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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Since before I was two years old, my family has joined ten others for a week-long Summer Camping trip in Allegany State Park. Summer Camping being capitalized because it is a name of great importance, practically a proper noun. Our group rents out the entire Summit loop of cabins, and for seven days it is as if it has only ever belonged to us. The cabins have been painted a dark, christmas tree green since we started going though now it’s chipped and peeling, and the stairs up to the porch have been replaced a few times, the fresh tan wood bright against the cabin’s four walls. My family’s unofficially-assigned cabin rests in the very center of the loop and is also where the week’s main fire will burn, sometimes with chicken wings and pie irons roasting in the flames, other times surrounded by drunkenly singing moms and dads, their laughing faces glowing a hot orange hue. 

We kids (though not so kid-like anymore) have our own fire, the so-called “Kid Fire,” despite the fact that most of us are in college now, the rest in high school. I’m sure one year in the near future we will decide to integrate with our parents’ fire, but for now the tradition remains and we enjoy the seclusion of cabins at the bottom of the loop, enshrouded by luscious green trees, the speaker blasting music from our own shared Spotify playlist that has been accumulating more and more songs since the year before, and the year before that, and so on. The fire will make all my clothes smell, make my hair smell, but it’s a good smell. Homey. And then, at the end of the night, or rather the beginning of the morning, I feel my way through the darkness of our cabin and crawl into my sleeping bag, likely not taking the time to wash my face or change into non-smokey clothes. But Camping rule #1 states that you must embrace the gloriousness of a no-shower night or something about loving the dirt (maybe “dirty hair, don’t care?”), so I go to bed without a care in the world. 

Each day of the week brings something new but I guess technically old. Beach days, two if we can manage it. Creek walk day, minus the crayfish-catching because the pincers suddenly don’t seem all that harmless. The phones also stay behind on the safety of land (slippery underwater rocks and electronic devices do not mix). “Boat day best day” is on Thursday, a day of no-service on the reservoir and a 3-in-4 chance of the pontoon boats breaking down before we reach the docks on our way back. The younger kids will wear costumes for our Summer-ween celebration, and of course, we elders will take it upon ourselves to finish off the leftover candy. Our packs of five-year-old Bunch-O-Balloons will make an appearance on many evenings throughout the week, just before dinner, at which they will be launched from a slingshot, aimed for any unlucky passerby or volunteer targets. I will eat a ridiculous amount of food, enthusiastically partaking in breakfast-for-dinner night, meat fest (the only day of the year I’m not a casual vegetarian), and especially loading up on an unhealthy amount of summer watermelon, if that’s even possible. 

At sunset we’ll walk to Echo Valley, momentarily forgetting in our bliss of the steep uphill walk on the return. Even the cloudiest of evenings seem perfect in the tall grass, dotted with wild flowers and tiger lilies. But oh when the sun is shining, it’s like walking in sunlight, so there it’s like you could scoop it up in your hands. I’ll take a disposable camera picture here.

And then in the blink of an eye, it’ll be the following Saturday and I’ll wake to the sounds of my dad packing everything up into the cars. “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros will play first as we pull away from the loop and ride the breaks down the mountain. I will ugly cry for the friends I don’t get to see often enough and hope that our Fall and Winter Camping weekends in the very same loop come quickly. But these are incomparable to Summer Camping, and I find myself wishing all the time away until next July, my impatience beginning as soon as we hit the highway. 

As I write this, it is May 1st. The end of the semester has arrived, marking the beginning of summer, the season of Summer Camping. My packing list is already made; my outfits are already meticulously planned and “BRING CAMERAS” is highlighted, bolded and italicized. Two more months and we’ll be back home for the first time since the end of the semester. 

From Buffalo, New York, Sofi is a sophomore transfer student at St. Bonaventure University and is a new Her Campus member. After changing her major for the dozenth (but hopefully last) time, deciding to pursue studies in English, Sofi joined Her Campus to share her passions for music and reading. When she is not watching Outer Banks or making yet another new Spotify playlist, Sofi loves to hangout with her friends, snowboard at Holiday Valley, and post her entire camera roll to her VSCO. She is also an avid reader and loves to catch up on her To Be Read list when she is not reading for a class. Sofi has too many favorite musical artists to list, so just know that if you can think it, she probably likes them (and she is open to new music reccs at any time). She also dabbles in graphic design, creating scrapbook-style Instagram posts when she feels it’s time for a camera roll dump. A known optimist, Sofi can’t wait to see where life takes her. She plans to live wherever her sister decides to settle down, and even though that may mean leaving Buffalo, she will forever remain a resilient Bills fan.