November 5th, 2016
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Mostly it was the best.
We decided to top our fall bucket-list this year with Benjamin’s first camping trip. Since we moved home from Denver almost 3 YEARS AGO now (what?!) camping and hiking have fallen really low on the list of everything – but it’s something that’s important to Burley and I – and we really want it to be a part of how Benjamin grows up. So “we are going camping this fall come hell or high water” we said. “Even if no one sleeps, it will be worth the experience for one night” we said.
So Friday around noon we started packing the car (that was reallyÂ our first error) thinking we were getting ahead of the traffic and Friday madness. “We’ll just make a quick stop for food, a quick stop for gas, and a quick stop for a few groceries and a tent” we said.
After all of these stops, multiple toddler incidents and inevitably hitting traffic, it was about 7pm and dark as night can be when we finally started climbing the dirt road that lead to our favorite camping spot in Helen, GA. As we started getting up in elevation Burley and I peacefully reminisced (while Benjamin cried in the back seat) about the last time we had come to this camping spot – which we deduced in that moment had been prior to moving to Denver – which meant it was literally almost 7 YEARS AGO.
We both paused. We were silent as we pondered. “This site could potentially (and probably will be) just straight up gone now, right? Why didn’t we think this through before?”
We were quiet. We meaning Burley and I. Benjamin was still crying.
Finally, we hit the spot we were looking for. It was indeed there. It was indeed also occupied from some stellar campers who showed up earlier than 7:30pm in the dark. Fools.
We started driving back down the mountain. Quiet (after bickering) and looking for anything that could possibly resemble a camp site to “make this memory happen, damnit.”
We found one.
As soon as Benjamin’s feet hit the crunching leaves on the ground
and the dog was able to stretch her legs and explore
and Burley poured himself a glass of whiskey and got to hacking away at things with his axe
and I started chopping veggies to wrap in foil and throw in the fire
It was pure bliss.
Though multiple times I referred to the ride up the mountain as “seriously, a nightmare” it was SO worth it to again feel the power of nature and how the woods can so quickly bring you back down to earth and back in touch with all the things that truly matter at the heart of it all. It sounds so crunchy, but it’s always true for me. Every single time.
My brother and sister-in-love made their own fun journey to the top of the mountain and were able to sit around the fire with us after Benjamin had been tucked into his new tent and first sleeping bag – and it truly was worth the nightmare.
Here are a few iPhone shots from the trip – and a word to the wise. If you want to make the memory but are nervous about the cost – just embrace the nightmare that could be, and do it.