We moaned from our metal folding chairs.
Nonetheless, we did meet at the church that next Saturday, somewhere near 6 am. When you're not used to being out in the early morning air it is actually quite refreshing. Invigorating, in fact, though you're not likely to hear a teenager tell you that.
We were six Mormon girls and two devoted leaders, setting out on a five mile hike as part of our Young Women's Camp certification. The air in southwestern PA is thick and wet that time of year, and especially dewy at that hour. My tenny runners were not well suited for the trek. But we trudged on, a little ribbon of semi-misfits; semi-willing and not-so-sure we were able.
As part of the certification process we were to gather wood, light a fire, and cook something over that fire. Before I left home I had grabbed an egg from the fridge and wrapped it carefully in a pile of paper towels. I carried that egg in my hand for 5 miles, through the woody landscape of South Park. More than once my slick soled Keds slipped on the wet grass and I almost lost it. More than once my trusty companions grabbed my arm and saved me before I went down. We all watched out for that egg.
Finally at our destination, we gathered what little dry wood we could find, stacking it in a pile for our little community of fire builders. I created a tee pee of kindling, with some of the egg-protecting paper towels rising out of the middle. I found an old beer can and used my Swiss Army Knife to cut it open, laying the aluminum out in a flat sheet. Using a sturdy long stick for a handle, I crimped the edges of the metal to fashion a fry pan, just large enough to fry an egg.
Flint and steel, spark and flame, I knelt before my wooden tee pee and blew a steady stream of oxygen into the flame until it convinced the wood to burn. Finally, when the flame was on the path of no return, I stood and placed my hand crafted fry pan over the heat until it seemed hot enough to cook an egg. I set the pan on a rock and, with an air of ceremony, we all gathered around while I cracked my egg.
It was hard boiled.