Monday, October 19, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Cheaha! Brrrrrr!!!!

Fall is usually my favorite time of year for camping. After a long, hot, sticky-humid summer, a nice cool weekend in the mountains - low humidity, no biting bugs, and refreshing temperatures just sounds heavenly. The weatherman said the weekend was looking to be cool & pretty, so we loaded up the van and headed to Mount Cheaha State Park in Alabama - the highest point in AL - only 80+/- miles away.
Well, guess what...The weatherman LIED!!!!
Friday started out quite chilly, and drizzling - but that's not enough to stop us. We arrived to find the mountain covered with clouds, windy and cold. We didn't see even a hint of sunshine until sundown Saturday. The daytime temps stayed in the mid-low 40s...not counting 'windchill'. And Sunday was even colder... 32.4 according to our little handy-dandy thermometer! But we're tough and we can handle it. Blake packed extra blankets...thank you dear hubby for your wisdom! And we pretty much wore ALL our clothes for the entire weekend. LAYERS are awesome! Layers are essential! Layers make camping in the cold just another adventure!!! I went to bed at night counting...not sheep, but the layers I was wearing and number of blankets. (FYI- undershirt, T-shirt, long sleeved T-shirt, sweat shirt, sweat pants, undies, longjohns, 2 sets of socks, + sleeping bag, comforter, my fuzzy blue blanket and 2 more blankets.)

Despite the challenges, we had a great time. We saw some deer - always a thrill. And we hiked to "High Falls" in the Talladega National Forest. It was a fairly easy hike, once we found the right trail. (Do Alabama people not mark their trails!?!?! There wasn't a sign saying which way to go, and there were 4 trails leading off in 4 directions!) I'm VERY happy to say I DIDN'T fall into the creek when we crossed it. Very challenging & slippery for me...AKA McTrippin'! WAHOO!(That's always a reason to celebrate!) Above the creek crossing there was a series of 3 waterfalls...very pretty.

Being deep in the forest, surrounded by mountains, trees, wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, and rocks, and listening to birdsongs, wind in the tree tops & gurgling creeks always makes me so grateful and aware of God. I just feel His presence when I see the mighty works of His hands. In the woods, "Be still and know that I am God..." Ps. 46:10 comes alive for me. That's why I love to camp in the mountains. No matter what's going on - it refreshes my soul. It feeds my soul. It makes me aware of no matter how beautiful this world is, Heaven is going to be soooo much better. I can't look at a mountain without thinking how awesome God is. He MADE them! That is sooo cooool!

My short little 'dashund' legs were sore the next day - but hiking aches & pains are always a 'good sore'.

Around camp we tended to huddle around the fire - either the grill or the campfire. Whatever it takes to stay warm!
Ian had his own methods of keeping warm

Riley enjoyed the camping trip too.

He would lay down right next to the fire & just relax in that big dog kind of way that just says 'I'm happy and content with my family'. We have to be careful though. He often walks up to us & stands there wagging his tail... which is waving in the fire! He's had his tail 'feathers' scorched more than once. He also reaped the benefits of the extra pancakes. We've taught him to catch them from off of his nose.

Cole says "We R Cold. Send Heat! Send more 'smores! We're almost out of pretzels. I don't wanna go home...but I'm really cold!"


Tooki said...

"I lift up my eyes to the hills, whence comes my help". Good on you, you hardy souls! We have our annual trip to the lake for fishing this weekend ('Labour Weekend') which can be bitterly cold. Been rained out of our tenst so often, I confess we no have a cabin!

Donna said...

Hi Donna!

What fun! I know that damp cold...brrr. Looks like a great family weekend. Especially for the dog! Riley brings back such sweet memories for me of our own Big Red Fun Dog who passed on almost 20 years ago. *sniff*

I know what you mean about feeling closer to God in the mountains and woods. There more that anywhere, well, except maybe my garden watching my plants change and grow. A sprouting seed holds that same God-magic for me, too.

Have a good day, friend.

Renate said...

Hey Donna,

Your pictures are great and I can totally sympathize with you on the cold camping trip - we done this a few times! It's all what you make of it!

Anonymous said...

Great pics Donna and I commiserate with you and the cold as we were at the nephews wedding in Philly and they had all the family go doing outside to take pics next to the Delaware river and omg it was so cold and we were only in our dresses, no coats, just dresses and the bride wore strapless. Brrrr.

¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ * Annie*.

Mary said...

Man, you guys look cold! Glad Riley didn't torch his tale. Pics are gorgeous, as usual.