The rain from the night before left a misty presence on the river in the morning. It's our last full day here and already I'm sad to be leaving. I was determined to capture the river and our favorite spots on it on camera.
On the left, the main area I gathered our river water from for dishes, laundry and washing up.
The rain and morning dew clung to this fresh sprout of leaves. Writing this now from the dryness and warmth of my kitchen I can still smell the wet, fresh air ladened with the aroma of earth and the river. I miss the woods and my child is much too clean these days.
The progression of dirtiness. Step one: Fill a pail with wood chips and dirt.
Step Two: Dump it on your face.
Step Three: Make sure you have fully emptied the pail of it's contents -on your head.
Step Four: Enjoy being filthy.
Wilder gets the sports page as Brian reads a week+ old paper from one of the motels we stayed at on our drive over. We thought it was hilarious that we spent about $60 a night driving to our campsite, where we stayed over a week for $90. Next time we're camping all the way -except maybe our last night on the drive home so we can feel sort of clean while driving forever.
Wilder, Dad said to READ the paper, not EAT the paper.
What the heck, he could use some fiber.
Ahhhh....the river. A bit clearer now that the mist has lifted.
Savannah loved her continually fresh, endless water dish.
One Happy Camper
We decided to tackle a small portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and chose the trail connection just outside the tiny town of Stecoah, closest connector to our camp. This time I carried Wilder and Brian brought the provisions -what a sport, he wore my girly backpack (thankfully it wasn't pink.) We decided to just hike until we felt ready to turn around. Choosing the trail headed south, we began climbing up and up.An area on the trail "paved" with boulders.
It took about an hour for us to get to Simp Gap -a low portion of the mountain, but a high point for us with the view between the trees to the valley below and the hills beyond.
Ahhhhh, the AT.
We ran into a set of older hikers on their way up from the starting point in Georgia heading to the entrance to The Smoky Mountains National Park, a trip roughly 183 miles. These were seriously seasoned hikers. The wife, at least in her 60s, shared that as soon as her kids were old enough to start hiking (ages 4 & 6 back then) they were out on the trails with her and now, of course, they HATE camping. Funny how that works. Hopefully Wilder will always love being outside and enjoying nature. This couple and their slightly younger friend were an inspiration that further fueled the fire in Brian and I to eventually hike the entire AT.
Terrible storm clouds swept in and the wind picked up 1 hour and 20 minutes into our hike. We decided to turn around and head back, trying not to be overly ambitious. We both agreed that this hike was much harder than the12 miles we did two days previously, but it was mainly because we were still so fatigued, not being used to such strenuous hiking. Texas is pretty darn flat, so it's hard to find areas to practice uphill treks.
The rain never fell, thankfully, and we made it back to the truck dry -well, sweaty, but not rained on. I don't know how Brian hiked 9 hours with Wilder on his back. I barely made it for 3 hours. Obviously I have a LOT of training before we take some multi-day backpacking trips.
Back at the camp we made the most of our last night. Silly flashlight photos, big fire, and eating roasted Vienna and smoked sausages with baked beans.
Oh fire, we miss you!
Getting to hike the AT was top on my list, so it was incredible getting to do so before leaving the area. Brian and I are very excited about making hiking and camping a large part of our lives now that we've proven to ourselves that we can do it, even with a baby. Watch out Texas, we're going to walk all over you (and camp, too!)