Old Cedar

Back in 2012, a few of us prestigious Lafayette alumni went on a camping trip for the 4th of July. The group included 5 out of the 6 nominal Bobcat Territory contributors, the exception being “House” Crouse (not that, as of some 625 odd days since our website’s founding, he has actually contributed anything – but that’s another story). Along with the 5 of us were fellow gentlemen-scholars Nog and Spieler. The Kid and I had organized the trip, as well as another one the previous 4th of July. After college, our friends were living in scattered places along the East Coast and our collective sets of increasingly adult obligations were making seeing each other on any sort of regular basis a difficult proposition. Our hope was that making a routine out of a summer camping trip would add some structure to things and make it easier to see each other; in a way, hoping that the trip itself became a sort of obligation, or at least a priority, for us. For the weekend, we wanted a campground that was centrally located with respect to where we all were living, so it would be equally easy or hard for all of us to make it. After a fair amount of searching (and, if I recall, a good deal of frustration), we finally decided on a place in southern New Jersey called the Old Cedar Campground.

A cynic might say that we were just trying to relive college in an attempt to ignore the fact that we were now, to varying degrees, responsible adults. That we were just stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence, you know, arrested development (Hey, that’s the name of the show!).

Anyway, I don’t think that this was entirely the case. Sure, we got some enjoyment out of revisiting college, as many people do. But it was never an exercise in escapism. All of us were, and continue to be, pretty content with respective lots in life. Generally speaking, I think we all enjoy being in “the real world” better than college, which had its own unique set of frustrations and limitations. I think one of the aspects of college life for which we were nostalgic, however, was the accessibility of friends; that is, just about anyone you cared to spend time with was readily available on just about any day for any activity, from lunch at lower Farinon to Peggle.

For a variety of reasons, in “the real world” it just isn’t as easy to make friends, or at least you end up making different types of friends. You start to meet people who are more interested in their careers or families than socializing. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but neither is there anything inherently immature about wanting to socialize. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. In any case, we really just wanted to maintain our friendships from college, just as many of us had maintained friendships from high school (at least in my case, I have friendships going back to kindergarten).

In any case, I didn’t write this to justify our camping trip (and I am not, as is my usual routine, trying to write 3500 words on the subject). Today, I was looking through files on my computer and found the folder of photos from that weekend back in 2012. I had brought my camera and we had tied it to a tree overlooking our camp site and set it to take pictures at regular intervals all afternoon and through the night (to be honest, I’ve forgotten what the intervals were, but from the number of photos taken it must have been between 15 and 30 minutes). At the time, I had promised to stitch them together into a time lapse video of the day. Well, maybe if I had been in college still I would have gotten it done faster. As it was, “the real world” got in the way. So, better late than never, here is the time lapse video of July 4, 2012 at the Old Cedar Campground in Monroeville, New Jersey.

Just a few notes on this:

  • The first half of the video is while it was still light, but it gets dark very rapidly at around the 12 second mark.
  • When you look at the still images, you can see that I had a WICKED farmer’s tan. It was glorious.
  • You can almost keep track of how we all did in corn-hole if you look through the still images closely enough. Nog and the Kid had quite a little run.
  • At one point, when it is still light, there is a single frame in which none of us are visible. Where’d we go?!
  • Spieler wears three different t-shirts over the course of this video, not to mention spending a decent amount of time shirtless.
  • For a little while after it gets dark, you can’t see anything. Then the campfire flares up and you only get occasional flickering glances into what we are doing. Keep an eye out for Siegel’s headlamp, some weird pyrotechnics, the camera angle changing slightly (not sure if one of us repositioned it or if it was the wind or something), someone falling asleep on the ground, and Nog falling asleep sitting up in his chair.

I realize that this might not be nearly as interesting to those of you who weren’t actually there and that my video isn’t of the same breathtaking quality as the time lapse sequences from Breaking Bad or Planet Earth. But … well, start your own website and make a better one, then.

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