We had an incredible weekend camping at Big Ridge State Park in TN. The weather was absolutely perfect, mid 70's during the day, low 50's at night...really we couldn't have asked for better! We chose this park, frankly, because a month ago when we tried to make reservations the Smokey Mtn. National Park was totally booked up. We wanted to be somewhere in that general area and Big Ridge seemed like a kid friendly place. Now we are sooooo happy we had not reserved a spot at a national park.
There were so many great moments but I'll just give you the highlights. We camped with our dear friend Devin which was such a treat. She is such a sweet and fun loving person and having her with us enhanced the experience. She arrived a day before us and left a day before us and there was lots of "I wonder what Devin is doing now??" from Lucy after she had left.
When I told Lucy that Devin was a forester and knew the names of most of the trees, Lucy got a great idea to bring a book and some glue with her. On one of our hikes we collected leaves and she glued them into her book. Devin helped her spell all the names as she carefully labeled each one. Soooo stinking cute!
The most magical moment for all of us was spotting a bald eagle soaring above our heads. Awesomely, Bruce had his binos on him and we were able to get a good look. That's when we realized that the eagle was a parent and had an eaglet following. It seemed as if the parent was teaching the baby how to catch the wind as they made wide sweeping circles upward. Absolutely breathtaking!!
We did lots of hiking and the trails at Big Ridge were wonderfully maintained and there were a lot of options for kid friendly lengths. The water views, leaf color and moderately rolling terrain made for such enjoyable walking. We had the dogs with us too and were astonished that we did not spot any ticks....so great!!
On Friday night, Devin and I took Griffin on a ranger led "Ghost Hike". We walked 1 1/2 miles over the course of 2 1/2 hours, stopping often to listen to ghost stories. It was such a cool program! The stories Ranger Sarah told us were all historically based legends that had been told and retold in that area for many years. It was just the right mix of history and spooky (including a visit to a real old-timey cemetery, complete with collapsing gravesites). I had never done a proper hike in the dark and I loved the different perspective it offered. I was so mindful of each step and all the noises surrounding me in the woods. Very very cool.
On Saturday night, a dozen or so old timers gathered at a campsite a ways down from ours and had a full on bluegrass jam session. Although, we wished we were closer, we enjoyed every minute of the faint music that has filled those southern Appalachian hollers for many many years.
It was a weekend we will all remember. The kids are already talking about when the next camping trip is...Griffin is hoping it's his birthday weekend.
Hope you all had a beautiful fall weekend too! We are back to normal schedules with 4 soccer games this week. Bruce starts his radiation treatments back up today. He is starting to feel really worn out from them, but feels like overall his body is holding up well. We don't have any more big plans until Thanksgiving and I am going to encourage Bruce to take it as easy as possible until the treatments are over.
Big Love to you, until next time. xoxo