A few weeks ago I was going through some old emails and came across a resume I put together during my freshman year in college.
And along with using a Microsoft Word template circa 2001 and having my cashier job at the local grocery store listed under professional experience, it had a hobbies section that, among other things, included “camping” and “high adventure activities.”
Seeing this, I had to laugh. While I had been quite a bit more adventurous when I was in middle and high school, the most outdoorsy thing I’ve done lately has been watching people water ski from the back of a boat.
Or maybe going to a music festival.
But for the first time in close to a decade — I hate to admit it’s been that long — I went camping, reclaiming a bit of what I used to be like when I was younger.
As part of a birthday celebration for my friend, Que, last weekend, I and some friends went camping on 18 Mile Island, a swath of land in the middle of the Ohio River.
So named because it is 18 miles upstream from Louisville, 18 Mile Island is near Westport, Ky.
We all met at our friend Eli’s parent’s store, Knock on Wood Mercantile and Cafe, which along with having so many wonderful country home goods to look at also has lots of delicious food to try.
I’ve never eaten anything there that I haven’t liked.
Seriously, if you’re ever in Westport or just want to take a fun day trip, go to Knock on Wood.
And to be honest the fact that Eli’s mother, Lea, was going to prepare everything we ate while camping helped seal the deal for me in terms of sleeping in the wilderness.
Anyway, we all met at the store and then hid and surprised Que, Eli’s girlfriend. She thought she was getting dinner with Eli and his family. But oh no, tents were involved.
We all then drove down to the park by the river and boarded Eli’s family’s pontoon boat and made our way to 18 Mile Island.
I see the Ohio River pretty much anytime I take the interstate into downtown Louisville, but it looks so much more grand when you’re eyeing it from just about water level.
We got to the island, and the tents and tables were already set up. And they were mere feet from the river’s edge.
Small waves would bump up against the shore whenever a coal barge floated by.
We unloaded the boat and got settled.
The campfire soon followed.
Over the course of several beers, the dinner was prepared, which included chicken skewers, corn on the cob and Lea’s special baked beans — the best I’ve ever had.
We sat around and drank and talked and played with the cutest dachshund, which despite being not more than a pup had little spots of gray.
Lea made birthday cake in the Dutch oven by the fire.
And I finally had a s’more!
I had missed out on s’mores during the Wisconsin trip over July 4, but that has been deliciously rectified.
The next morning we woke up and ate monkey bread made in the Dutch oven, cooked by the embers from the fire, and before heading home, we boarded the pontoon once again and traveled to the other side of 18 Mile Island.
A thick rope hung from a branch and another hung over the hill for people to use to climb up to get a good starting point for their jumps.
And the guys were brave enough to give it a swing.
(Disclaimer: Using this rope swing can be very dangerous.)
I rekindled a bit of my youth by spending a night on a sleeping bag, smelling like campfire, but I wasn’t quite ready go full high adventure by swinging out into the river.
Maybe I’ll do that in another 10 years.
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