We’ve just returned from a wonderful three day camping trip in the mountains of North Carolina. We spent time with my husband’s aunt and uncle, who camp all summer long at the same campground. They like to escape the Georgia heat for the coolness of the mountains. Brad and I were able to borrow a friend’s pop-up camper, which sure beat our original plan to tent camp!
I must say that camping is a lot of work, but it really is a lot of fun. I had to pack for three children, including water shoes and swim suits. We had to take pots and pans for outdoor cooking, food, water, coffee maker, towels, bed sheets, blankets, pillows, fire wood, flashlights, and so much more. We didn’t forget a thing because I think we packed it all! To make it worth all the trouble, it’s best to camp for a minimum of three nights! Packing is just one part of the work because then you have to unpack, constantly sort through the supply boxes, and then put it all away when you get home. The mountain of laundry to wash is also work! I think I did seven loads of laundry to get us caught up from just being gone three days! My husband asked me if our trip was worth all the work, and I replied, “Absolutely!”
One of our favorite things to do was sit outside each morning with our cups of coffee and hot chocolate and enjoy the scenery and coolness. Our camp site was right on a beautiful pond overlooking a mountain. Aunt Betty would join us early in the mornings with Logan’s requested cup of her “kid coffee.” Our first morning, Brad cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast on our outdoor stove. Yum!
On our first day, we ventured to the Cradle of Forestry Discovery Center, a 6,500 acre historic site within the Pisgah National Forest. It is the home of the first US Forestry school. This place was not our original destination, but due to rain, we decided to stop and tour the center while we waited for the weather to clear. We ended up staying three hours! We toured the center where the kids participated in a scavenger hunt, rode in a fire fighting helicopter simulator, and crawled through an underground tunnel to peer at nesting animals. We also took a one-mile loop walk around the historic buildings of the old school grounds. On the way, Aunt Betty and I enjoyed taking pictures of everything we saw. She and I share an interest in photography. If we ever got away by ourselves on a nature trail, we could probably be gone for hours! Betty taught me some new things with my camera and offered helpful hints on getting the perfect picture. We discovered after attempting several shots of the children that having a cooperative subject helps, like a mushroom for example!
On our second day, we headed early to Sliding Rock. We paid $1 per person (except Luke was free). Sliding Rock is a natural water slide that is a popular destination for tourists. Brad, the kids, and I waited in line to slide down the gently sloping 60-foot waterfall over rock, dropping into the large, deep pool at the bottom. I slid down with Luke, and when we landed in the cold water, our breath was taken away! It was SO cold! After two slides, Luke was done! I went down one more time with Logan, then I was done! Brad and Lindsay went down four times, and by then the line had grown quite long and we all decided it was a good time to go.
We drove into Brevard and had lunch at Rocky’s Soda Shop. I had a delicious grilled pimento cheese sandwich with tomato and bacon. It came with green tomato pickles, which were marvelous! Brad got chili cheese hotdogs, Lindsay and Logan ate BLT’s and Luke had a grilled cheese sandwich. On the way out, the kids got ice cream! As we were walking back to our cars, Uncle Gene spotted a white squirrel, which are quite popular in the area. Well, Betty and I headed across the street after it to catch up and snap some photos. My picture was blurry, but Betty got a great shot of the little guy’s tail!
We stopped at Looking Glass Falls on the way back to the campground. When we saw people swimming there, we decided to stay and swim too. The waterfall was just beautiful and amazing and peaceful to watch. Brad swam across the bottom of the fall and sat on a rock where the water fell on his back. He said the water was falling with such force that it stung his back. The water was quite rough around the area where the water fell into the pool at the bottom, so the kids and I stayed around the edges. We spent about an hour and a half there and headed back.
After taco salad for dinner, we all went on a walk. We stopped in a field where the kids caught fireflies and played frisbee. After dark, we pulled out our flashlights and went on a flashlight walk. There is one road in the campground that is surrounded on both sides by tall trees and makes for a dark road, so that’s where we walked. The moon was almost full, so we did have lots of moonlight. The kids loved it!
After breakfast Saturday morning, Logan, Lindsay, and Luke wanted to check out the canoe in the pond. Betty and I walked over with them and let them sit in the canoe while it was tied up. Then, Logan wanted to be let loose on the pond. I gave two simple rules and allowed he and Lindsay to untie the canoe and paddle the pond. They laughed and had a good time! Logan sat in the back and steered and Lindsay provided some muscle power. As they pulled to the side to get out, Lindsay fell part way into the water as the canoe was not quite stabilized and started pulling away from the wall. Instead of staying in the canoe, she grabbed the wall and hung over the water as the canoe carried her legs away! I ran to help as Betty snapped pictures. Later, Brad and Logan went out on the canoe and Logan got to show off his new found skill!
Next, Betty and Gene took Lindsay and Logan creek hiking. This is where a good pair of water shoes and a good walking stick come in handy! Brad and I sat with Luke at a pool of water collected inside a wall of rocks on the creek. Luke enjoyed playing in his own private pool and of course, throwing rocks into the creek. When Betty, Gene, and the kids met up with us at the pool, I joined them in their creek hike. It was a lot of fun!
We enjoyed three days of rock sliding, waterfall swimming, canoeing, and creek hiking! The kids were never without something to do or to explore. Brad and I enjoyed experiencing these things with our children! I enjoyed taking my boys off separately on morning walks with our cameras. Even little Luke loved the privilege of taking any pictures he wanted with my old digital camera. Our family had the wonderful opportunity to refresh, regroup, and reconnect with each other. We so enjoyed our time away, and we praise God for making a beautiful world for us to delight in!