Whew! After that long day at church the whole choir slept really well!! This part of my experience includes my second-favorite event on tour...
Again to the bus. We all crawled on and sat for approximately two hours as we drove to Santa Cruz. They gave us about an hour in a really tourist-y-looking part of the town, but despite it's cheese that was my first experience with the Pacific ocean in all of its salty glory! It was so cold in the ocean that day that when I stepped into the water I couldn't feel my feet. The numbness was almost that fast.
Aaaannndd back to the bus. We drove the remaining hour or so to Mission Springs Covenant Camp. As we exited the bus after pulling into the camp, I was overwhelmed by the scent of the place--it smelled of camp! It's difficult to describe (other than the overpowering scent of redwood) but it brought back memories instantly of my eight years of Girl Scout camp. Camp Pokanoka...wow. It's amazing how our memories work, that even the tiniest thing can trigger a whole catalogue of experiences! I felt right at home there in the woods of California.
We sang a concert that night and had dinner in the cafeteria with the "over sixty" retreat participants and their leaders. I was planning on going to bed since we finished with the concert around ten, but I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to truly enjoy the camp atmosphere. Then Stephen knocked on our door and said, "Hey y'all, we're goin' up to Eagle's Landin' if you're interested." So, Bethany, Johanna, Kate, and I all got back into our day clothes and sturdier shoes and prepared for a hike. It was a very short hike (1.5 miles) but it was still exciting. And it was dark most of the time unless you happened to be holding a flashlight.
A small group of us reached the 3/4 point at which there were a variety of obstacle-course activites. There was also an ampitheater, and it was here that a few of us sang songs that we all knew, just for fun. When the rest of the group caught up with us, we finished the hike to the Landing.
Given that it was about midnight at this point, the view wasn't really all that spectacular looking down, but looking up...that was somethin' else. I mean, I've been to camp and seen stars, but I have only seen stars to rival those on that landing in California when I was in Colorado with Melissa last summer. It was beautiful! Unfortunately, the four of us did not stay long since the rest of the group was being loud (and somewhat tipsy...) and it was late. However, we did decide to get up early the next morning to see the sunrise.
...and we DID. This is my second-favorite moment of the trip! Johanna and Bethany and I woke up at 6:30 the next morning and hiked back up to Eagle's Landing and saw the sunrise. We sat there for awhile, reading Bibles and journaling. We read the Office of Dawn together (Divine Hours), and then I needed to leave. It was definitely the most beautiful moment of the trip, and I am so glad that I was able to truly experience the nature of California and to get some hiking in. Yay!
That's enough for now...