By Colby Smith
After Hurricane Irene forced the cancellation of the Writers’ House Overnighter, students finally boarded the bus on Friday and set off for a night of s’mores and stargazing.
The drive to the For the Love of Children’s (FLOC) Outdoor Education Center in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., however, was plagued with setbacks. Heavy rain and rush hour traffic made for a slow departure from College Park, and a car wreck near Harpers Ferry resulted in further delays.
Even after finally arriving at the entrance road to the camp, the charter bus got stuck in a ditch along a hairpin turn. At this point, the students made the rest of the trip on foot. The bus driver and the camp staff did eventually manage to free the bus.
“In was an experience,” said Robert Tisdale, the bus driver. “It took some time, so we just had to be patient.”
The group arrived to the camp’s cafeteria for dinner nearly two hours after initially expected.
After dinner, the night took a turn for the better. The students and the staff built a roaring campfire, allowing for s’mores and scary stories. The clear night sky offered a perfect opportunity for stargazing.
After breakfast the following morning, students were free to explore the property. Taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather, groups hiked to a hidden waterfall, a cemetery, and a nearby meditation center. Others remained near the lodge to read and write.
The charter bus returned to pick students up Saturday afternoon. The return journey proceeded without incident, allowing students to observe the scenery and reflect on the trip.
“It was a good experience,” said sophomore David Bowman. “It was nice to go with people you don’t see as much.”
The Writers’ House Overnighter was the first event of its kind, and, in spite of the initial setbacks, the students’ reviews were positive.