Camp life is THE life.

This trip was a huge success.  I caught myself saying over and over-I’m so comfy. I’m so relaxed. I’m so happy.

Life is so busy.  Life can be overwhelming at times.  No, lets be honest… Life is ALWAYS overwhelming.  It just depends on where you are on your cycle and how hard you are being hit at once.   I can tell you that I’ve had some serious struggles the past year.  Anywhere from physical health to mental health.  This trip was a rebirth of the beautiful side of life.  I didn’t have to worry about schedules. I didn’t have to worry about clients.  I didn’t have to monitor the kids. I was able to just be free; to just be me.

We arrive at the site Friday afternoon.  We unpack all of our camp gear.  We go to the lookout tower where we can see who knows how many miles away. This.  This is what I have been yearning for.  Not a single building in site. Just nature. Just God’s handy work.  How blessed am I that I get to experience this moment.  Thank you so much, God, for making nature beautiful.  We climbed up several flights of hand crafted stone steps.  This was fine. What WASN’T fine was that KK decided after making it all the way to the top, that she wasn’t going to travel back down the same way. She refused. So here I am, holding her like an infant, carrying her down the several flights of stairs her cute little legs had gone up a few minutes earlier.  It’s fine, KK.  Even this silly moment can’t take this smile away.

We set up the campsite to our liking.  We used dryer lint and hay to start a fire and cedar wood that we brought from home.  We are real survivalists. 🙂  Now it’s time for my skills to shine. Cooking over an open fire excites me.  This is a chance to see what gourmet food creations I can get away with without the comfort of a kitchen.  Friday nights meal. Mustard wings and taters. MMM. MMM.  We end up crawling into the tent at an early time. We listen to the ever so loud and proud of their conversations -college student-neighbors for a bit then slip off into slumber. We awake to a chilly morning.  I feel rejuvenated. No alarm. No chaos. Just awake and rested.  We make scrambled eggs and sausage. We boiled eggs for later. We have fresh pressed German coffee. I forgot the creamer and sugar. This is a HUGE problem. But I use a Reese’s Egg I had in the Pilot for a touch of flavor. It definitely wasn’t pleasant, but I made do.

If you aren’t from the south, you don’t know what  pollen snow is. We had a full blown pollen snow covering while we were there.  Picture light snow. Beautiful and white, dusting everything it touches. Now imagine you’re in a nightmare created by satan himself. Everywhere you saw snow is now allergy inducing pollen, green and almost sticky. Wave after wave of flower semen dust. Sneeze after sniffle after clearing your throat after coughing with a touch of itchy watery eyes.  I digress.

We made a small trek into the woods around camp. There was a small hiking trail. We circled back to the site and took a nap in the tent.  That’s right people. A NAP. It was wonderful.  We slowly woke up from our siesta just in time for lunch.  We made hot dogs. We relaxed in the hammock and listened to the wind howl across the campsite.  Here I am, comfy, peaceful, happy.  Up and at it again, we decide to make our way into the Talladega Forrest.  We decide to follow a trail that leads to several waterfalls. This was a short-lived adventure. We follow what we think is the trail, only to find it leads into a small campsite with an outhouse and right back to where we parked. We were perturbed.  We get back into the pollen covered vehicle and make our way to another spot in hopes of an adventure.  We find another spot that appears to have promising trails. We pull up and park. I get the bright idea to venture off into the forest without shoes on.  My fella calls me a hippy. I smile in agreeance.  They have information upon entering it about safety and that it’s 2800 acres SO DON’T BE STUPID.  Hydrate. Keep your animals on a leash. Don’t venture off into the wilderness without a compass and light.  If you get lost, don’t panic, etc.   How exciting!!!!!!  We start our journey. KK doesn’t like being on the leash. I don’t like it for her, but rules are rules.   We followed the Pinhoti Trail. It’s March so there’s not much greenery.  Everything is bare from the winter.  The rocks are my favorite. There’s small rocks that have been chipped away and HUGE boulders that are part of the mountain. I love all the rocks.   We made it a couple miles and decided to make our way back to the Pilot.   We got back to the campsite just before dark.  Time for Chefista Pat Pat to make her way.  This time, pork tenderloin, squash, zucchini, onion, a sliver of butter and a little lemon juice. All wrapped up in a cute foil packet. This meal was to die for!!!!  We shared a packet with a loner camper neighbor of ours. He was extremely grateful.  He had said that he and his brother were supposed to be camping but due to the sketchy weather from where his brother lived and the campsite, the brother decided not to go. He was such a pleasant neighbor to have.  We checked the weather for the rest of the weekend. Rain.  Not storms. But rain.  Rain at a campsite is NEVER a good time.  We did the best we could to secure all of our belongings in the Pilot and tent.  We put a tarp over the tent.  We giggled at the college neighbors who were having the time of their lives not knowing rain would be coming soon, probably not caring even if they did.   We poked around the fire pit, laid in the hammock, relaxed. Then went to bed.  THE TARP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was no relaxation, peace and comfy. NONE. That tarp made the most ridiculous noises EVER!!!!!!!!!!  I had taken a melatonin AND a Benadryl just in case my allergies were going to keep me up all night.  THE TARP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That thing had me picturing some obnoxious giant in the sky rustling around in his loud stupid bed for the entire stupid night. There was nothing I could do to drown out the sound.  It was awful. The wind would finally die down and I would get settled in and BAM there the tarp went again.  I wish you could have heard it but trust me when I say…….nails on a chalkboard, neighbor dogs howling at 2am, poison oak and ivy on the inside bends of your knees and elbows in the heat of summer……………… times infinity.  I don’t know if it was the repetitiveness of the crinkling. Whatever it was, it made for a rough Saturday night.  The rain itself wasn’t too bad. We stayed dry. The college neighbors panicked a bit when it first hit but shortly after, fell asleep.  We woke up Sunday morning to a very misty, foggy morning.  My fella came to the rescue and used his shirt as a filter to make his best attempt at coffee since our French press bit the dust. Literally.  We had oatmeal and bacon for breakfast.  We decided to go ahead and pack up since everything was wet and soggy. We could get back in ample time to unpack, relax and grieve the returning to reality of bliss.  The college neighbors were hacking up all types of funk. I reached in my pilot and offered them some sinus medication.  You would have thought I handed them diplomas.  They were very thankful.  Our quiet neighbor packed up and left and the college neighbors followed suit, also.  We all had a great time in our own ways. That’s the beauty of humans. We all have our very own experiences. We all have our own ways of enjoying life.  Mine isn’t yours.  We will never fully understand each others’ ways. And that’s quite alright.   Abenteuer ihren Weg!!!   (Adventure your way)

Thank you, God, for giving me eyesight to experience the AWE! For touch, taste, smell and hearing.  May I be reminded of the small blessings in my weekdays and the bigger blessings in my weekends!!!

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Cheaha State Park. Tallest point in Alabama. This is part of the Talladega Forrest.
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Fire Safety. When you leave the campsite, always put out your flame. We used water then dirt.
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No one said you have to sacrifice good food when camping. This is a “hobo dinner”. Its a pork loin, squash, zucchini, onion and a spritz of lemon. AMAZING!!!!

 

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We went hiking in the Talladega Forrest. We were UNSUCCESSFUL in finding the waterfalls they speak of but I gained some mad confidence when I trekked the forrest BAREFOOT. My fella says I’m a hippy….I say so??? 🙂
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He has an ENO. I have about a 1/6 of the cost off brand and still oh so stylish hammock. These are a must when camping.
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First night was a success. We were warming up water for our coffee and cracking the eggs for breakfast. Notice I’m sitting on the rocks by the fire and my Queen Warrior is in the chair. We all have our places, don’t we?
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I try to camp where there is an electric outlet. All for convenience. That’s Christmas lights around a tree, tube lights leading into the tent and a small space heater for a snuggly night’s rest.
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Mustard chicken wings with a delicious smokey flavor and perfectly cooked baked potatoes. People pay big bucks for this type cuisine.
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We did have a casualty this trip though. My French press. My saving grace. She lived a good life full of camping successes. This was the windiest trip I have ever experienced and she gave us her last sip of fresh german coffee Saturday morning. She shattered on the ground from what I like to call a G-force wind gust.

 

 

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My KK. Such a diva. Konigin Krieger “Queen Warrior” Guarding her sleeping bag and Pringles.

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