The only thing I’m going to miss about Camp Shelby is the green and the sounds that are here. At night, the crickets and cicadas can be “deafening.” I love it. There is a thick stand of trees directly behind our “hooches” (that’s Army for room) and I’ll go out back and just stand there and listen to the sounds and look at the stars.
On the way back to our hooches from our operations center, there’s a tiny little puddle of water that has been there the whole time we’ve been here. It’s a “mini-wetland.” Tall grass/reeds grow in it. Anyway, as you approach it in the evening, you can hear the frogs just singin’ away. As you get closer, their song begins to die down and as you directly pass its location, it stops entirely. Then as you walk away it slowly picks up. It’s pretty cool. I stopped one night and tried to find the little buggers but they were too well hidden in the reeds and stuff.
On one of the back roads coming into camp, the trees are covered in a large-leaf creeping vine growth. It’s really cool looking. Ferns are everywhere. The ground vegetation is very dense. On a couple of our lanes, we were supposed to traipse through woods to achieve our objective but the undergrowth was too tangled and too dense. It’s a veritable jungle.
"Marijuana" grows everywhere – really. OK, it’s not true marijuana. Here it's called "ditch weed." Apparently what's growing here is the male version. The female version is the illegal kind. LTC Steve Esplin, Utah Highway Trooper, pointed it out to me. He said, “can’t you smell the hemp?” At first I couldn’t, but then when I walked over and looked at it and smelt it, I could. Now that I look for it, I notice it growing it everywhere. It’s really quite weird to see it as my first reaction is to think of the illegal version. I’m going to get some laminating sheets at WallyWorld (Wal-Mart) the next time we go and make bookmarks. Maybe you’ll get a marijuana bookmark in the mail one of these days. If you get caught with it, make sure the officer knows it’s the male version and not the female!!