Spring Fling ’97
April 11-13, 1997
by Alex Leaman and Unknown
at Aqua Campground
On Thursday April the 10th, Paul and Steve were on the edge of their seats awaiting the most talked about weekend in the MUSG spring semester. When I went to visit Paul before his departure, I stumbled upon mountains of camping gear piled in his hallway. “I’m not roughing it,” Paul said. “I’m bringing tents, sleeping bags, ground covers, stoves, pillows, and a hell of a lot of food.” Indeed he did.
This year’s spring fling was going to be especially memorable due to the arrival of two alumni who had spent the prior eight months in England, Alex and Bennett. Steve was entirely shocked to meet these two highly acclaimed individuals. For the whole eight months, Steve thought Alex and Bennett were one person. Alex Bennett. The moment for Steve was especially intense.
Ed was unable to depart as early as Steve and Paul, so two of them picked up Alex at around 5pm Thursday evening and left for Aqua Campground. I waited around until one am before leaving. I had other work to attend to. When I finally made it to the campgrounds at around 2am, I found everyone silently sleeping. I walked over to Paul and Steve’s tent and peeked in. Steve must have thought I was a stalking bear, for he jumped three feet into the air and screamed like a bitch. (I mean scared person.) I calmed him down and back to sleep he fell.
The next morning was a fun-filled adventure. Steve and Paul thought it would be entertaining to harness themselves into the rope swing which dangled over the cool Bullpasture River. A good hour or so was spent on this swing. There were dozens of fisherman in the area, for the river had just been stocked with trout. As the trout-filled truck deposited the fish into the river, the fishermen cast their lines directly towards the truck. When the fisherman weren’t catching fish, they were being entertained by crazy naked college kids, who were swimming in 40-degree water. “Lookky here, Jim Bob, dem boyz are crazy!”
When the rope swing had lost its glamour, we moved onto steeper and more exciting adventures. Repelling and then caving. The repelling was quite interesting. Alex Bennett and Ed debated what a bowline looked like for about 10 minutes. The repel couldn’t have been over 25 feet, but nonetheless, it was fun (for about 4 times or so). Afterwards the group of us traveled over to Marshall’s cave. Once inside, everyone bit down on their wintergreen lifesavers to see the “spark.” Quite amusing. The Marshalls trip fell short for Ed and Jennie, because they had to leave for the burg, but Alex, Steve, and Paul kept on.
Friday evening was the best. People were arriving from all around. Several alumni including Kent, Carla, Alan, Suzanne, Meribeth, Karen and others showed up, as did the “northern New Jersey grotto.” People were everywhere and Karl was the mediator between parties so it seemed. It was unfortunate that some student arrived without tents, for come 4am or so the rains-I would like to take a break from the action to mention that I have become very drunk since I last wrote something — ok, good night — wow. Ok, as I was saying (it’s now two days later) the rains came down!!! Yes, it rained and rained. Poor Liselle and Rich slept outside with NO TENTS! Hard core campers. When morning came Ed decided not to get up. Why bother? It was wet out there and my tent was dry! So a little later in the morning, Paul and Steve came over to visit. We had nothing better to do so we decided to cook. Inside the tent. (Don’t try this unless your name is Ed, Paul, or Steve). Amazingly enough, we lived.
We ate everything! It was so great.
Now most of the campers had departed, so the three of us saw very little point in remaining-especially if it was going to continue to rain-so we too jetted. So sorry. Now I’m going to let Alex take over from here . . . . .
Hmm… it’s been a while since the last time I wrote one of these. A few notes on the trip into Marshall’s Cave that Paul, Steve and I did: these boys are truly good sports. I took them (neither had been there before) past the first big room, and we followed the stream back towards the front of the cave, and in the kind of brilliant move I am constantly making, I thought it would be a dandy idea to climb up this REALLY TOUGH climb, one with a hand-/foothold about once every ten feet. Steve and Paul watched me lead the way, cheering me on as I looked manly for about five minutes before finally slipping and falling down the whole thing, only inches from the top, and breaking my fall by wedging my head between two bits of rock. Helmets need chin guards. Anyway, commendations to these two fellas for making it past that bit and not laughing at my atrophied skills.
For everyone who left like cowardly dogs when the Mother Nature threw a few tiny little buckets of rain down, we had a . . . well, we had just as miserable a time as you would have thought Saturday night. At least I did. I was (sniff sniff) cold. And wet. And alarmingly sober.
On behalf of Bennett and myself, the MUSG London correspondents, I must say that this group is impressive indeed, even though we missed ALL the new people on Saturday night. That either means that the young ones don’t know the value of a good party, or they know the even greater value of a warm bed and shelter on rainy nights. Verdict is still out, I guess.
Oh, and I might add that on Saturday afternoon, in breathing Cave, Liselle bet me a dinner out that I couldn’t climb down the waterfall (past Serpentine Way) and back up again without using rope OR having to be rescued. Ye of little faith, be warned: I’m eating out for free sometime soon. Hahahahahahaha! I just had to rub that in a little bit more.