So my husband planned a sponteous family getaway, in the mountains of the northern part of the state.
He googled ‘best state parks’ and this was the top in our state. It boasted beautiful scenery, great hiking trails, and waterfalls.
AND it had cottages, which was a huge plus for me. It’s not that I don’t do tent camping – it’s just that tent camping and three kids and six hours away and making all your own food seems extremely time consuming and a bit stressful, and I’d rather enjoy my vacation, please! And it said ‘cottage’ – not even ‘cabin’! I was sure we’d be enjoying nature in style.
So off we went, with excitement through the roof on all of our parts. We had never done a family holiday before! With my family living far away, and my extended family living far away in yet another state, all of our travels have been to see them. And I have loved that! But maybe it’s as our family grows older that it’s felt as though we need our very own little family times as well.
So the packing began, and I was beaming as I packed my cute vintage suitcases, and our
very old vintage ice chest. Later, as Ben unloaded, I realized his true feelings on my charming finds. “I feel like a GRANDMA,” he announced, quite embarassed. And I do have to admit – maybe the idea of vintage luggage sounds better than the actual usage! :)
We checked in to our… cottage, which was really a rustic CABIN. Hello, just call it a cabin then! But hey, it had a [very teeny basic] kitchen, and a shower, and beds to sleep in, and air conditioning, so I guess it still was like camping in style. Just not in luxury – you can’t compare a State Park to a Hampton Inn!! :)
After getting settled in, and the girls running around shrieking in excitment, and Hudson running after them screaming just because it seemed to be the thing to do, we headed out for the trails.
It was then that we realized we had missed an important memo; actually, we had somehow missed the bold print title of Canyon. The whole state park was built around a deep canyon, and nearly all trails led straight down into the gorge! This was no leisurely stroll through the woods; this was considered ‘strenuous hiking’ even by the park map and ‘Warning: not intended for those with heart trouble’ on the big sign leading down the trail.
We’re used to flat land, pine trees, palm trees, and beaches. I had hardly realized that Georgia actually has mountains as well!
And for those of us who aren’t exactly in tip-top athletic shape and who had to piggy-back kiddos part of the way, we had a few things like shaking legs and heaving lungs by the time it was all completed. But, we did it, and completed it! All 1200 steps, all the while passing other heaving and puffing and sweating fellow hikers. I guess we weren’t the only ones not quite prepared for the strenuous part of it.
The view at the bottom was so worth the thousand steps and mile and a half tough hike – the 100 foot waterfall was so beautiful, and the kids were so wowed at the huge rocks everywhere.
The next day we did find a two-mile trail that was definitely more family-friendly. A rambling walk through the woods that was not life-threatening! Perfect.
All that hiking and outdoor activity made for some hungry folks. And what’s better than an old-fashioned supper on the grill? But I have to say, taking all your own food for even a weekend vacation is a lot of work!! At the end of it all I was calling it a “Family Weekend” rather than a “Vacation.” Somehow, as a kid, vacations like this didn’t seem like so much work!! :)
// typical Hudson face after a nap: big puffy Barkman lips and tousled hair. i could eat him alive. //
And we are left with a hundred fun and funny memories, and a few better-toned muscles besides. :) I love my little family SO much.