Hiking trip image
Hiking trip image

“Everybody, everyone, wake up. It’s time to wake up,” my camp counselor said in a half-awake murmur at four o’clock in the morning. 

The lights flipped on in the cabin as it was time to embark on a journey called tiyule, meaning “trip” in Hebrew. I had gone on Tiyule before and enjoyed it, yet last summer I was petrified. The older kids had already told me stories of kids getting injured. “Oh my god, did I tell you about that one kid in my group that broke his leg?” my friend had asked. Being clumsy and afraid of almost everything, I thought that if anyone were going to get hurt, it would be me. In the end, my fears were realized.

After the first hour of hiking, we entered a dense forest, leaving the parking lot behind. We traversed worn bridges and eventually grew silent except for the sound of thumping boots and screeching birds. Despite the tranquility, our heavy backpacks caused discomfort. Suddenly, a crack echoed as a girl stumbled, her leg trapped under a broken bridge. Shocked, we waited for the counselors to help. Fortunately, she only suffered a minor sprain. As we regrouped, we conspired to exaggerate the incident to the other group, turning it into a dramatic tale of survival.

The next day started calmly, but quickly turned ominous. Walking and chatting with a friend, I heard a sharp SNAP! Suddenly, I plummeted, paralyzed in fear and feeling as though time had stopped. A hidden fulcrum beneath a piece of wood caused the misstep. Struggling to rise, fortunately, I only had a minor cut on my cheek.

That same day we had to hike the most, and we walked for twelve miles. Each mile felt shorter, yet the last one felt like it took us three hours. It was torture. Finally, we saw the beach. Unfortunately, this was the part where true, undeniable fear struck me. 

“The rocks beside the beach are really scary,” our counselor told us after we asked what the scariest part of the hike was. My counselor was a muscular, tall, blond girl. She looked like she had gone on hikes like this before because all of her equipment looked worn down. This made me even more nervous because if an experienced hiker is scared, then I should be terrified. In front of us was a wide lake with no bridge. The only way to get to the campsite on the other side of the current was to carefully jump from rock to rock, then climb onto an almost vertical rock wall. ‘How hard could it be?’ I thought to myself. However, I soon realized that I had spoken too soon. I skipped from the first rock to the next, until I slipped on one of the rocks, and one of my shoes got wet. A wet shoe meant that I was more prone to slipping. I slowly climbed up the wall, and I was frozen with fear as I stood there, teetering on the edge of the lake. The ground beneath me was slick, and I knew that one wrong move could send me tumbling into the icy water below. I tried to step to the side, but my foot slipped and I found myself unable to move. Panic set in as I realized that I was completely stuck. Luckily, two counselors appeared and rushed to my aid. My heart was pounding in my chest as I watched them approaching, feeling utterly mortified that I needed their help. But the fear of falling was so great that I didn’t care. Saying I thought I was going to die might sound dramatic, but I truly thought I would.

Encouraged by my counselor’s words, I hesitated at the top of the rock, filled with panic. Time seemed to stretch endlessly as I struggled to move. Finally, summoning courage, I edged sideways, only to freeze when my foot started slipping. With a deep breath, I reassured myself and began to descend, but a momentary slip sent me hurtling downwards. Eyes shut, I braced for the impact until my counselor intervened, breaking my fall. Unfortunately, before my counselor caught me, my feet landed on a rock, and because I was frozen due to fear, I didn’t bend my knees. I was limping for the next hour, but my counselor carried my backpack, so the relief from my shoulders trumped the pain from my knees. I expected to get injured since there wasn’t a single camper that came out of this without a scratch. 

The next day went by fast and ended when our bus driver eventually came. We all happily climbed onto the bus. As much fun as this hike was, riding the bus was a much more enjoyable experience.

Arriving back at camp precisely at 4:30 p.m., we eagerly ran to the dining room for a meal that felt like a feast. Though the meal was simple, consisting of potatoes and mac n’ cheese, it was a welcoming departure from our horrible diet of tortillas. As the campers and I savored the food in silence, I reflected on the day’s challenges. Despite my initial fear, the experience was very memorable. Tiyule is the kind of adventure you enjoy but will never repeat. Yet, as I contemplate next summer’s expedition, I anticipate the challenge with a mix of apprehension and excitement, hoping for more unforgettable moments amidst the difficulty.

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About the Contributor
Gili Shoval
Gili Shoval, Staff Writer
Gili Shoval ('27) is enrolled in Journalism this year, and she's excited to write for The Echo.