Monday, September 18, 2017

Things I never want to hear again

It is what it is.

You know me, I never/always...

This too shall pass

It's probably muscle weight gain.

Have you tried restarting it?

Have you tried honey?

Have you tried essential oils?

It's God's plan/will.

Real Deal

To be continued

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cummins Falls, TN

Gina and I went to Cummins Falls last week to check it out.

Hiking poles made this trip MUCH easier, the rocks can be slick and the current can be strong.  This is NOT a good place to take people who don't hike or small kids.  The creek must be crossed at least twice and footing can be tricky.

There are bathrooms, picnic tables and safe parking at the state park.
Across the road from the entrance is a small privately owned store with food, supplies and they offer camping.  There is no camping at the park.

The trail to the water has 2 switchbacks and is not very steep or very long

 Loads of wildflowers out!

Once at the creek, the trail skirts the edge somewhat.  I found it easier to just get IN the water and start walking upstream than it is to navigate the narrow and sometimes slippery trail.

There are two places the creek HAS to be crossed, so staying dry is just not an option.
Wear water sandals or shoes you can get wet and that will keep traction.

The last bit of trail to where the falls can be viewed is to the left of the pic, that rubble and small boulder-strewn mess.  It's worth it, just be prepared and only carry what you need-picnic at the top and only bring a snack and water-maybe first aid.
Have a waterproof bag for phones and your key fob, falling in is certainly possible.

The pool at the base is very popular for swimming.
There are life jackets at the bottom for anyone who wants to use one as the water is deep and the current is swift. 

Back at the top, we took the trail to the overlook and went to see the falls from there.

It's not much of a view!

We took a side trail off to the creek above the falls and walked to the edge.  It was dry along the side, we were not standing in moving water on a ledge.

From the creek, the orange blazed trail leads back to the picnic area and parking area, passing this old house below

The total distance for the hike we took was just under 4 miles.  It took us 3.5 hours to do it.  The park closes at 6 and it is recommended to start heading up by 5 to make it in time.  It's a tricky hike, most people will need to take their time.  We did, of course, see the obligatory troupe of college boys who leaped from rock to rock like bald gazelles and were in and out in a matter of moments.   One was wearing leather dress shoes with zero traction.  And he didn't die in a heap, so it is possible to be totally unprepared and survive the hike  Though I don't recommend it.
We stopped for pizza at KO's in Mt. Juliet on the way back home.  Perfect end for the day!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Yesterday, I had a minor mental snap during which I decided I wanted another baby.  I am in recovery now and throwing myself into the only other thing I can think of that would cost thousands of dollars and bring me the near-comparable joy and exhaustion of a baby: Disney World.

Look!  I got a Disney countdown timer!  LMAO.  There's one on my phone as well, assuring me it's only 885 days till our next vacation!  I think I'd be in jail less time for writing bad checks.

So, that's February 1, 2020, which is approximate.  We are going for 2 weeks and planning to be in the parks 10 days of that.  Last time, we were there 2 weeks and in the parks for 8 days of that but we had water park passes as well, which I think we are skipping this time. Only one water park is open at a time in February and it could be chilly!  Plus, without Disney Quest, there's not as much pull to get the 'and more' add on.  We sure won't be using it for sports related stuff.  Zzzzzzz

Have I watched the 2017 planning videos?  Yes, yes I have.  Do I have my fast pass list made yet? Yes.  Do I know what color magic band I will be ordering?  Of course.  AAA says I can't book until June 2019 because they won't have the 2020 pricing before then.  I say pshaw.  They will know by the end of next year.

Matt is already being a party pooper saying the kids won't be able to take off work for 2 weeks, but none of them currently even have a job.  Jake finally got fed up enough to turn in his notice.  He processed out last week.  He and Chan have been filling out applications, but no luck yet.  He's been looking at renting an apartment with a friend of his and that friend just unexpectedly inherited a small house on the backside of nowhere-it's seriously further away from civilization than we are.  I don't know where that puts Jake, perhaps moving out sooner than I envisioned.  Or perhaps not at all-I guess it will depend on if there's internet access.

I don't think getting 2 weeks off 2 and a half years from now is our more pressing issue, to be honest.

So much will change in that amount of time and it will pass so much more quickly than will seem possible.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hobbs Cabin overnight

There are a few stretches in South Cumberland that I have not hiked yet-the 7.2 mile North Plateau trail, a 3 or so mile stretch from Horsepound to Ranger in the Gulf and of course Denny Cove and now Sherwood is being developed...

Anyway, a Facebook friend wanted to do an overnight to see how her gear all worked and so we planned the loop to Hobbs Cabin, staying at a campsite there.  We have walked the 11 miles at Richard Martin together, I knew she was physically able to cover the miles and the distance was her choice when we planned the trip.  We talked through some options and decided less climbing would be best because it's still quite hot during the day.

This is an easy trail, likely rated moderate because it's 9+ miles each way, no matter which route is taken.  However-my full summer of Netflix and Chill accented with 2 mile walks here and there and the occasional swim did nothing at all to prep me for what I thought would be a simple hike.  I didn't overpack, I had less than 20 pounds for overnight and could have knocked that even lower if I hadn't packed so much first aid and extras for things we ended up not having time/energy for.  The plan was to arrive and set up and then start a fire and she wanted to learn to bear bag.  So I had several ways to do both.  In reality, I got to the cabin about 30 minutes before dark and she was there 20 minutes later. By the time we were set up, neither of us cared to mess with finding wood or proper hang trees. I put all the smellies in an Ursac and left it tucked in my pack.  No problem.

The trail in was, let's say 10 miles.  I gave us 6 hours to walk it!  Kimberly's GPS said it was 14 miles.  I just know that I walked my walking pace from 1-7 with 2 15 minute breaks and I did not think I was ever going to get there.  I had a weird spell of thinking I was in purgatory and would be walking forever.  I wasn't tired or hungry or thirsty, I was just walking.  Endlessly.  I seriously think the mileage there is not even remotely accurate.

Kimberly and Lucy

The night passed without incident, we were up by 7 and ready to leave by 8.  I always think it will take about 20 minutes to set up and pack up, but it takes an hour.  I'm sure I could rush, but I like to come home and put everything away where it goes as I unpack and if I have it clean and dry and packed correctly-that part really does only take minutes.

Badly focused stick bug

North Plateau trail is 5.6 miles around to where it meets with the trail to Dinky campground.  From there, it's 3.8 miles to the ranger station.  It took 4 hours to get back, so I think this trail is better measured.  I did not stop on the way out after I waited for Kimberly a couple of times and realized she was doing fine, just her shoes were making her feet hurt so she was going slow-but not lost.

The gnats were SO bad.

new dodads-that caribeener is from Cairn and is multipurpose and the green thing is a digital compass with temp.

Back at the van by noon, we headed out.  I stopped en route and got food and was home around 3.

In the bath, I discovered-seed ticks.  A few hundred of them, all over my feet, ankles and lower legs.  They were in my nail beds, between my toes and had begun to range further up, some behind my knees and a perfect row along the lower edge of my compression shorts.

When Matt got in, I had him check me over, then again the next day.  I found a few more under my watch band and wedding ring!

I itched, not as bad as chiggers but a close second.  My feet and ankles puffed up, I had been developing a UTI for about 3 days-plus PMS set in with bloating achy cramps.  I'm surprised I didn't hurl myself off into the gulf!  Some trips are just bumpier than others.

The day after I got home, Matt took the kids and their buddies rock climbing with Park and I laid out and did laundry all day.  I was barely improved the next day, though I did get the house cleaned up and all my gear sorted and checked for ticks.  I vacuumed about 12 times.

Still, I enjoyed the trip and it's always nice to get to hang out with someone interested in backpacking and who will actually go every now and then.

Already looking forward to next time-after the first frost. hahaha

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse 2017, Tellico Lake, TN

We have been planning this trip all year!

It started off being up at the balds, but I found out I was not the only one with that plan.  Amanda had discovered the place we stayed, Lotterdale Cove, during her research of the area.  Rho has left the fold to attend college!  They dropped her off Thursday!

It was originally Katy, Amanda, and our families.  We invited Gina and Sarah.  Gina declined, so we squeezed Sarah in our site instead of trying to get another spot-though even the night before the eclipse there were still spots open!   Matt could not go because of a new project starting up at work, so he missed the totality.  It turned out to be good in a way because he was so sick over the weekend that they had to cancel a gig.  He's still so sick that he made me stop talking about the cheese we brought home from Sweetwater.

I didn't take any photos until Sunday even though I got there Friday.  That is because Friday was the most stressful day I have had in 7 months.  I needed the whole day Saturday to recover.

Saturday we went to Tellico Plains for a while, where it was something close to 135 degrees.
It was so hot, I kept buying drinks anywhere we went, we came home with an entire bag of bottles to drop at the recycle center.

The bathhouse was up a steep hill from the campsites, so all that drinking was also paying off via massive muscle gain.  I kept getting Charley horses in my calves and having to walk them off in the middle of the night.  Then drink even more because I was pretty sure they are from dehydration.  It was an athletic weekend.

Sunday, we went swimming

These never happen.  12 years, I have known these women.  FIRST photo together.
I wish Sarah had bothered to get dressed.

Katy's hand

I took the girls across the lake to a rope swing.  I thought they would try it a few times and be done.  Not hardly.
It was a solid hour until their arms could no longer hold them on.

Ace went more times than Inde, but her mama doesn't allow pics of her face online, so I had to pare down.

 The big kids slogged over to have a go.
Then Katy showed up in a tiny inflatable boat with an extra paddle.

We went to a nearby cemetery for sunset pics.
This is from the Morgantown Cemetery.

The next day was ECLIPSE DAY

My child for sure.
I taught the kids to float on their back first thing, around age 2 or 3.  My theory was, if they got over their heads or got tired while swimming around, they could always float until their energy returned or they were rescued.
Plus, I love to float!  Chan does too.

Eclipesy things started happening.  Shadows!  The crescent!  We ran around looking at everything on land, then got out in the lake before totality.


My single attempt, though the corona was not that pronounced.  My camera has issues with light and I didn't want to spend more than that 10 seconds messing with it. 

Everyone screamed, we cried, we looked at the planets that are up in the day, we spun around and around to see the lit horizon, and we stared at the sun.  It was so beautiful, there's just no describing it.  The temps dropped 20 degrees, it was so, so lovely.  Everything a dusky blue.

Then, that sliver of sun popped out and BAM-the world was lit again.
We celebrated with moon pies and sun chips because...that's what we do.

That night we watched the sunset from camp, which was a novel idea.  hahaha

Tuesday morning, we packed up, stopped for breakfast and cheese and hit the road.
We were home by 1, it was HOT HOT HOT.

Ben made a friend just before we left camp:

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.