The Best Time of My Life
Allison Li, Division 1, 6th grade

We’re finally going! Excitement bubbled up in me as I fidgeted in the bus, impatient for the two-hour drive to Julian to be over. I had been waiting for this moment for so long and, judging from the low murmur of excitement in the air, so had the entire Sixth Grade, most of whom, myself included, had never left home for a week-long camp without their parents. What will it be like? Will it be fun? Who will my cabin mates be? All of my questions kept popping up in my brain and prevented me from being distracted from where we were going. I had just resigned myself to waiting in boredom staring at the scenery when our bus pulled to a stop. The entire bus shushed and we stared at our destination. My heart pounding with excitement, we had finally arrived at Sixth Grade Camp!

Every day, we hiked out on a trail. That last day was no exception as we prepared for a three-hour long hike. There were so many trails to walk and tons of sights to see. Neither Natalie nor I had brought a camera, so we tried to commit everything to memory. This day, the sky was clear and blue and it was warming up around noon. It was winter, so the trees were bare except for the spruces, and every step underfoot crackled with dead leaves. It seemed silent at first except for Natalie and my talking about everything we saw, but gradually sounds began to make themselves noticed. The swishing of branches as a breeze blew through. Occasional wingbeats as a shadow turned out to be a bird. The scrabbling of small animals in the underbrush.

Today would have been much the same as any of the previous days, had we not stayed out to watch the sunset. Our group arrived just in time to see a magnificent ball of golden fire setting beyond the ocean with glory, leaving a fiery wake of all the shades of red, gold, orange, vermilion - and of violet, viridian, and indigo. Everything that had reflected light turned fiery gold and lakes shone like stars reflected on to the ground, shimmering jewels cutting through the dark green blanket of the forest as the sun made its descent, followed by shimmering shards of crystalline stars.

Finally, under the starry sky, we headed back to camp for the Candlelight Ceremony. Everyone clasped their candles and stood in a circle. A candle by itself doesn’t give off much light, but there, with so many candles in the dark night, it looked like a night full of stars. All too soon, we had to blow out our candles. Back at home, I gently placed my candle in a candleholder. It reminded me of camp, and of the magnificent sunset so glorious on the horizon. One little candle might not seem like much, but it symbolizes the best time I ever had.
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