I never thought I’d overcome so many obstacles at Camp Kammok. Then again, I did sleep suspended under a Spartan Race obstacle on Friday night, and purposely repelled from another obstacle from 150 feet up on the very next day at Reveille Peak Ranch.
It was a beautiful Friday in Austin and after I finished a photo shoot in downtown Austin, I headed out to Burnet, Texas around 7:50 p.m. The drive would take just over an hour and I knew I'd be getting in after the sun went down. I pulled into the parking lot by the campsites under a partially full moon. I got out of the car with my headlamp on and I could hear the DJ music coming from the pavilion as I surveyed good spots to set up camp. If you’re camping in a Kammok Roo, you can hang up virtually anywhere at Reveille Peak Ranch. By the pond would be nice! Tonight would be the first time I would be sleeping overnight in a Roo. Thankfully I didn't forget my Dragonfly insect net (a must-have in Texas).
After a fairly decent sleep, only to be woken up a few times in the night from the sounds of a pack of coyotes howling and campers who snored so loudly it sounded like I was surrounded by family of bears. I woke up to a brisk spring morning only to find out that I had installed the insect net inside out. I've never set up a Dragonfly before, let alone under the moonlight and a headlamp, but it still worked perfectly!
Before breakfast I had to get some things out of my trunk and right as I shut the trunk door, I IMMEDIATELY felt that awful sensation in my stomach. I had just locked my keys in the trunk and all of my doors were locked. OH. MY. GOD. What am I going to do!? I'm out in the "middle of nowhere." My other car would have just popped the trunk back open because it knew the key fob was in there. This isn't a key fob type car.
Thankfully, I didn’t shut my cell phone in there and had my wallet so I called AAA. My mom has been a member for 28 years straight years. I was in a brief panic while trying to explain to the AAA customer service rep where I was and how to follow signs to get to the camp. I soon get a call from the AAA technician and he said, “Sir, it’ll be about 20 minutes.” I said, “20 minutes? Wow, that’s fast.” He said, “No, one hour and twenty minutes.” LOL, oh, this guy is driving from Austin or somewhere not even close. I felt bad, but he said this is a normal day for him. He arrived right as expected, pried open the door and unlocked the car which triggered the alarm horn. HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! Here I am scrambling around, opening the trunk, throwing things around in my messy trunk trying to find the keys to turn off the alarm. FOUND THEM! Whew, finally. That's done. I’ll be putting my keys in the zipper pocket of my shorts for the rest of the time.
I walked up to the pavilion for breakfast and signed up for activities that I was interested in that day. I picked SUP boarding because Jarvis Boards was there and I've worked with Tony, the owner, on an Austin Fit Magazine swimsuit issue years ago. "What else should I do?" I wanted to try mountain biking so I signed up for that too. I walked away feeling like that wasn't enough. I needed to do more so I turned back around and asked if I could sign up for something else. "Sure!" I was debating between rock climbing and repelling down a 150-foot tower. Haley, Kammok’s fearless leader and CEO, walks up at just the right time and somehow convinces me that we'll BOTH do the repelling together. Together? Promise? OK! I'll do it. P.S. I’m really afraid of heights!
First up, was the SUP boarding. I was happy to see Tony helping out and educating people on his hand-crafted wooden paddle boards. I was especially excited to try the new boards out too. These particular models aren't for sale just yet, but after riding them, they’ll sell out quickly. They’re so easy to paddle on and they cut through the water really easily. This essentially helps riders stay out on the board longer.
After SUP, I had a two hour break. I grabbed some refreshments, found an open Kammok that was free for use, and scrolled through Friday's photos and weeded out the good ones. I regularly glanced over at my nemesis (this repelling wall) from across the pond.
Time is up, it’s time to go meet up with Haley so we can repel down that scary tower together. I’m doing this because of her! I arrive at the tower only to see that there are just three other girls there that I don’t know. Where’s Haley?! No time to think as the safety speech begins. We put our gear on and walk up the flight of stairs. Each flight of stairs just got scarier for me and I wanted to turn around so badly. We make it to the top and all of us look at each other in fear. “Hurry up, or we may back out,” one girl in the group jokingly said to the climbing guide. I agreed with her in all seriousness! “You’re supposed to what? So, you want me to just step over that ledge and let go?” I asked rhetorically. Well, here goes nothing. I started to think that Haley played a trick on me. If I die here today, it’s because of Haley!
Guess what? I made it down. I never looked down, but I made it! As soon as my feet touched down, I high-fived my new friend and repelling buddy. We hugged it out and took a pic together. We did it! It was like when you see the baby try to follow its Mom through treacherous terrain. It waits and judges and waits some more until it finally leaps and makes it. We weren't going to watch the other go down without the other following. We learned the power of encouragement to look fear right in the face.
Thank Jesus that was over with. I would do it again! And thank you, Haley, for tricking me ;)
Next up was mountain biking which was put on by Explore Austin. I really liked the option of doing the advanced tour or the beginner tour. That way no one is left behind. This was another first for me. I've only ridden mountain bikes around on the street, never on Texas trails before. I'm athletic and competitive so I took on the advanced tour. It was challenging, scary at times, and as much fun as your first time on a bike. I’m actually thinking about buying a mountain bike so let me know if you have any advice!
After all of this, dinner was served, bellies were full, drinks were poured, and the dancing shoes came on. I'm so glad I came out to do this. I have a huge smile to show for it. This weekend was such an amazing value for the price. People like me and the many families that were out there had fun together side-by-side. Throughout the day you were served food, given plenty of activities to do (many of which I couldn't do in one day). At night, we enjoyed live music and a silent disco dance party.
I learned to face my fears in a completely different way. I attended this by myself and I ultimately came away with so much more. I made so many friends and had experiences that I'll cherish all my life.
I encourage you to do the same. Get outside this week and reconnect with yourself and the environment!