I just turned 25 this year and it is hard to believe. Yes I may still be young but my days of youth are counting down, they are going by fast. So for my 25th birthday weekend I did something exciting but also very scary. I went camping in a severe storm. For as long as I can remember I have had a fear of storms. Now I'm not deathly afraid, I won't run screaming when I see lightning but I definitely feel uneasy.

Me and a friend had planned this two weeks prior and had no idea that there was going to be storms. Once I heard about it of course I was nervous and didn't want to go at that point but I went anyways. We went primitive camping at Garden of the Gods in Illinois which means you basically find a place to camp for free. When we got there it was cloudy and windy but we got to go to Camel Rock and the rest of the cliffs. If you haven't been to Garden of the Gods it is very beautiful. Its basically mountains for miles (although technically they were giant hills). So after the hike we found ourselves a camp spot and set up camp. Shortly afterwards was when the first storm hit.

The wind was crazy going through the trees at at least 75 mph. The rain pored very hard and there were 2 lightning strikes within a mile from us. This storm lasted about 10 minutes before it blew over and was calm. So we went back to the cliff. The next part was one of the craziest things I've ever seen. There was a second wave of storms in the forecast and we watched as the storm front rolled over the hills. It looked like a giant cloud of smoke was eating the hills. At this point I'm face to face with one of my biggest fears, it was wild. We watched it as it approached and decided to go back to our campsite. The tent was soaked and messed up from the first storm so we decided to pack it up and find somewhere else to go.

The second storm was twice as ferocious as the first and I'll admit I lost my cool while it was going on. But we pressed on, we got everything packed up and started hiking to the car which was parked over a mile from where we were. By then it was still storming but the worst was passed us. We got back to the car and calmed down as we decided what to do next.

Despite the fact that we decided to camp in a very bad storm and I was afraid a lot of the time, I had never felt more alive. This was a once in a life time experience and I don't regret doing it. Now my fear for severe storms no longer scares me. The moral of the story is that you should face your fears. You will come back from it stronger and who knows it might be a once in a life time experience.

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