to bat, I noticed that my ring was starting to slip off my finger. I bought my ring, a heart-shaped opal ring (really pretty; I love it) while we were on vacation a few years ago. Since it was coming off my finger pretty easily, I slid it into my pocket and carried on as usual.

The game was over a while later (though I can’t remember who won. We can just say that my and my brother’s team won. I’m cool with that). The bro and I got on our bikes and headed home. We were in a hurry because we were going to see a concert with the family later that night, and I was really looking forward to it.

I got home and was getting ready, and that’s when I realized…my ring was gone. (Sounding familiar to those who read my last post?? Aack.) After checking the pockets of my jeans, I began to get frantic because it. was. not. there.

Where on earth was this thing??????????

We had to leave soon!!!!!! I don’t like to leave things unfinished (i.e. a search for a missing piece of jewelry).

I had really gotten used to it being on my finger, so my middle finger felt a little naked and cold.

Same tune, different words: everyone began to help me look for it. I searched everywhere. I had carried my clothes to the laundry room so I checked the whole path that I had taken. I got on my hands and knees and looked around the bathroom. My brother and I got on our bikes and back-tracked it to the ball field in search of this thing, checking the roads and everything.

Sigh. There were many tears. I couldn’t find it. I had to leave for the concert before I could find it. I was praying that I would, because I really loved that ring. It especially irked because I had been trying not to lose it but it was still lost!

Why do I lose things? I don’t mean to. I really do try to take good care of my stuff.

It’s just one of those things, I suppose.

Despite all that, however, it was a really great concert. I had a lot of fun.

Until I got home and was reminded that my ring was still gone. 😦

But you know what’s really cool?

I think God just picked my ring up from wherever I had really and truly lost it and plopped it right in front of me. Because the next morning, having still not found the ring, I ventured into our basement for something-or-other.

The light caught something just right, and in my peripheral vision I saw a glimmer. Simultaneously I felt a glimmer of hope as I turned, and looked….

In the middle of the basement floor was my opal ring.

And folks, I know that thing wasn’t there last night. I scoured those floors looking for it. Anyone for a miracle, folks? 😀

My ring was sitting right in the center. In the center!

Oh, glorious day! I was ecstatic, as you can well guess!! Ah, it was a happy day. Very happy indeed. The lost ring was indeed found. We can stamp that case closed!

But you know, it’s strange how used you can get to wearing a ring or a bracelet. It feels weird when you lose it and it’s not there anymore. (Not that I lost my bracelet last month or anything, no, why would you think I’d do something crazy like that???)

(FYI I found it. #score)

Yes, my ring and I were reunited. Would you believe me if I told you that two months later a prong in my ring became loose and the opal fell out while I was at a park?

Oh jewelry. I don’t think it agrees with me, but I wear it anyways. It keeps life interesting.

 

You Might Know How To Make A Fire…But Can You Actually Do It?

You Might Know How to Build a Fire...But Can You Actually Do it? | Majestic Adventures

I know how to make a fire from watching Survivorman and Bear Grylls and Man Woman Wild with my brother. The experts always say that it’s harder than it looks–but c’mon, how hard can it really be if you got matches, right? Hahahahahaha.

Rewind! I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I believe I’ve mentioned before…I’m not a big camper, peoples. So when I was asked last-minute to be a camp counselor at a Christian girl’s camp, I didn’t really…want to. Camping! Camping isn’t my thing! But as much as I’ve been doing it lately (three times this year) it might become my thing, hahahaha. Anyways, I felt like the Lord was telling me that being a camp counselor for one week was a good way to serve Him this summer. So, I went.

Between the other counselor and I, we had fourteen girls with us and they kept us busy. In spite of the busyness however, things were actually going just dandy! Every night everyone would participate in what the camp calls a “Great Special”–some form of game that’s great and special. 😉 Every night the Great Special changes. One night it was kickball. Instead of bases, you had to stand in piles of rotten sauerkraut and green beans. Yuk!

Tuesday night, however, was different. Instead of the whole camp doing the Great Special together, each counselor took their girls and built a campfire, had s’mores, and the girls put together and performed their own little skit. It was rather…intimidating. I never went to summer camp as a kid and it was my first year being a counselor at one. I felt thrown into it, but the other counselor with me had had camp experience which made me feel better. Still, I desperately wanted to do a good job.

We set the girls to work gathering small sticks and things to use for kindling. The sticks were placed into piles according to size, but much to my dismay, nearly everything around us was either damp or still green. Not very, but enough that I wondered how well this was going to work. Once we had a pretty good amount of sticks to start with, the girls left and began practicing their skit leaving us to get the campfire started.

“I know how to make a fire,” I told the other counselor.

“You do? Perfect! I will leave you to it then.”

I began to build the fire. Smallest things first, the tiniest twigs and other dry stuff that’s good for starting a fire. Then build a teepee around it with a little bit bigger, bigger, bigger, sticks. Making sure to leave a way to get the match down to the small kindling.

Meanwhile the camp director was making his way around to see how us counselors were doing with our campfires. When he checked mine, he said that it looked like a really good fire, though I had yet to light it. I felt proud. A little too proud, perhaps.

After he left, the girls performed their skit for us. It was hilarious, and very long. We lost track of time, and before we knew it an hour had passed. It was time for me to light the fire. I pulled out the tiny book of matches and stuck one, holding the flame to the twigs. As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs so I didn’t panic when it didn’t light on the first match. But as the second, third, fourth–twentieth match was lit and extinguished, I became overwhelmed and frustrated. It was nearly dark. I had forgotten my flashlight back at the cabin. I had a headache. The girls were all asking when they could have marshmallows.

Last match. I whispered a prayer before I struck it and held it to the kindling. I got a small flame! I blew gently to try and grow it. When the embers fizzled away, I wanted to cry.

“That was the last match,” I told the other counselor with me. “What do we do now?”

We used the walkies and asked the camp director to come down. I was extremely embarrassed; the feed went through to everyone else and I learned that the other group had a fire going. When the camp director came, he brought along a blow-torch of sorts. He said the same thing I thought–the kindling was bit too green, but we also needed a little more of it. I borrowed a camper’s flashlight because by now it was seriously dark, and helped gather. And finally–at long last–we had fire.

“Thank you so much,” I told the camp director as he stood. “The girls are so glad to have marshmallows!”

Maybe he knew I was still embarrassed. “You did a good job. The other group used dryer lint,” he told me.

We had a fire, everyone got a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers, and everyone was happy. In the end, I learned a couple important lessons to help me if there’s a next time…

1. Building a fire? Definitely harder than it looks

…especially on your first try. No matter how much you know about building one, it’s still a tricky business if everything’s not just so. There’s no shame in asking for help.

2. Don’t count your chickens before their hatched

especially if said chickens are a small book of matches. You go through them quicker than you think.

3. Have fun

because camp is about having fun. We still had a blast with the skit and spending time outside together and worst case scenario is eating a raw marshmallow and chocolate. Plus it’s making a memory.

4. Dryer lint

apparently really helps. Or a blow torch, but dryer lint is probably more accessible, especially at summer camp.

 

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite

 Lets go Fly a Kite | Majestic Adventures

♫♪Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights…♪♫

Yesterday afternoon I was humming this Mary Poppins song as my brother and I took our kites to the nearest place we could fly them. It’s been in my experience that our backyard isn’t the best place. It may or may not have to do with my tendency of letting the kite take as much string as it wants, even with a pine tree looming nearby.

Upon arrival, I was having a semi-hard time getting my kite to stay in the air. The wind was changing directions on us and coming in sporadic gusts. My brother’s kite, which in the sky I thought resembled a blue, green and pink striped flying stingray, caught the wind easily and had little-to-no trouble staying in the sky. His kite was soaring with the birds and mine was mingling with the worms.

“Want to fly mine so I can get yours in the air?” I had been trying for a good twenty minutes with no fruits to my labor, so I agreed. He handed me the little red handle to his kite and set to work.

Something about seeing the kite so high in the sky…. The field is open except along the fence line, where there are big tall maple trees, which is the direction my brother’s kite was flying. But it would be fine, I’m sure, so I let the string go, go, go, and the kite went higher, higher, higher. Soon I had all the string out.

The horror of horrors–the kite started to dip down, right towards the trees. The kite had been a gift from our grandpa and I knew my brother would be none too thrilled to have his kite stuck 50 feet in a tree. I turned tail and ran, pulling the string in at the same time.

When I turned back around, my brother exclaimed, “You were ten feet away from those trees! You’ve gotta be careful.”

Duly noted.

I began to give the kite more string so that I could eventually hang onto the little red handle. I’d dropped it while pulling the string in to save the flying stingray. A strong wind took the kite and pulled the string through my fingers and gave me string burn, the younger sibling of rope burn. It still hurts the same though.

Somehow in my attempt to regain my control, I got string burn on my forearm and where my elbow bends. More string burn to the fingers and I was done–it hurt and I let go of the kite.

The little red handle dragged along the ground as the kite gained more freedom, unrestricted from the string. “Oh no!” It began to lift off the ground, and it all happened so quickly that I didn’t do anything except stand and watch. It was five feet in the air when my brother turned around, jumped after his kite and heroically snagged it.

Now it was coming down. “It’s my kite and I love it!” He saved his kite from nose-diving into the trees by running as quick as he could.

As everything returned to normal, he told me that I should be more careful. He had that look like he thought it was halfway funny, but yet, not. I basically told him I hadn’t meant to let go, but fleeing from something that hurts is my natural reaction to pain. He told me he didn’t really trust my flying judgement anymore and I thought that I might agree with him. I really did–and do–need to be more careful.

In the end, my brother does still trust me. He proved that by actually letting me fly it again, since we never could get my kite in the air. I managed to safely maneuver it without any more close calls. And I say all’s well that ends well.

Right?

 

 

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Let’s Go On A Happy Adventure

Lets Go On A Happy Adventure | Majestic Adventures

For the past few summer nights, I’ve had the urge to go outside and catch fireflies. Instead, I stayed inside and watched them light up, all the while thinking, “It would be fun to go out there and catch some.” I felt like I was too old.

Rewind a little bit to the past winter. It hadn’t even snowed yet but I was already dreading it. Then a very timely thing happened. I read a blog post where the author said something to the effect of, “I never want to stop anticipating the beauty of the first snowfall.” Something clicked.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait for it to snow. What had happened to that eager anticipation for the glittery snowfall? As I got older I’d decided that snow was too bothersome. I realized that I didn’t want to be like that. I wanted to be excited again. The rest of the winter I remembered those words, and my attitude changed. In the morning, I woke up to a sparkling winter wonderland and smiled.

I doubt you expected to read a post about snow in July, but as I was sitting on our deck watching these fireflies, I was thinking, it’s kind of the same thing. At least in my mind it was. I’ll try and connect the dots for you, but if it still doesn’t form the picture, then it apparently is one of those things that only makes sense in my head.

Last night we had homemade elephant ears for supper and sat on our deck to enjoy the evening, which was beautiful. As expected, the fireflies soon made their appearance. I watched them and thought I should go out and catch some, but I didn’t. In a way I think I was afraid that it wouldn’t be as much fun anymore.

And then, pfft, I realized something: I’d gotten the same way about snow. My attitude had changed. But once I put the right perspective on it, I remembered that snow could be pretty amazing sometimes. (I say sometimes because I’m not a personal fan of shoveling 2-1/2 feet of the stuff every other afternoon. 😉 )

So last night I thought I’d try the same thing with the fireflies. I’d stop thinking I was too old for something I wanted to do and I’d just do it. I went inside, got a jar, chased them around the yard, and put them in my Ball mason jar. I didn’t care that I wasn’t the typical lightning-bug-catcher age. I just went with it. I didn’t go in thinking, too old, no fun, blah blech blug. And when I went in with the right attitude, I discovered that yeah, catching lightning bugs is still fun to me.

Your attitude towards the situation does make a difference. The snow can be good or bad–it depends on how you want to view it. You can be too old to catch fireflies in your backyard on a summer’s night–but only if you say so. You could absolutely fail your math test because you’re not an A+ math student, or you could go in trying your best.

And sure, there are some things that I’ll grow out of. But I don’t grow out of them because I feel like I have to; because I feel like I’m too old for them. If I’m going to grow out of something, I want it to be because I’m moving on with my life and going on to even more exciting things. My dolls might not go on outdoor adventures anymore, but I do. I go exploring all the time, something that I couldn’t do when I was little. I’ve told you guys about some of my adventures even: meeting that muskrat in the woods, for instance. Adding outrageous amounts of baking soda to a single batch of snickerdoodles.

SAM_2788

The rest of this summer, I’m going to go on happy and joyful adventures. I’m going to wonder why my lightning bugs won’t light up while they’re prisoner in my glass jar but never stop blinking when they’re free. I’m going to pick a gallon of wild black raspberries at the sacrifice of my arms and legs being full of scratches. I’m going to get sort-of lost on a bike ride and call my parents to figure out “Just where exactly am I and how far away is the nearest cross-road?”

And I’m going to go into every situation with a good attitude about it. Well, try to. Jesus is still working with me on the “every situation = good attitude” part. But we’ll get there.

Happy summer, guys. Go on adventures, and have fun with it.

xoxo Emma

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Me and the Raccoon

Me and the Raccoon

A while ago I posted Me and the Muskrat, in which I tell you about the time my brother and I went on a walk through the woods and a ferocious brown furry animal attempted to eat me (or so I thought at the time, in my panic-stricken state). This past Memorial Day weekend while I was camping with friends, I was reminded of my harrowing ordeal years ago, in which I met the masked creature of the night–the raccoon.

It all started one Sunday when my church announced that there would be a three-day tent camping trip in July. Awesome! I’d never been tent camping before–or camping in general as it’s not really my “thing”–so I was ready and even excited for the trip. It was going to be a lot of fun; we were going to be in the woods, eat s’more upon s’more, learn about God, and get eaten up by bugs.

I love this part!
I love this part!

When the day of departure arrived, 33-ish people met at the church to divvy into car pools and begin the three-hour drive to the campground. In order to save time, everyone had agreed to pack their own lunch so that we didn’t have to stop at a McDonald’s or Burger King on the way up. My lunch was mostly left uneaten in my bag, because not too long into the car ride, I began to feel a little car sick. Iiiggh.

So, understandably so, I was exceptionally happy to finally make it to the campground. Once there I began to feel better, and helped the others set up the large tents and carry the supplies to the little patch of dirt we’d call home for the next three days.

To make our trip go as smoothly as possible, the leader spelled out a few rules. One of those rules was “no food in the tents”. The reason for this, of course, was so that no wild animals would smell it and try to get it. Somehow that rule went in one ear and out the other, because along with the bag that contained my swimsuit and sleeping clothes, was the bag that also contained the uneaten PB&J and potato chips. Both went into the tent. I never even remembered.

The first day of camping went awesomely. We hiked through extremely hot sand and swam in extremely cold and clear water. We had s’mores around a campfire and when midnight came around and it was time to go to bed, I was exhausted.

I should’ve been all ready for bed–and I was, decked out in my pajamas with my teeth freshly brushed–except for one little, itsy bitsy, teeny tiny thing. I had to go to the bathroom.

This, my friends, is why camping isn’t my first choice of vacation. You have to walk a half mile to use the campground-shared bathroom.

I remembered and followed the buddy-system rule and asked my mother to accompany me, since she was like the only one who hadn’t fallen asleep in our tent yet. She agreed, only after telling me “You should’ve already!” Yeah…sorry!

We joined hands and set off down the trail, the only light coming from our flashlights. I played my flashlight along the edge of the trail, keeping it just ahead of my feet.

Everything happened so quickly. My light shone on something oblong-ish and furry. Before my mind could tell my feet to stop, I kicked it! Oblong and Furry squealed when it got kicked and I screamed. I yanked my hand free of Mom’s and darted down the path, not stopping until I heard my name being called. “Emma!”

I was gasping for breath after having ran most the trail, and I shook while I waited for my mother to catch up, whom I’d left in the dust.

“I heard a shriek and a squeal and then you were gone!” she gasped. “What happened?”

At the time, I swore that what I had kicked into was a skunk. But I wasn’t sprayed (thank goodness!) and Mom remembered some of the guys in our group spotting a raccoon earlier that day. It must have been a raccoon!

We made it to the bathroom and back without further incident, but we huddled together and swung our flashlights around at every little noise, in case we should quite literally “run into” the Masked Mammal again. But that one 3.734 second encounter was enough for me, so I didn’t feel too badly. I doubt the coon did either.

Two awesome and fun days later I still hadn’t seen, heard, or kicked the lil creature again, and now it was time to go. While I was stuffing my things back into one of my bags, I found my lunch. The barely touched peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the mostly-filled baggy of potato chips. My eyes bugged when I found it, and I showed it to Mom.

“I forgot I had this in here!”

Her mouth dropped into an O. “Emma! At least no bears came to get that!”

While there hadn’t been any bears, looking back now, perhaps, just perhaps, that raccoon smelled the peanut butter through the plastic baggy, through the fabric bag, through the tent, through the woods, through its little nostrils and thought to himself, Mmmm, that smells like a nice supper. I think he probably stalked me out.

He probably was following his nose at the time I kicked him, intent on breaking into the tent and stealing my sandwich. Bandits do wear masks, after all! He is probably a relative to this guy:

Me and the Raccoon
This ‘coon knows where the good stuff is. Here he’s pictured on top of a dumpster at a pizza place.

If that were the case, maybe, just maybe, it was a blessing-in-disguise that I kicked the little guy by mistake. Dealing with a tent full of screaming and if my reaction was any indication, kicking girls, a sandwich (half eaten at that) just wasn’t worth it and he decided to scamper on home. I may have single-footedly saved my tent from a raccoon encounter by my midnight trip to the facilities.

Although, if I had remembered the rule in the first place, there would be no lunch in the tent and none of it would’ve happened in the first place…

But we’ll just ignore that little tidbit.

 

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Hiking is Fun! Poison Ivy, not so much.

Hiking is Fun, Poison Ivy is Not | Majestic Adventures

Ever have one of those times where you’re about to go somewhere and you think to yourself “Maybe I should _____ just in case.” And then you contemplate it a bit more and think, “Nah, I’ll be fine” only to wish you had done that thing you didn’t feel like doing in the first place? Ever do that? This was me approximately three and a half hours ago as I contemplated whether or not to wear full-length jeans instead of shorts while hiking in the woods. XD

So why did I hesitate?  The reason I hesitated at changing into jeans is this: it’s 70 degrees F and humid. I was already hot in my t-shirt and shorts, I didn’t even want to think about what I would feel like after I changed. Besides, what could happen in the woods? If we got eaten up by bugs we could spray ourselves with bug spray. If we ran into poison ivy, well, we wouldn’t because we would just say on the path–right? (right?!)

Hehehehehehe.

We arrived at the nature trail we were going to hike through and started out on it.  The bugs weren’t too bad and I was really able to admire God’s handiwork as we meandered through the trail. The afternoon sun was shining through the canopy of trees that were tall above us. It was beautiful out. But it was when we turned off the gravel path and onto the less-traveled one that I started second guessing myself about my choice of attire.

I knew my brother had a destination in mind: he wanted to see if a certain area of the river would be good for fishing, and at first we were fine. The wide gravel path narrowed into a skinny woodchip one, and we stepped over the occasional log that had fallen in our way, no biggy.

And then suddenly we were making our own path, foraging through the thick of the jungle, exploring unknown territory where no man has ever gone before. … Well, maybe that’s a (slight) exaggeration. I’d been back on this particular path many times before but that was months ago (one of which was the time I saw a muskrat) and it wasn’t that overgrown.

“It’s really different back here,” I said.

My brother, who had been smart and worn jeans, kept moving ahead of me. “Why, what was it like the last time you were here?”

“Dead. Well, not dead, but not this grown yet.”

Our woodchip path dissolved into one of our own making as we stomped through the tall grass. And then I saw the dreaded leaves of three. And there was no way I could leave them be, because that was exactly where I needed to go! So I just carefully stepped and hopped over them, wishing I had worn the jeans because I’ve done the poison ivy bit before and didn’t feel like going through it again. My brother showed me where to step so I wouldn’t get into poison ivy, but I don’t think it could be avoided, not with how much poison ivy there was and me without full-length pants on.

We climbed over a tree that had fallen in our path (which was actually kinda fun) and then–hallelujah! A clearing! We were out of the woods. For about a minute, and then we dove straight back in so we could get to the spot at the river we were headed towards. It was riddled with poison ivy. I have no doubt in my mind that I touched some, because there was no avoiding it. After a while I wondered why I was even trying to avoid it anymore, we went through so much! LOL! 😀

But I tried really, really hard not to complain. I tried to think of the positives. It was an adventure, and I love adventures! I was in God’s wonderful creation spending time with my sibling. (Yes, mosquitos and all. I thought bug spray was supposed to discourage them??) I even had something new to write about on my blog. (teeheehee)

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures | A WordPress Blog

At last we made it to our destination, an open area where there were few trees and even less poison ivy! My brother searched around for worms to use for fishing bait, but all he found was a slug and a lot of ants. And without bait you can’t do much fishing. We were there about 15 minutes before he decided we should just turn back and head home.

I planned what I would do back at home as we walked back the way we came. First I would make a mental note to wear jeans the next time I’m going to go traipsing through the woods. I’d drink a tall glass of water (another note for next time would be to fill a water bottle) and then I’d douse myself in Dawn Dish Soap. Because, little fun fact, Dawn Dish Soap (or Fels-Naptha laundry soap) breaks down the oil of the poison ivy so that it can be washed away.

And I got home and did just that. I’m scratched up from thorny bushes and itchy from mosquito bites–but no poison ivy yet! And hopefully it will stay that way. Time will tell, I suppose! 😉

A little friendly advice from the blogger of Majestic Adventures? While adventures are fun, poison ivy is not. Jeans might be a good idea when hiking. Either that or have plenty of Dawn Dish Soap on hand!!! 😉 (Oh, and bug spray. It’s mosquito season, you know!)

UPDATE!!

It is now two days later and I am here to confirm that, yes, I have poison ivy. The day after writing this post, my ankle started itching with what I thought were mosquito bites. But upon further inspection…it’s poison ivy. Aack!

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Me and the Muskrat

Me and the Muskrat | A Bookworm's Majestic Adventure

No doubt if you’re reading this post you’re either A) a follower of this blog; B) interested in hearing about my encounter with a muskrat; or C) all of the above. With any luck as you’re reading this post you’ll chuckle once, or maybe twice, as that is one of my main goals in life: making people laugh. Let me tell you first though – when it happened, I was scared to death! I didn’t feel like laughing about it until approximately two minutes and seventeen seconds after the ordeal occurred.

It all began one day a few weeks ago when my brother and I thought “Hey, it would be fun to go to a nature trail and mess around there for a little bit.” We were bored and thought, why not? We headed down to the nature trail, set on exploring the area a little bit. We looked at the little river and the ponds, but didn’t see any frogs. It was too early in the year for them to be out yet anyways.

“Hey,” my brother tells me, “want to go look at something down the river? It’s not too far.”

“Okay,” I say. We went down another section of path and starting walking towards the river.

Now we were walking along the high bank of the river. It was brushy and thorny; you had to be careful otherwise you’d walk straight into a pricky thorny plant. My brother led the way since I had no idea what we were looking for, and he stepped over a muddy section of ground. I had on my one and only pair of tennis shoes and did not feel like scrubbing them clean of mud when we got home. There were two long skinny fallen tree branches lying over the mud in an X shape. I thought if I stepped on the sticks they would keep me from sinking into the mud.

As soon as I stepped onto the sticks, I heard this rustling noise. I thought my stepping on the sticks had caused them to bounce up and hit the bush. But then the rustling noise continued, and I wasn’t moving the branch at all. That meant something else was making the noise.

But just to make sure…I look to my left, toward the river, where the sticks were hanging over the edge of the bank. They weren’t causing the noise I was hearing, so me, using the brilliant deduction skills I’ve learned from years of reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, deduced that the sound must be coming from my right. How sleuth-ish of me!

So I look to my right.

And freeze.

There was a giant brown furball standing (or was it sitting?) not six feet away from me.

It’s a giant squirrel! Upon another look I realized it was too big to be a squirrel – it was squirrel colored, but with a skinny black tail! This stout furry animal is the muskrat from the title “Me and the Muskrat” but I didn’t know it yet. That first thought was followed by Don’t eat me don’t eat me don’t eat me! I remembered how sharp of teeth squirrels have, and hugged myself, in case it should leap towards me.

muskrat

The animal just sat there. It didn’t move. It just watched me. No doubt wondering what this strange person was doing near its home.

And my brother was oblivious to all this. I shrieked to get his attention.

“What?” he turned around but did not see the ferocious animal sitting less than six feet away from me. He’s looking at the ground.

I shriek again.

He still doesn’t see it. I can’t really blame him though, the thing is brown, and it’s in the woods. Blends in kinda well. “What? The stick?”

I think not knowing what it was was even more scary than knowing what type of animal it was. I like to think that if I had known what it was, I wouldn’t have been as freaked out. Nevertheless, “NO. NOT THE STICK. IT’S RIGHT THERE. HELP ME. HELP ME.” I jumped forward towards him and grabbed the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

And then he saw it! “HEY! That’s a beaver! No, a woodchuck. Hey that’s a muskrat!”

While he was identifying it the muskrat must have decided that humans–particularly a human girl named Emma–make too much noise and were relatively uninteresting. It scampered to the river and jumped in and swam away.

I took a step back and took a deep breath. “Oh my land.”

I went home and Googled ‘Muskrat’ and confirmed my brother’s identification. It was indeed a muskrat that I had met up with. Once was enough. We make a point to avoid each other now, whenever I go back to the Nature Trail. I don’t think he misses me. I don’t really miss him.

And there you have it! Actually when I was reading about muskrats on Wikipedia, I read that they are actually more nocturnal, so that might contribute to the fact that Mr. Muskrat and I haven’t had another chance acquaintance. I’m definitely not nocturnal.

Well, what about you? Ever meet a muskrat? I’ve love to hear how it went! Meet any other animals? I’ve met a raccoon at midnight before, but…that’s another story. 😉 Thanks for reading, my friends! Until next time!

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