So our first night at Paris Mountain was pretty uneventful….except for the large raccoon who walked right into our campsite and tried to chill by the fire with us! It was pretty creepy, kinda scary and awesome all rolled into one.
After the kids went to bed I was finally able to use the hammock. Lying there swinging in the trees beneath a full moon, rustling leaves and nothing but hooting owls for company was pretty darn amazing.
Saturday morning I awoke around 7 am and beat the rush (ha!) to the camp showers. There were two, they were clean, private, warm and the water pressure was good too considering it was a state park system in the mountains!
After I finished, I followed the smell of coffee and frying hot dogs back to our campsite across the way. Everyone except for Caleb was now awake! While breakfast finished cooking, the kids played in the trees, hunted for bugs and pushed each other on the hammock. After eating, we woke Caleb up, dressed and headed out for the trail where we wandered through creeks, around brush, over bridges and structured mountainous trail for over 3 miles, making it back to our camp by 12:45, just in time for a lunch of sandwiches and then we were off to the Duck Derby!
We have no clue who won but it sure was fun watching 10,000 rubber ducks racing across rocks, falls and rapids! The entire place where the event was held was very festive, with vendors, music, games and all sorts of family fun. Most likely we will turn this into a yearly tradition.
We made it back to camp around 5:00 and decided to go swimming in an secluded creek alcove we discovered during our hike. The water was cool, clear and refreshing. The surroundings looked as if we had been transported into a magical kingdom, with sparkling sunlight glittering through a dense canopy high above. Over on the fatso de of the alcove was a small cave which we dubbed the fairy kingdom, and the boys spent 2 solid hours skipping rocks into the fairy kingdom while the girls dug through the pebbles for Fools Gold.
Finally we gave up the Fairy Kingdom and traveled back to reality where we cleaned up, warmed up and were treated to a homage chili dinner with fresh corn by our resident male chef (aka Dad). As darkness surrounded us, the raccoon came back. He was quite the persistent fellow, thinking we could be tricked into offering food. No such luck, bud.
That night everyone was pretty exhausted so sleep came easy in the cool mountain air that blew through the tent. The following morning our oldest son proclaimed it the best nights sleep ever. 🙂
Sunday morning was spent lounging around a final fire, packing up, bug hunting (the kids came home with a caterpillar-turned-cacoon and a scorpion), hammock swinging, and the best bacon and sop eggs this side of Texas.
We said our final goodbyes to site #14 (as well as some friends we had made along the way) by 1:00 and drove around the park to explore. We tried our hand at some fishing (we suck so far), splashed around in a waterfall, played on the playground and had a late lunch picnic of tomato soup with cheese and toast.
It was hard to head back to real life, but a comfy bed and normal modern amenities at home sure did help ease that pain. 🙂