Friday, October 22, 2010

Escape #3: the mountains

Warning: zillions of photos ahead!

Part 1: The Campout

The reason for our trip to the mountains was a group camping trip.  Some smart person realized that Asheville was halfway between Durham and Katie’s new home in Atlanta, and so a plan was hatched.

A lovely plan it was.

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Everyone arrived after dark, which made setting up camp quite an adventure.  As did the signs on the bathroom warning that black bears had recently been seen in the campground!

We had been told that each campsite could hold two cars and two tents, but this was a bit of an exaggeration.  Our big tent (Russ calls it the Taj Mahal) was far too big for any of the flat spots on our campsite.  Russ ended up setting it up on the parking pad.

Which meant that he and Doug had to park this close.  (Sometimes I think men are a little crazy.)

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It got very cold and we FROZE Friday night.  Russ and I have these great sleeping bags that we really love.  We love them because they are 40 years old.  They have flannel on the inside and canvas on the outside, and they don’t make all of those little rustling sleeping bag noises that modern bags make.  (Yes, I already know I have noise issues!)  Anyway, we stole these bags from his parents and we have loved them.

Until this night.

When it got down to 40 degrees,

and one of the zippers was broken.

We huddled together (and remember—we’re not snuggle sleepers!) so tightly that we both had leg cramps, and we were still cold.  Halfway through the night Russ got up and got a tshirt and wrapped it around his head to stop heat loss.  And the next day we tossed the sleeping bags in the dumpster. 

Bye-bye quite sleeping bags, I loved you.  But a sleeping bag without a zipper is good for no one!

Saturday morning was nice and chilly.  Everyone was happy to gather around the fire

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and roast biscuits on hot dog cookers.  Everyone thought Russ was awesome for coming up with this idea.  I already knew he was awesome.

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Herman the dog was a big hit, especially while he was lying nicely on the ground for everyone to pet.

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I’m not sure what McKenzie thought of the camping experience,

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but I am pretty sure Miles wasn’t too impressed.

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The boys, on the other hand, were thrilled that so much dirt was available,

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and that no one seemed to notice their preoccupation with the gameboy.

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After breakfast was finally over we decided it was time for a group hike to the lake.

But first, stick races in the river.

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And people in the river. (Including Marley, who had no fear!)

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The lake was lovely.

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Now—it was October, it had been 40 degrees the night before, and it wasn’t super hot.  But did that stop the kids from heading right to the swimming part of the lake?

It did not.

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Jared was in the water first,

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but pretty soon all of the kids were in the water.

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Including Marley, who handled the frigid water like a champ,

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and wore my jacket until we were back at camp.

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Back at camp some kids played around the fire,

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the girls did girl stuff,

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and the moms hid behind some of the cars and talked.  Russ called it Relief Society.  Whatever you call it, it was awesome.  (It would have been more awesome if I could have eaten some of Kathleen’s yummy looking trail mix!)

We decided that the group campout was such a success that we will make it an annual tradition…the Columbus Weekend campout.

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After a full day of camping happiness, Russ took down our tent and packed everything up.  We left the campsite so sadly, though we know that the sleeping bags we left behind were appreciated.  Then we were off to:


Part 2:  The Baby Brother

When I was 16, my mom had a baby.  Baby #10, to be exact.  I thought that was just the coolest thing she ever could have done, and until I left for college I was Jeremy’s second mother.

We were so excited when Jeremy, his lovely wife Maria, and their cute little girl Addie moved back to North Carolina last year.  We decided that we would have to cut short the camping trip so that we could spend time with them.

And spend time we did.  It may have been short, but it was packed with fun.  We had dinner, played Pit until we were hoarse from all the shouting, and then we put the kids to bed.  After we put the kids to bed we adults played games until we couldn’t hold our eyes open.

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That night Russ and I got to test Jeremy’s big deluxe air mattress to see if it had a hole in it, which was a really special experience.  Imagine waking up doing an inverted downward dog.  Cause that’s seriously what happened.  And it was not comfortable.

In the morning we got ready for church super fast, so that we could go on a little outing before church.  You see, Jeremy and Maria live on the side of a mountain.  (Literally.  Like you’re afraid of your brakes fail on the way down the driveway, you will be launched out over the great state of North Carolina.  I have no idea how he got a moving van down there!  But I digress.)

Just a mile from their house is a spot known as “Jump Off Rock.”  Now I am not sure why this is called Jump Off Rock.  Did people ever jump off?  I think it would be foolish.  I personally would have called it “Please do not jump off, son, Rock.”  Obviously no one asked me. 

(And obviously it has been a really long week in my world and I’m getting a little slap happy.  I will try to re-focus on the blog post at hand.)

So, Jump Off Rock.

What a view!  On a clear day it’s possible to see Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee all from Jump Off Rock.

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The view was incredible.

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We were sad that we were in our church clothes and couldn’t stay and hike around.  We took some pictures and headed to church.

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Here I am in some of the new clothes that I bought at Hamricks…too bad I clash so much with the lovely fall foliage! 

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We loved going to church in Hendersonville.  My parents moved there when I was graduating from high school, so there are many people there I love to see.   After sacrament meeting was over we said our goodbyes and took some pictures with Jeremy, Maria, and Addie.

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One last hug!

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Part 3: Happy Birthday, Grandma

On Friday night as we were camping I realized for the first time that it was October 8th, my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 70 years old this year.

I can’t imagine my mom as a 70 year old, but I’d like to think that she would have been still making me crazy, still saying insane things, and still capable of making people feel more loved than anyone else I’ve ever known.

It was fitting that the last thing we did before we got back on the interstate was stop by her grave.  It’s been a while since we’ve been there, and while it’s not a place of great comfort to me, I wanted to go.  Next time we’ll make sure we have flowers!

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And that is the end of it.  Escape #3 was a great escape.  My week of escapes was amazing and exhausting.  It took me a full week to recover, but I’m sure happy about all of the experiences we had!


  1. I love that Marley and your mom share a birthday:). And that you let her wear your coat! We had so much fun and I hope we'll look back on it as one of many fun camping trips to come...

  2. Loved the downward dog description. Priceless! The camping looked cold. Oh, and I don't really like camping.
    But the visit to Mom's grave on her birthday - that made me happy. We took flowers last fall when we were out there.
    Isn't it good to know, that is not where she "really" is. AND she will never have to be 70! She can always be a crazy 18 year old!

  3. Looks like a great tradition to me. =) We love camping out with friends. How fun to be able to fit 3 big occasions into one great escape.