Unplugged, rustic bliss: Camping in the High Sierra

| May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
CAMPERS Nicole Isacsen and Nina Adams.

As summer approaches, every kid has an activity he or she looks forward to most. For some it might be video games; for others it is traveling with family; for me, it was always Gold Arrow Camp.

Gold Arrow is a sleepaway camp located on Lake Huntington in the High Sierra for kids ages six to 15. The camp is a traditional summer camp in the truest sense, offering campers an unplugged (as in no electronic devices!), rustic outdoor experience. Campers live in cabins for two weeks, and they participate in daily activities including horseback riding, hiking, water skiing, backpacking and rock climbing.

A YOUNG Nina Adams boards the bus for camp.

When I left for sleepaway camp at age 10, I had tears in my eyes and an unmatched anxiety. Would I make friends? Would I get homesick? I was beyond nervous concerning the two weeks I was about to have away from home. After my long, five-hour bus ride to the High Sierra, my feelings instantly changed. No one could have prepared me for the thrill and excitement I would feel when I stepped off the bus onto the campgrounds on Lake Huntington.

As the days went on, I started to make friends through activities like water skiing, archery and horseback riding. As my first year of summer camp came to an end, I was so sad to leave that I cried on the bus ride home. My parents, temporary empty nesters, were excitedly waiting for their kids’ (I went with my brother) returns home. Instead of a joyful reunion, they got two weepy kids begging to go back for another two weeks.

The following years, returning to Gold Arrow Camp was the highlight of every summer. Returning to familiar counselors and friends became a staple in my life, and camp quickly felt like a second home. The experience of making friends without phones and social media in the beautiful Sierra mountains changed me for the better. My closest friends are still the ones I met at Gold Arrow Camp eight years ago, and my fondest childhood memories are the ones I made waterskiing, sailing and sleeping under the stars.

Since I “graduated” as a camper in 2015, I have taken on other projects to fill my summers. This summer, I will finally be returning home to Gold Arrow Camp, this time as a counselor. I am looking forward to reuniting with my friends from several summers ago and reliving my camp childhood memories.

Former intern Nina Adams spent her freshman year at John Cabot American University in Rome.

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Category: People

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