Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

What I Did on My Family Vacation

on August 21, 2015
Gull Lake

Beautiful day at beautiful Gull Lake. Photo by Susie Kopf Jarvis.

Since I just got back from a week of family camp at Gull Lake Ministries (Michigan) with, you guessed it, my family, I thought I’d share some of the fun stuff I got to experience for the first time while at the lake. Because you’re never too old to try something new, right?

Our first day, Sunday, started out hot and humid and the weather simmered in the high 80s through Monday night. We spent much of the afternoon at the beach enjoying what might be the clearest, cleanest lake around. Then, for reasons that still escape me, I climbed up a 40-foot tower and ziplined (also known as the “death slide”) the length of a football field.

Now, I’ve been on a zipline before—one—that crosses a creek in front of my sister’s house. When you’re done, you simply slide off. You don’t need staff members to push a large green contraption across the lawn for you to climb down. I’m still surprised I actually stepped off that tower. But with something like a leap into space, you can’t stop and think; you have to just do it.

Tuesday morning I went a gentler route by exploring the lake on a Hobie which is, basically, a cross between a paddleboat and a kayak. I moved faster than I would in a canoe, and it’s definitely easier to maneuver. A first, again, but not daunting like the zipline.

Each week, Gull Lake campers participate in a talent show. As far as I know, this has been going on since I attended as a teenager about 30 years ago. Back then, my sister and our two best friends liked to come up with silly, choreographed routines to Amy Grant songs.

Glow Stick Dancers at GLM 2015

Here are a few of the glow stick-figure people, getting ready to dance!

This time, we put a group together and did a different kind of routine. Dressed entirely in black, we taped glow sticks to our clothes in the shape of stick figures and performed two minutes from the Evolution of Dance video. And we killed it if I say so myself. Of course, one of the benefits of stick figure dancing is that messing up tends to be just as funny as getting the movements right. (As if anyone can tell either way.)

My final new experience promised to be the most peaceful one—a relaxing sailboat ride across the lake.

Or so we thought.

Remember how the week started with sticky heat near the 90s? By Thursday, the temps had dropped below 70 and the sky was a canopy of dark clouds. But our fearless captain—who went by the nickname Mug Shot—said we were good to go. So I joined my dad, my sister and a family friend and we climbed on board.

Things started out fine, if a little choppy, but Mug Shot had it under control. Until the wind started taking us a little closer to shore and the rudder got caught in the engine and the boat tipped so far those of us on one side almost landed on top of those on the other. But we all pitched in, hanging on to the sail or the rudder as instructed and, finally, Mug Shot got the boat back on course.

He was calm through the whole incident, reassuring us the ship couldn’t sink (where have we heard that before?) and even if it tilted it would right itself after dumping us in the lake. But, soon, all was well again, and I never felt like we were in any real danger. So imagine our surprise when Mug Shot said, “I think we’ll head back now that we’re out of that death trap.”

God bless him. Sometimes it’s nice to not know the whole story.

Now, it’s your turn: what new things did you do this summer?

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