It wasn't the trip I had planned. It wasn't the outing that my children had built-up in their minds, but with the tenacity of a pit bull locked on a steak, we were determined to have fun.
With not one, but two minivans packed with all the necessities for 4 days in the woods, my family of 5, my niece, and teen's friend, we were ready to head out. Our plan: to head north to a wonderfully refreshing fresh water spring and river for 3 nights of camping, to meet a dear friend who was traveling 9 hours south to meet us, and to keep our trip open-ended; heading further north if energy and weather permitted to camp in another set of woods that I have always wanted to visit.
The weather did not permit.
As we set up tents and kitchen area, the weather was muggy to say the least. Upon exiting the tent Teen informed me that I looked as if I had just taken a shower. The salty liquid dripping from my body was definitely not water. It was time for a dip in the clear fresh water of 72 degree springs - and a beer, but alas Nonna had not arrived with those provisions yet. I made due with the swim. We splashed and gasped as the COLD water chilled and refreshed. It was a perfect beginning, followed by roasting hot dogs and beans (beer for me, I don't do beans) around the campfire. We were content.
After breakfast the next day, we went to the headsprings for a hike. And the rain began. Determined to have fun, at a break in the flow, we decided to go tubing. A brief word about tubing in a spring fed river: it is cold at the best of times it is refreshingly cold, in the rain - it can induce hypothermia. Just ask Youngest, as she was blue for at least 1 hour of the trip. Not to say that we were complaining - ok Boy was laying stock still trying to keep all body parts out of the river, but was getting wet from above, but he wasn't whining!
The cool dip induced a need for warmth and dryness. Seeing that no end was in sight on the rain front and unable to cook (I'm not that good) in the relentless downpour, I proposed a sensible option. We loaded a van with wet things, put on dry things and headed to the town's Laundromat and Pizza Hut. Of course, our buts were all wet from riding in the van with wet seats, so we tried to dry them as our blankets and towels dried.
When we returned to camp, we commandeered a pavilion and spent the night playing board games. Ok, it wasn't a fire and their were no marshmallows, but everyone was laughing, joking, and demonstrating a surprising amount of competitive nature. We prayed that we had outlasted the rain and that the next 2 days would be at least partly-sunny and hot.
We awoke at 6 to thunder that rattles your toes accompanied by strobing flashes of lightning. It is a wonderful feeling to be be warm in your bed with nature's fury around you. But when the zippers on your tent are leaking, it is worrisome as well. I did manage to cook bacon and eggs during 2 separate reprieves. Separate because after the bacon the skies opened again and a rain delay was called. By all reports the weather would continue for at least the next 2 days. So, we packed up and spent the day swimming and playing. Leaving the woods just as the first sprinkles began to fall yet again, I knew we had made the right decision. We had kept spirits up and fun foremost, but I wasn't sure I could face another night and day of rain.
Nonna came back with us and we spent Friday by the pool drinking daiquiris and visiting. All in all a good trip, but next time I'd appreciate sun.