We were woken by a HUGE shock of thunder around 5 am. Andy and I sat straight up, decided we weren’t dead and went back to sleep. Ian moved into the car to finish his sleep. Tim continued to sleep in the puddle in the middle of their tent, oblivious. The boy has a true gift for sleeping.
At 9 am, the Park Rangers appeared to wake us up and let us know there was no water or power. Ummm … that’s a problem. Fortunately, the outage was short-lived. We made tea and hot chocolate while we waited. We tried to start a decent fire, hoping to get a feeling of being dry. The rain had stopped, but was threatening. That’s when the hose to the camp stove gave out. Wah. Yes, I know Ma Ingalls, I’m not. I NEED my camp stove. We ended up making breakfast over a smoky, wet grill. Funny, though, if you make people wait long enough for food, they like just about everything you cook.
Our original plan had been to stay through early Monday. However, given the sopping wet tents, bedding and people this was seeming less and less likely. BUT, I was tired. The thought of driving back to Orlando was not that appealing to me. In fact, I thought I could handle another day of stinky clothes and sleeping in the wet. That is, until I nearly hurled a pancake at my sweet little niece when she noticed that I’d given her one that wasn’t entirely done. If you’re throwing food at a 6-year-old, it’s time to pack up your toys and go home. (Yes, I’m mailing Lynne and Paul a check for Jesse’s therapy jar.)
Have I mentioned the fact that my legs were nearly paralyzed from the previous day’s climb? Walking was torture. Stopping was worse. We all talked and decided to go to the base of the falls, hike the stairs to the tops and come back down via the easier, stair-less trail. Actually, we agreed that everyone but me would do this. I offered to sit at the base and drive up and get anyone that didn’t want to walk back down the trail. This decision worked out well as Jamie (my oldest nephew) had an exercise-induced asthma attack when he reached the top of the climb (gee, you think the smoky campfire that morning and the dampness and the pollen everywhere were factors too?). I drove up and picked up Lynne, Jesse and Jamie. Lynne admitted that the uphill climb was a killer and took back her mockery from the day before. As they all loaded into the car the rain let loose full-force. Paul, Ian, Tim, Mitchell and Andy were completely soaked when they reached the bottom of the trail.
I think our decision to leave early was the right one. I love that we got to spend this time with my sister and her family and I know the boys are too. As a token of our triumph, Lynne presented us all with t-shirts that say on the back “I Survived the 604 Steps at Amicalola Falls.” I’m wearing mine now! (But, I have to state publicly that I survived 850 Steps!)
It was a long drive home. Surprisingly, it took us less than an hour to get through Atlanta. We stopped for dinner. Andy’s first visit to Cracker Barrel. I don’t think any of us realized how stinky we were until we were seated among all the clean nice people in the restaurant. Oops. We made it home around 2:30 am. I’ve never had a better shower in my life!
We’re already planning for next year.
Notes: The boys have started making up a slide-show from the trip from the flip camera pictures they have. I’m sure they got a picture of everyone – gah! We’re so bad as a family about taking group pictures. It should be fun and I’ll post their finished slide show.
I love Amicalola Falls and would go back in a heartbeat – in the fall or the spring. I don’t think I would choose it as a summer destination as there is no where to swim anywhere in the park. Spring/Fall, if you’re prepared for weird weather, it’s gorgeous!