Briar Bottom Camp, NC
You know what the best thing is about camping? There are obvious good things like warm drinks, sweaters, sleeping (almost) outside, brilliant and twinkly stars, campfire conversations and perhaps being lucky enough to be out of cell phone service, but for my number one favorite I'd have to go for the rare privilege of seeing people as themselves. You know. You normally see everyone at church, or work, or parties, and therefore see the polished them. I like seeing the everyday person.
Behold, I have uploaded unfiltered photos. HOWEVER, these photos are not intended to illustrate the above paragraph, since these photos were after most people tamed the manes and bathed the eyes.
Mornings while camping are some of my favorites. The world assumes a chilly, grey dawn. Kids wake up, can't bear to sleep anymore and get hustled out into fresh air. Parent or two may or may not arise. Perhaps parent or other dawn riser stokes fire, I don't know because no matter how early I get up, someone has already done it. It is a great mystery to me.
Next come the early birds (the ones that think morning is the bees knees) and they may or may not show up at the campfire in pajamas, hats, and carrying their Bible. After these come the middle and late risers. All the above have something in common, puffy eyes or fuzzy hair and sometimes both. Some may stumble around somewhat drunkenly as they grope for a coffee mug and warm caffeine. For once nobody cares how they look, which is mostly because no one else has their eyes open enough to see.
Next comes breakfast, and believe me, if men knew how much women love it when they cook they'd do it whole lot more often. I think it's narrow-minded to automatically assume men shouldn't have as much to do with cooking as women, when both display equal skill and need for food.
A post-breakfast walk.
Who wants to hike?
This is apparently a controversial topic, as my friends seem to be pretty evenly split between those who love a good hike, and those who prefer to lounge about the camp. However much discussion the topic may raise one thing ends up happening; those who like, go, those who don't, stay. I'm part of the go camp, because the hike we were going on led up Mt. Mitchell, and it is spectacular.
This year we found berries in prolific and varied bushes. Accordingly we dined sumptuously on blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. It was so fun to spread out in the patches and call out good finds to each other.
There are a couple of particularly lovely spots on the hike that remind one of woods and forests in Lord of the Rings. I hike partly for this very section of woods.
Then, oh joy, the blues begin.
Mt. Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi, and is also accessible by vehicle which is especially nice for a ride back down.
All in all it was a grand time, with lots of campfires, smoke, beautiful scenery, talks, and one or two very cold nights. On the very last day several of us decided to get all OCD and rearrange the camp chairs according to color. It was satisfying. I've wanted to something like that for a long time.
My advice? Go camping with people you think you know. You get to know them in a whole new way that only happens out in nature with no cell service. Amen.