We pulled into Table Rock State Park and found our campsite...
...covered in rocks and fire ants, dogs barking non-stop and the worst site setup I've ever seen. It was 6pm and getting dark, but the meat that should have been thawed, just in time for dinner, was still frozen cold (I seriously considered throwing myself on the ground and throwing a tantrum...I didn't, I promise).
Maggie, Ironman and I used our feet to rake the rocks around until we had enough of an area to pitch the tent. We were happy to find that we cleared most of the rocks and were only on a slight incline. During the night, though, I kept waking up and finding that I needed to climb my way back up inside the tent. Luckily Ironman was heavy enough to anchor himself to his sleeping position in our tent and asleep enough to let me use his left arm as my "rope" (he still doesn't know) while climbing our tent mountain...
It seemed that everyone brought their dogs to camp with them. There must have been five little yappers within 100 feet of each other and of us. I couldn't believe how loud and long they could bark and not drive their owners crazy, or even drop dead from barking so much! The worst yapper was in the campsite next to us labeled "Park Host" (I thought, "you have got to be kidding me")...I knew that if our host was setting this example, the situation was hopeless. At least, since we live next to three yappers at home in Florence, it really felt like home.
And lastly, our camp site. Our site was on a curve, so that everyone who drove around the turn had a up close and personal tour. Worse than that, the fire pit was only a few feet from the curve. So close, in fact, that Ironman, Maggie and I had to sit around the fire pit, with our chairs facing the curve. Each person that drove by, walked by or rode their bikes by, would look at us and wave. It was so close that if they didn't look at us, it was totally awkward because they had to make an effort NOT to look at us. And if they looked at us and didn't wave, it was awkward, because then it felt like they were either super rude or creepers. So, since everyone is mostly friendly at the campground, we shared lots of waves. I felt like WE were the creepers just sitting there, facing the curve, watching everyone that passed and waving. One family even walked by and said "It's like you are sitting on your own front porch"...sad.
Usually when Ironman and I go on trips together, we don't have a lot of big plans. We like to go without a plan and just see what happens. However, since we brought Maggie and she likes to have a plan while camping, I knew that we needed to liven it up and break out of the "old married couple" rut that we tend to drift towards (Don't get me wrong...we love that rut). Since we were camping in Table Rock State Park and since Maggie and Ironman wanted to hike, that naturally meant that we were going to hike Table Rock. Wow...what a hike!!! 3.5 miles one way and I felt like we were nearing the top around the time that we saw the 1 mile marker. Nick even tried to hide it so that I would pass and not see how little we had come and how far we still had to go! WHAT!?!?!?! So, just like usual, I whined the whole way. Maggie and Ironman were troopers, saying that the view would be worth it. I, on the other hand, have not ever totally agreed with that idea. I would be just as happy to ride in the car, walk (not hike) a little ways and then enjoy a view without being worn out, hungry, thirsty, cranky and without a discrete place to squat in the woods because of the huge amount of hikers! Call me crazy, but that just sounds more enjoyable and I would still get to see the same view in the end, but without the torturous hike.
But, lucky for me, my family already knows that I'm a whiner and Maggie was super encouraging. And, Nick (of course) knows that I'm a whiner and he is the most patient husband. So, I just want to set the record straight. Lots of you are under the impression that I am aDvEnTuRoUs. Yes, I happen to be the mastermind behind most of Ironman and my adventures. Traveling is and always will be in my blood. I'll catch a plane to any continent, take a bus or train between countries, ride in a canoe down the amazon, hop on a subway or in a taxi, stay in a hotel, camp anywhere, sleep in the car, stay with strangers, sleep on someone's couch or floor, pretty much anything. In all of those things, I enjoy the journey and look forward to the destination. But, LISTEN TO ME...I never enjoy hiking. I don't like that journey. Just get me to the destination any other way and I'll be a happy camper (or "girl" when we aren't camping). But, don't get the wrong impression of Nick. He loves adventure and never whines...but, I'm sure that if you know Nick you already knew that!
So, after our site got rained out and flooded in the Grand Canyon last year, I said that I needed to scratch
"Hike the Appalachian Trail" off of our bucket list. However, I still left it on our list, in hope that I would suck it up and eventually, one day, become a REAL adventurer. But, after suffering so much misery on only a 7 mile, 5 hour hike, it is beginning to sink in (actually it is pretty much crystal clear) that I'm just not going to make the cut. So, I'm going to be honest with myself and change our bucket list to "Drive the Appalachian Trail", since I hope to never hike again. Please, dear friends, keep me accountable...If I try to hike again at any point in the future, remind me of Table Rock!
Needless to say...Although I have whined my way through an entire Blog Post, I DID have a great weekend camping with my Ironman and my Magpie! We had a great time sitting around that awkward fire pit, talking, cooking, eating and roasting a lot of marshmellows. Magpie was so cute as she slept in her ENO beside our tent (the second night she was even rained on...and did SHE whine?...no) Although I didn't enjoy the hiking, it was still fun spending my day with two of my favorite people. I love having a husband who is my best friend and plenty of sisters, who are built-in best friends.
Happy 29th Birthday to Ironman.
You like that view? Enjoy it...I worked for it!!!
PS...we looked at the campsite numbers and know which one we will pick (and which one we will NOT pick) for another future Table Rock weekend.