It was the spring of ‘76 and we were reading Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” in my Sophomore English class. Somehow we convinced our teacher that the best place to read that book would be in Arches National Park, half a day’s drive from Salt Lake. Even more miraculously, she convinced the school administration that it was a good idea too. We got Thursday and Friday off school and spent a long weekend down there. An unmarried teacher and her boyfriend and a dozen 16 year-olds of both genders.
We drove down in a caravan of a half dozen cars, I borrowed my dad’s full-sized ‘74 Dodge Van packed with me, 6 of my closest friends and all our camping gear. True to the show of the same name as my title, one of my passengers was a Foreign Exchange student (from Germany, not some unnamed third-world country) who was part of our group.
For the most part, we camped in my parent’s big 8 man Army looking tent. One night we discovered a big, natural bowl cut into the rock and spent the night in there. Now, this wasn’t too smart, because as it was we had a hard time climbing out of it the next morning, but if there had been a rain storm, famous for flash floods in the desert, the wet rock would have made it all but impossible to get out.
But we survived, as 90% of teenagers do. Which, considering their stupidity, is an amazing statistic to me.
A couple days ago I found a box of old VCR tapes in the garage and in it was a tape I had transferred a bunch of old Super 8 movies onto. This clip, from that trip, was among them. You’ll have to forgive the quality, this was 35 years ago and has been transferred from Super 8 to VCR, to DVD and then uploaded to YouTube.