* The heat. The temperature was pushing 100, and it felt like the seventh circle of hell. Don't let the pictures fool you. They make the pictures look good to suck the first-timers into the vortex. It is hot, I tell you. HOT.
* The rain. I was okay with the flash-flooding. And digging drainage canals when we discovered some of the tents were literally in 4 inches of standing water. And hey, the rain took care of the heat and washed a little of the stench off of me... so it wasn't all bad.
If you look closely at the bottom of the tent where it says "Kelty" you can see a water shoe floating away. And this was taken at the beginning of the "flood." It got worse. Much. much. worse.
Actually, there were a lot of things I didn't mind: the half mile hike to the compost toilet, the camping food, the sleep deprivation, the BUGS.... I could handle all that stuff. In fact, I was enjoying myself. Loving it even.
But there was this one part...
We were getting into our kayaks for the return trip. Everyone was hot and tired and focused. There was a storm heading our way and if we didn't get out ahead of the lightning, we were going to have to paddle back to the island to wait out the storm without any shelter and then try to make the trip again. Did I mention it was an 8 mile paddle? To say we were motivated would be the understatement of the century.
So I'm out on the water in my kayak along with roughly half the girls. I'm snapping a few last photos knowing that once everyone was geared up and ready to paddle we'd be moving too fast for more. I was just stowing my camera in it's Ziploc bag when one of the girls started screaming in her kayak. I froze for a moment as I tried to process the situation. And then she screamed, "Oh, God... help me... IT'S ON ME!" In that brief moment my brain spun through a thousand different scenarios before coming to rest on the only rational conclusion: