It’s my vacation week and although I love hiking, sometimes it’s just nice to relax and be still. I finished the Cucumber Gap Loop and headed back to my Cades Cove campground to read in my comfy camping chair. I had a list of books I’ve wanted to read for some time now, including The Best American Travel Writing 2000, edited by Bill Bryson, and The Lost City of Z by David Grann, among others.
While I sat there reading, eating dinner and unwinding, a few thoughts and observations came to mind:
- Thank goodness my tent was still holding up and water-free. If it had collapsed again like in the Grand Canyon, I would never have heard the end of it from some of my family.
- I was pretty sure my new “neighbor” who set up his tent while I was out hiking was going to lose a finger or more. He and his girlfriend bought wood to make a fire. Two problems with this: (1) he was trying to chop the wood with a rusty hatchet, holding the stick of wood with his left hand about a foot away and then trying to use the hatchet in his right hand to chop it into kindling (SO dangerous!!!), and (2) they bought wet wood, so they got a whole lot of smoke instead of the fire they needed to cook their food.
- One of the other campers a few spaces away brought a guitar with him. He played gently for over 4 hours. It was the perfect kind of mood music, smoothing and soulful.
- Two spaces over from my site, there was a family with 3 tents, a trailer, a couple hammocks and more beer than I’ve ever seen outside of the supermarket. They were the nicest group of people, and always very quiet at night, respectful of the other campers, but I could never tell how many people they actually had in their group, too many comings and goings to keep track.
- This is the only moment of the entire trip I missed not having someone with me on the trip. I wasn’t lonely by any means, but I enjoy comfortable silences with friends, being able to just be with each other without having to constantly entertain.