Our summer, so far as absence of schoolwork, is officially over tomorrow and we are starting school. In my view, summer break in Florida is good only for as long as you can manage to be somewhere else. And by “somewhere else,” I obviously mean somewhere 15 to 20 degrees cooler. This year, we wrapped up our school year the week before Memorial Day, did our testing the week after Memorial Day, did 2 weeks of drama camp and one week of VBS, took one week to prepare for a trip to the mountains, took said 2 week trip to the mountains, spent one week preparing to start school . . . and here we are at July 15th eve.
But before I start carrying on and on about the school year I’d like to . . . well, go back to North Carolina, quite honestly. And I really didn’t finish sharing our pictures with you from our last extremely rainy week at the campground. Surely you are dying to see the rest of them, yes?
I thought so.
The rain moved in with a vengeance on Tuesday of that second week. There were occasional breaks in the rain when we could take the kids to the pool. So long as it wasn’t lightning, we just took an umbrella with us so that when it started raining, we could sit under the umbrellas and leave the kids in the pool until it was pouring so hard we just had to leave.
Unfortunately, however, letting the kids play in the river was out of the question.
Now before you get all worried that we were in any danger of being swept away by floodwaters, you should know that the river was only raging because water was let out of the reservoir a little further up the mountain for two or three nights in a row and accounted for the Class 4 rapids in the heretofore gently flowing water that the boys enjoyed the previous week. The river was not raging because a dam had broken or anything else uncontrolled. Apparently, the reservoir opened up sometime around 7 those evenings and the bridge was completely covered in water. And I don’t know if it’s cause we’re homeschoolers and we live a sheltered existence, but it was very entertaining to just stand around and watch the river.
On July 4th, the campground went ahead with plans for their annual bike and golf cart parade in spite of the poor weather. Flamingo Joe helped the kids decorate their bikes.
The parade started during a short break in the rain. And by “short break,” I mean 45 seconds after the parade began, the rain came pouring down again. But the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for showing their American pride.
It just now occurred to me that the cart above was supposed to look like Uncle Sam (see the white eyebrows on the windshield?). It appears the rain did a number on Uncle Sam’s beard. I stationed Flamingo Joe on the bank of the river by the bridge so that if one of our kids fell off their bike and fell into the river, he could jump in and catch them before they were swept all the way down to the French Broad River.
On Saturday, we took advantage of the only semi-nice day we’d had all week and went for one last hike. We decided to hike to Crabtree Falls, which is up off the Blue Ridge Parkway between Mt. Mitchell and Linville. Of all the hiking we did, this last hike was my favorite.
The sign certainly made some erroneous claims — among them: “45 minute,” “walk,” and “woodland trail.” The hike down to the falls was not along a “woodland trail” so much as it was along a stream bed.
Because of all the recent rain, much of the trail was underwater and we hopped from rock to rock to try to keep our feet dry. It was awesome.
And while we did generally “walk” along the trail, at least one of us (Mace), also slid.
Do you see how those stone stairs only have railing on one side? Well, shortly after I took the photo above, we came to a second set of stairs where Mace slipped off the left side and slid head first in the mud and rocks along the side of the stairs. After the initial shock of the fall wore off, we determined he had not really hurt himself too badly and had only scraped up his leg. Though, that jacket he’s wearing was covered in mud. So after we removed the jacket and washed off his leg, he sucked it up and did not even suggest going back to the parking lot. I was so proud of my little hiker.
We made it down to the falls and a nice lady took our picture together.
We decided to hike the other half of the loop back up to the parking lot instead of returning the way we came, in the hopes that the trail would be a bit drier – even though it was longer and in spite of the fact that other hikers had reported seeing a copperhead on that section of the trail. And it definitely was drier . . . until it started raining.
But we were prepared with our rain gear — though not with a first aid kit, as Flamingo Joe pointed out when Mace slid down the stairs. Next year, maybe I’ll bring both.