– Ben Martens

PacNW Christian Men’s Retreat 2024

Last year was my first time attending a retreat held by our area churches. I had a great time and instantly signed up for this year’s retreat as soon as they created the sign up form. Unfortunately, this year’s experience was dramatically different!

I decided to make the most of my trip to the Olympic Peninsula so I left earlier in the day so I could play a round of golf at Rainshadow Disc Golf Park. It’s one of the most highly rated courses in Washington and it didn’t disappoint. The holes are very well thought out and there is a lot of elevation change. Many holes have extreme penalties for throwing off the fairway because the fairway ends up being on the ridge of the hill with a steep drop-off on each side. Since I didn’t know the course (and I’m not that good), I mostly just played short throws that would stay in view, and I didn’t concern myself too much with my score. I shot a painful eight over par on the front nine and only one over on the back nine.

After finishing the round, I still had plenty of time, so I checked out the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I didn’t feel like paying the entry fee just for 30 minutes of walking around, so I checked out the surrounding county park instead. I’d love to go back with more time to explore though.

Dinner isn’t provided on the first night of the retreat, and I stopped for a quick bite to eat at Jack in the Box. It was so gross when I went in that I should have just turned around, but I felt obligated to buy something since I had already used their restroom. And since it was just me without the family in tow, I didn’t think too much about it. But then the fries tasted really weird. That’s odd. They were so weird that I ended up not eating them all. Strange. But whatever.

When I showed up at the Men’s Retreat, I felt off. I figured it was probably just getting old and not being used to eating a lot of fast food. But as I met up with some of the other guys from our church and walked around, it got worse. By the time the event started, I knew something was wrong.

I’ll save you the biological details but suffice it to say that it became obvious that I had food poisoning. I skipped the evening session, went straight to bed, and laid awake all night with trips to the bathroom (trying very hard not to make any mess in my room!) At 3am, I called it quits, made a beeline for the ferry in my little window of time when I felt ok after a vomit, and got back home. I proceeded to feel worse and worse throughout the day, but I was very thankful to be home and have Tyla to help me out! By Sunday and Monday, I was able to keep some fluids down and slowly build my strength back.

After looking forward to the Men’s Retreat for a full year, it was a complete bust. But hey, there’s always next year right?