Blast From the Past

This was Spring Break my senior year of high school.

April 26, 1998

I found some time to tell you about Moab so here goes.  We left Tuesday about 5.  It was me, Sarah, Adrien, Anna and Autumn.  Sarah drove her mom’s Jeep Cherokee.  We got in Moab about 7:30.  We put the tent up and unloaded the car.  Sarah was sick so she went to sleep and the rest of us went swimming and hot tubing.  After me and Adrien went to the bathroom and changed and stuff.  Anna and Autumn stayed at camp and Sarah woke up and yelled some profanities at a dog and went and slept in the car.

We tried to start a fire when we got back.  Anna and Autumn went to bed and me and Adrien stayed up and cooked our burritos.  We were sitting there eating them and this guy walked up and asked if we’d seen his friend walk by.  We said no and he just kept talking to us.  His friend walked up a few minutes later and we just talked.  They talked to us about the liquor laws in Utah.  They sat down by us after awhile.  We were just talking about the church and how we don’t believe in drinking.  They tried to get us to drink some of their screwdrivers but of course we didn’t.  We talked for awhile.  They fought everything we said.  The one pulled a joint out of his pocked once too.

We migrated around the fire and the one that came up first asked me to step away from the fire for a minute.  I was debating but I did.  He asked me to go on a walk with him.  I said no and that I didn’t really want to.  He was so manipulative though and he’s like I just want to ask you some more questions but my friend makes me feel dumb.  So I was dumb and gave in.  We walked to another part of the campground (not far) and sat down at a picnic table.

I knew when he asked me to step away from the fire that he was going to try something but I’m not smart enough to not go with him.  At first we sat on opposite sides of the table then he said “I’m freezing, do you care if I come sit by you?”  So he sat next to me.  I sat there with my hands in front of my face so he wouldn’t try to kiss me.  He just asked me how I know that I don’t want to drink when I haven’t tried it.

I saw Adrien walk by but she turned before she saw us so a few minutes later I said that we should go find her.  I got up and started walking back to our campsite.  He stopped me and said, “Heather, can I kiss you?!”  I totally saw it coming.  I said no and that I didn’t know him and I wasn’t comfortable with it.  He was manipulative again.  He said “just a little one, I respected you enough to ask you.  Just a friendly little kiss.”  I knew I shouldn’t but there was a part of me that wanted to and he was so manipulative that I just did.  It wasn’t a little kiss on my standards.  He gave the tongue right away.  I kissed him back.  I pulled away after a bit.  He said “that’s all?”  I started walking back again and he stopped me again and wanted to kiss me again.  I said no again and he was manipulative again so I kissed him again.

Then we went back to our campsite but no one was there.  He tried to kiss me again but I wouldn’t.  I heard someone walking up and Autumn and Adrien walked up and Autumn just started yelling “Get out, get the hell out,” etc.  He was shocked.  I told Autumn to settle down and that it was okay then I told Brent – that’s his name- to just leave.  He stood there shocked and asked what he did for awhile then he said “Nice to meet you” and left.

Me, Adrien and Autumn had a group hug/crying session.  Anna came out of the tent and we all settled down.  We went to the bathroom and got ready for bed.  We were walking back and Brent walked back the other way.  Autumn yelled at him again.  He kind of got mad.  He said that he came back to apologize.  He wouldn’t leave.  We all told him to leave.  He was stubborn but he finally left.

I can’t believe I kissed a 21 year old drunk Canadian.  He wasn’t a good kisser at all.  It was way slobbery.  Maybe he was just so drunk that he couldn’t control his tongue, who knows.  He was pretty cute though.

We realized later when we were all in the tent that they were at the pool earlier so they’d seen us.  That scared me.  I only slept a few hours that night.  I was scared I was going to get raped.  The next morning we woke up and tried to cook breakfast.  It took awhile but we finally managed.  Then we all got ready and went hiking.  On our way out of the campground we saw them coming out of the pool.  We didn’t look at them but when we were out on the road I turned around and they were watching us and waving.

We went into Arches and hiked around.  It was fun.  We hiked until about two then we went back to the campground.  Ben, Jared and Jason were there.  We yelled at them and made them camp next to us.  Then we all went swimming for the rest of the afternoon.  It was fun.  Then we showered and stuff and made dinner.

We went into town and got ice-cream then went on a night hike.  We tried to go to Delicate Arch but didn’t make it the whole way.  It was fun anyway though.  We came back and sat around the fire for awhile then we all went to bed.  I slept so much better that night.  We woke up in the morning and those guys made us breakfast, nice huh.  We just packed everything up pretty much.  We messed around a little too.  We left about 10:30.  We were going to hike Gemini Bridges but it was too far so we headed home.

We stopped in Green River though.  We went to this campground on the Green River that Sarah knew about.  It was all sandy.  We played in the water and layed out for a few hours.  It was so fun.  We just came home after that.  It was so much fun.

I think the Canadians got kicked out of the campground though because we never saw them again.  I learned a good lesson.  I had a lot of fun though.  We brought Chex Mix over to those guys tonight to thank them for saving us.  But I’m getting pains in my hand and I’m really tired so goodnight.

Shortly after I had the idea for the Blast From the Past posts I thought I should use this journal entry as one.  I’ve put it off until now because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it.   I’m pretty sure the only people who knew about this are those who were involved.  I was {still am} pretty ashamed about how stupid I was, how easily I put myself into what could have been a really bad situation.

It’s interesting to think back on this now, to see it from older eyes.  First of all, I still see how it could have been a bad situation.  Yes the elements were there and my choices influenced that.  That being said, I don’t think the guy was going to hurt me.  I think he was a 21 year old on vacation looking to have some fun.  He was doing what he could to try and find someone to party with but I don’t think he was going to rape me.  If that was his intent, he could have accomplished it.

I am also so grateful for wonderful friends.  I was firm in my beliefs at the time and drinking and smoking pot weren’t temptations to me but I know in that moment the fact that Adrien was sitting right next to me gave me greater strength to resist.  I knew that she would be strong and never give in to what they were trying to get us to do.  That knowledge gave me even greater strength to resist.

My friends also came looking for me when they thought I could be in danger.  They were wandering around the campground trying to find me and were way more afraid of the situation I was in than I was.

I am also grateful for the three boys who came and camped by us.  Not only did they help us feel safe but they made us breakfast.  They were from our school and we knew them but I wouldn’t call them friends.  They were certainly good guys and I hope I can raise my sons to be like them someday.

I am grateful for parents who let me go on trips with just my friends even though stuff like this can (and did) happen.  (Don’t worry Mom and Dad, this is the worst thing that happened on those trips.)  Some of my very favorite memories from high school are the trips that I went on with my friends.  I hope that I can remember that when my boys are teenagers and asking to go off on their own.  I hope I can let go of a little control and let them go have experiences and learn life lessons.

Finally, I am grateful that I recorded events like this.  I had remembered the situation but there were details that I had forgotten until I went back and read it.  The details that I had forgotten are the good things that I did.  I had only remembered the stupid things.  Because this is written down I can look back on the experience thirteen years later and still be learning from it.

4 thoughts on “Blast From the Past

  1. I always should have loved Autumn. I had no idea that she could scare away drunk Canadians 🙂 I had no idea that you were such a wild child Bub.

  2. I was so scared for you as I read this!!!!!! I am glad nothing horrible happened. M & D are going to have a tough time reading this though…I am not sure what I think about high school age kids camping by themselves… . So many interesting things about this post. I love the how you described your friends coming to your aid and how you took care of each other. I love that you didn’t “have time” to go on some incredible hikes but went and laid out and swam…I love your sweet shirt in the pic and how young and innocent you look. I love that you are brave enough to share this with the world. One day your kids, and probably mine, will read this and learn a lot from it. Isn’t it interesting that you only remember how you messed up in this experience? Not the good choices you made?

  3. Oh my! I am embarrassed reading this…not to mention that horrible picture of me! I completely forgot that happened. (Was I that mean?! I pity the fool who ever tries to rape me. hahaha) That’s why I don’t like reminiscing about HS…almost every memory is about something totally stupid I did. Thank heavens we grow up.

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