It seems that Family Trio 3 has started a new tradition in fall camping on Hawk Mountain Ga.
We have a favorite place that has become “our” spot up towards the G23 Aviation Marker. It’s perfect to throw out some tents, have an amazing fire and relax in the cool night breezes. We noticed before the nights get very windy and cold up here, we came prepared this time as Hubby bought me a proper REI bag with a 20 rating. I was completely snuggly all night. The one thing I really lacked this time was proper cushion on the floor of the tent. Next time I will have foam or cots for everyone, I love tent camping but my old bones can’t seem to do it.
I discovered that I am amazing at making fire. I love fire Nathans Beef Hotdogs (which is shocking since I hate hot dogs) and I created a new recipe for s’mores which is as follows:
Fall Campfire S’Mores
Big Fluffy Marshmallows
Package of those soft fresh-baked Oatmeal Raisin cookies
1- push some mallows on those sticks and hold far away from fire. (we cheated and used some awesome skewers Hubby found on clearance right before our trip while buying hotdogs)
2- you want to begin to roast them not scald or blacken them.
3- as they turn golden smack them in the flame and scorch briefly and blow out your flame.
(( this is always the funnest part of camping for kids – blowing out the flaming stick of marshmallow))
4- Slide between two cookies and eat.
The fall spice of the oatmeal raisin adds something seriously wonderful to the marshmallow. Sip with some campfire chai tea or apple cider.
OT landed as a lucky dog and went on the trip as well. The Jeep was full of Pixie – her cousin Hunter – Hubs and I. Hunter and Jeff brought amo and guns but did not get any shots off this time, they did however bust into a college party happening down at the Wildlife clearing. This is the same clearing we go and watch the stars during the meteor showers. It is popular for college students to come up party.
We had the added benefit of some house party going on until about 3 or 4am. The distinct ” Nzt Nzt ” of Pop40 gave away the age. Generators hummed as did electric lights, cars lined the dirt road around the clearing. Over the aviation marker there is a trail head (formerly part of the Appalachian trail until later moved) that Hubs and Hunter went hiking down. It took them right to the base of the party. With everyone so thoroughly bashed they had no problem walking around on the perimeter to check things out. 30-40 cars lined the road which meant twice or three times as many people. Pixie and I laid in the tent and wiped out, it was a busy busy night already.
Surprisingly we all crammed into the tent. I am not sure everyone was completely comfortable, but we like each other enough to pretend. There was quiet time after about 4am when the music died, as did the yelling screaming puking and other odd noises. The tent got very quiet and I found myself falling deeply into a cozy warm sleep. I woke up about 8am as OT was doing the wiggle butt pee-pee dance. Breakfast fire started, coffee was homemade out of a french press and we had sausage eggs and fresh fruit. Amazing breakfast. Hubs had a surprise trek planned. After properly breaking down camp taking out more than we littered (you always leave a campground cleaner than you found it) we headed off for his surprise.
From US60 you can pick up the Benton MacKaye Trail Loop which is part of the Appalachian trail. We of course in true “Adventure Time” fashion had to go at it the hard way – through the woods. After asking directions five times, getting lost more and back tracking on several muddy rocky rolling (going to crap yourself) fall off a cliff face narrow winding roads… on our last road back we saw the white blazes.
Let me be clear.. Pixie saw steps leading up a trail head (that she had pointed out before) and then Hubs spotted the actual white markers on the trees on the other side. Success ! Hiking down we got to the most beautiful river and bridge. You come out the trail through Mountain Laurel and on to this old-timey swinging bridge. We saw so many amazing things this trip. The weather was cool enough to enjoy all of this activity but not cold enough our sleep and camping experience was altered. The finding and hiking down to the bridge was such a huge accomplishment on everyone’s part it felt good to see it and enjoy it.
On the way back we actually saw our very first bear. I was not able to get a picture, but he was big beautiful and amazingly fast. He ran across the road as we were heading back down out of the forest. Moving very quickly he had obviously heard us long before we saw him. We had seen signs back at the fish hatchery that bears were active in the area. Well, fish + clean water + dense lush forest = Bear Happiness. I should probably put this out there as I bring them up every camping trip. I have the hubs bring his gun every trip for one main reason: Bears. I am horrified of them. Beyond horrified. Truly they frighten me, and I have more than a healthy respect to stay the hell away from them. While I understand I am visiting their home, I still would like to NOT see them, have them visit my camp or pass me on a trail. I was thrilled Pix and Hunter were able to watch such a wild and beautiful thing run like that up through the woods and disappear safely back to his secret spot. As a parent these are the things you want your children to know about nature and the world.
Things Learned :
- Pre-Packing List – We decided an hour before we left we were going to do this. Ok its how we do most things but I really suggest a list. We forgot things like butter, spatula, cookware.
- Get a really good campfire coffee pot. You can boil water make tea even get bath water from these. I wont camp with out one again. This time having good coffee started the day great.
- Comfy socks – seems like a no-brainer but it really helped me stay cozy and kept hiking blisters to a minimum.
- Not everyone will give exact directions. Having a good Topo map – someone who can read it and basic common sense helped us a great deal. We weren’t in a hurry so we could explore back roads. It is frustrating getting lost though, so having solid knowledge of where you’re going is a great starting point.
- Snacks – having little protein snacks water added plenty of fuel. We were famished by the time we got off the mountain but these things kept us going strong.