Friday, June 12, 2015

Sassafras Mountain to Table Rock

We went backpacking and had a blast!!! Ryanne had girlscout camp which she LOVED!!! She was there for 3 days and 2 nights. I decided that I didn't want to drive 3 hours to drop her off, then 3 hours home and then return two days later to do the whole thing over again. So, I thought this would be a good time to try an overnight backpacking trip. Collin and I took the dogs and my mom backpacking. YAY!! We went on the Foothills Trails. Okay, so I did my research and decided to try some "easy" trails. I thought in 3 days we could easily get about 10 miles in. However, when I spoke to one of the guys who wrote the trail guide, he recommended we try a strenuous section of the trail because of some issues going on with the portion I wanted. So, I looked at the book and saw that the end of that portion was for "handicapped" people. I thought, well, that must be pretty easy then. HA!!! So, our trip began. :)

Selfie at the look out. 

This is what we saw.


Minion and Collin with packs on and ready to begin.

I had Minion and Arwen both attached to my packs but Minion couldn't handle not being next to Collin so I switched his leash to Collin's pack and had them walk together. 

 Then, Collin fell. Don't worry, he didn't hurt himself. That's why the picture is blurry. He and I were laughing so hard at it. What is Minion doing, you ask? Well, he wouldn't stop nudging and nuzzling Collin with his muzzle until he had Collin on his feet. This happened a few times and Minion helped him get up each time. I thought it was fabulous. I think this dog would do anything for Collin.



My mom. It's a blurry picture, but I had to show that she was back there. 

The first night, we decided this would make a good campsite. Isn't this awesome? It's an old homestead. The only thing left is the chimney (pictured below) and rocks. Someone took the rocks and formed chairs and a fire pit. Isn't this fabulous?

Collin standing on what's left of the chimney.

Collin sitting on one of the chairs. This one was a recliner. haha! It was reclined back. They all weren't like this. 

We decided we didn't want the dogs on a leash the whole time so we bought a tie out and hooked them up to a tree. :) Our dogs have never been tied up to anything and they get tangled up a lot. LOL!

My mom chillin' out in her hammock tent. :) 

Minion was afraid to go in our tent. I had to actually pick him up and plop him in the tent (he's afraid of everything). Once he got in, he found my sleeping bag and decided it was his bed. LOL! So, he and I shared my sleeping bag. It's funny because I backpacked in with a 4 person tent in my pack. Our packs took up one section of it, then Collin and I slept right next to those and the dogs slept on top of us. We had almost half the tent empty. I guess I could have taken a smaller tent. I just thought the dogs would take up more space.... not ON us. LOL!

The next morning we were awakened by a cacophony of birds singing. It sounded sort of like weird techno music. I have never heard so many. It was amazing!



Morning fog -- Smokey Mountains

Just hanging out while getting breakfast ready.

I just wanted to show the little path we took to find the water. It was only about 75 yards from where we camped.

It was this little natural spring. It sort of formed a small puddle which then flowed into a tiny creek that barely moved. We pumped water from the puddled part because it was fresh from the spring. Collin and I were standing there pumping the water through the filter and filling all our water bottles and water bladders when there was a plop and two brown eyes staring up at us from the water. We leaped off the rocks we balanced on and jumped over to the side. We looked down again and realized the eyes belonged to a salamander. haha! He had scared us so badly. A moment later, he jumped back into the little cave formed by the spring. Collin and I laughed and then climbed back down to the rocks so we could continue to fill the bottles. Then, the little head slowly came out again to watch us. It was so fun to watch the curious little salamander. 

This is Hairy Pickle. We named him that. He shared the camp with us. There was also a snail who hung out near the fire pit and chairs. 

Hiking again --- we just followed the flower blossomed road. Isn't this path beautiful? 


A creek running through the flower blossomed road. 


 Okay, a few things happened here. My mom didn't hike this part. The trail got very narrow and quite steep in parts.
First, Minion is afraid of water and we had to walk through a creek. Collin pulled, I pushed, and after Collin and Minion both fell in mud and I fell in the creek, we got him across. I turned around and called Arwen over and she balanced across roots and rocks without even getting her feet wet. Show off! LOL!
Second thing that happened. Collin and Minion were walking ahead of Arwen and me. That means they were perfect for scaring creatures so they'd be ready to pounce us. There was a section of the path where we had to walk single file with the dogs. On one side was a TON of foliage and on the other side was a drop off. Not a cliff, but a very steep downward slope. So, Collin and Minion were ahead of us so when Arwen and I walked to this spot, I heard the all too familiar rattling sound I remember from my childhood of living in the woods. I looked down and saw the grass by Arwen shaking. I scooped her up and ran yelling, "Rattler! Go!" I needed Collin and Minion to move so Arwen and I could be out of striking distance. haha! I didn't want to run over Collin and Minion. Well, this made Collin turn and run without looking where he was going. Next thing I know, he's falling and his pack is making him roll towards the drop off. Somehow, I managed to put Arwen down and grabbed the back of his pack while he caught a log on the edge. This whole incident scared me, but we kept going because we didn't want to cross paths with the rattle snake again.

I thought this was cool. It's a little cave type of thing. The water dripped out of  the rocks. There was another little creek we had to trudge through here. This is where we decided it was time to turn around and head home.  We decided this because Minion sprawled on the ground and refused to move. As soon as we turned to face the other direction and started walking, he jumped up and started walking as well. We prayed the rattle snake had moved on to other places. haha!
When we got near the spot the snake had been, we began stomping hoping the snake would think a HERD of ELEPHANTS was coming towards him and he'd slither away. What snake would go up against a herd of elephants? We were hoping none!

 So, we had to climb back up the mountain. aye yi yi! I hadn't thought this through well.


 Going up the mountain was really hard. It hurt and it kept going. One mile was not like walking a mile at home. It felt more like 2-3 miles. haha! I kept thinking, we have to be close. Probably the top of this hill. We'd get to the top and there'd be more hill. LOL! The last mile was the hardest. We probably had a half mile left and Collin started crying because he was tired and his legs hurt. It wasn't a whiny annoying cry but one that was pure exhaustion. I had to take the dogs and then Collin and I held hands and I pulled him up. I was so tired. We finally got up and we both yelled together, "The Road!!!" We were so happy! The last piece to the top of the mountain was just walking uphill on a road. It was much easier than climbing roots with a pack on our backs.

The view from the top of the world.... er.... South Carolina.

Collin was so excited that we made it. He said, "Take a selfie with me, Mom." So, he posed like this. Of course, I had to make the same face and put my arms in the air too. :) 

We had to take a few minutes at the top to enjoy the scenery.

We also had to enjoy the day-lilies along the side of the road that lead to the top.

 And, we had to take the time to make a wish.... or two. :) Collin was wishing to be an earth bender so he could take us to all the pretty places and see all the pretty sites without having to walk. LOL!

 Then we saw the storm clouds rolling in and knew it was time to take shelter. Luckily, my mom was at the van in the parking lot that was very near. We all took shelter there and slept very well in the van that night. LOL!


 The next morning, we awoke in a cloud.
These woods looked haunted to me. 

The view of the Smokey Mountains in the morning.

I found this beautiful spiderweb blocking the path. 

 The woods were so wet, humid, and foggy that I felt like we were in a rain forest or something. We just took a short hike.





 We decided to take it easy the rest of the third day. We drove down the mountain and found a path with a walk that went along a small creek.


Minion thought rolling around in clay was a good idea. It was all over his shoulder too. :/


Wasn't the creek beautiful? It was a bit muddy from the rain storm the night before.
Then, we picked up Ryanne around 3. She had a blast too! She made tons of friends and thinks she'll remember more of what she did there tomorrow after she has slept. Whatever it was she did, it was tons of fun. We are all pooped now, including the dogs.
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