For a couple of week some Burdine and Jenkins football teammates wanted me to take them camping on Raven Rock. They knew that I knew those mountains like the back of my hand.
I set it up for the following week after practice. I told them that they would have to camp overnight.
After practice, we met at the Jenkins Rec Hall for a bottle of pop before climbing Pine Mountain. Two of the six had already chickened out. We went past Lakeside to Goodwater Street, then up Pine Mountain.
In the mid-40s there was not much of a trail, you just had to make your own way. I had been to Raven Rock many times. I don’t think these guys had been in the mountains before.
My four teammates wanted to rest every few minutes or get a drink of water. I told them to go easy on their water.
When we reached Raven Rock I asked for a match to start a fire. No one had a match. I took the matches I had and built a fire. They wanted to eat, but had no food. I gave them some of mine.
It started getting dark. When it got full dark, a lot of noises were heard in those mountains. I lived at the head of Cane Branch and we had the same noises all night long — bears, deer, and all kinds of animals moving around during the night.
These guys were very afraid of snakes and got as close to me as they could get.
The guys were talking among themselves and decided they wanted to go home. I put the fire out and we started down the mountain in the dark. I told them to stay close to me.
One of the young men fell about 20 feet and hurt himself, and I think he cried all the way to Jenkins Hospital as we took turns helping him walk. They checked him out and found no broken bones. He called his dad to pick him up.
The other boys had already gone home. His dad gave me a ride to Camden and thanked me for taking care of his son.
I did not name these guys because I did not want to embarrass them. A couple of them still live in my hometown.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.