Essay Camping Trip To A Forest Reserve

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Organized Group Camping

The Forest Preserves of Cook County provides organized camping opportunities for groups up to 60. Perfect for youth organizations, corporate team building, retreats and other special events, our campgrounds each offer a different mix of accommodations including group tent campsites, clusters of cabins and bunkhouses, along with large fields, dining halls and picnic shelters.

We welcome groups of all kinds, and have programs designed to prepare group leaders for their event. We also have options for gear rental so the lack of equipment won’t keep you from camping in the preserves.

We are ready to work with you to design the perfect camping experience, unique to the needs of your group. With a friendly, professional staff, your time at our campgrounds will provide memories that will last a lifetime.

Non-profit group? Groups with a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirming 501(3)(c) status (see sample) are eligible for 50% off camping fees.

View individual campground pages for lodging options and fees.* All organized groups should register by calling 855-YES-CAMP.

I savored a masterfully browned marshmallow, thoroughly enjoying the late-week camping escape with two best friends. Frogs croaked and various nocturnal bugs sang, serenading our campfire evening.

“Do you guys believe in reincarnation?”

I snorted. First, I’m not a guy and neither is Sarah. But that didn’t matter around Tom. We were all just good friends. No hang-ups allowed.

“Seriously,” Tom said.

Looking up from the mesmerizing flicker of the fire, I noticed Tom’s intense expression. The insects and frogs hushed as a chill wind circled our encampment.

“No,” I answered. Beside me, Sarah shivered and shook her head in response.

Tom stood, pacing across from the log that Sarah and I sat, the fire separating us.

“I didn’t either, really,” Tom began, “until I met Elizabeth Brighton, the Medium.” He grinned, then continued. “I scared her so much she ran right off the set of her show.”

Tom stopped pacing, the fire reflecting, making his eyes glow an evil red. “She’d never had such a strong reading and wanted to have me arrested, get this, for future crimes.” He laughed.

“Wait,” I said, remembering a news article from a few days ago. “Lizzy Brighton? That TV hocus-pocus woman? She was murdered the other day.”

Tom stepped closer, almost in the fire. “I couldn’t let my secret out yet. She knew, sensed, too much.”

“Stop!” Sarah screamed, jumping up. “You’re scaring me. This is crazy.”

Tom moved faster than lightening – through the fire? I saw the flash of metal before it registered. Sarah’s renewed screaming stopped abruptly, her throat cut nearly to decapitation. On the ground, Sarah lay still, her dulled eyes not reflecting the fire. Over her body, Tom wielded his knife, violating her horrifically.

Numbed beyond speech, I kicked the hot embers and burning wood at Tom, catching his clothing on fire.

Screeching in anger and pain, Tom turned, lunging at me. I jumped back, tripping over the log where Sarah and I had sat toasting marshmallows. A flaming torch now, Tom stumbled over the log. His eyes no longer reflected the fire – they were fire. As he fell, the knife slashed across my arm, stinging as the flesh parted.

Heedless of the pain, I scampered out of reach – of the knife and the flames. The pop and hiss gagged me but I couldn’t turn away. The stench engulfed me in a way that I knew could never be washed away.

Would anyone else believe that Jackson Thomas Rypken was Jack The Ripper incarnate? I now believed.

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