This is a personal narrative describing a place that "helped form us." I had a really hard time with this one, because there really isn't a place like that. For a while I was thinking about using my room, but really, I'm the one that formed my room. rolls eyes


Fort Canby

Throughout my entire life, my family has gone on numerous camping trips to more places than I can even count. My family has always been the outdoorsy type, except maybe for my brother. But the best place by far that I have ever been camping to was a place down by Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the ocean. It was called Fort Canby, but recently the name was changed to Cape Disappointment. It was almost always cloudy, windy, and barely warm, but I came to love that just as much as everything else about my place.

Fort Canby is not overly large, but it isn't tiny either. There are two different campgrounds, each with three loops or so. These loops provided a great place for us kids to ride our bikes around, then only four, seven, and nine. There are "islands" in the middle of each loop to ride through, or they provided "jungles" to play in, with plenty of trees to climb. My siblings and I had the times of our lives, just around the campsite.

But of course, our parents didn't want to stay at the tent trailer, then motor home. So we rode our bikes to the Big Rock, the bunkers, the jetty, the fishing store, the Lewis and Clark museum, or we walked to the beach. The Big Rock is a large lava rock in the second campsite, perfect for climbing. Our parents, concerned as ever with our safety, made us wear our bike helmets as we climbed. Though the rock isn't incredibly large, it seemed so when we were little, and it was a major achievement to reach the little ledge that was three quarters of the way up, and even better to get to the top.

The jetty was just a pile of rocks that was fun to climb along. We jumped around from one to another like the monkeys we were. The fishing store was fun to visit to get tackle and bait so we could fish from the jetty. I mostly caught crabs on accident, and they were female, so we couldn't even keep them. The Lewis and Clark museum was a ways from the campsite, and we had to bike up a big hill to get to it, but every year we go back there and go through the exhibits.

The bunkers and the beach were closer. At the bunkers, we biked to a trailhead, then hiked up to the top. It wasn't a long hike, and once you get to the top, there are cool forts that are hidden in trees and some weird vine things. There are all sorts of hidden rooms to go and find if you hike around in the woods a bit, and we found what were once bathrooms. One year, we discovered that the vines that surrounded the bunkers had little fruit things that were like mini watermelons with spines that didn't poke you, and if you threw them, they exploded against whatever they hit. This, of course, brought about an epic grenade battle, where you pulled the pins (the stems) and threw the grenades at the "enemy." It was a lot of fun. Every year that we go back to the bunkers, we look for the grenade plant, but that year was the only one in which they grew in such abundance.

At the beach, since it was usually cold, we didn't swim that often. Instead, we built sand castles and forts, and when we got older, boogie boarded in the surf (with wetsuits). At first, the sand castles and forts were just simple things, especially the forts, since we couldn't lift any heavy driftwood, but the older we got, the more the skill and engineering in the building of them grew. We eventually learned that you need support beams if you want your fort to stay upright. One year, when we had invited another family along with us, all us kids built a huge fort that you could only get in from the top. We had a lot of fun doing it.

Fort Canby, I think, is the camping place that had the largest influence on my adventurousness. It is the campsite with the most things to find to entertain yourself (and never mind the traditional games of Yahtzee). I found I loved doing a lot of different outdoorsy things at Fort Canby, and now I love camping in the summer. A summer without camping is like a winter without snow to me. I doubt that, if I had never gone camping as a child, I wouldn't enjoy hiking and being outdoors as much as I do now. Even when I'm doing a simple activity like reading I prefer to do it outside (if it is warm). Fort Canby helped to form my interests in the outdoors, and I love it for that as well as everything else about it.