So the night before I was supposed to pack and I realized there wasn't enough hours for that and sleep. I have a tendency to underestimate how long things take. I started freaking out. I wanted to text Lydia and tell her our 9 am departure time was unrealistic and we should aim for 11... But neither Lydia nor I have a cell phone anymore. And I couldn't exactly call her housephone at 3am. So I was stuck.
I did end up getting one hour of sleep. Part of the problem was it stormed overnight. I'd planned to go out to the car and get some stuff, look for somethings in the garage (which is detached, so you have to go outside to access), and take a shower. All of that had to be put off until the morning. When Lydia arrived at my house, irritatingly on time, I wasn't ready. We didn't leave my house until 9:45...
|The swimming hole|
|Me, playfully swimming|
Lydia had brought her guitar and djembe, and we passed the rest of the storm perched on rolled up foam mats and singing praises to God. Oh, and emptying buckets and pots of water pouring in!
|The wet tent.|
So I set off. I'll be honest, I was only hoping I'd enjoy it, not anticipating I would. I don't really like moving without feeling like I'm in control. Or rather, that someone is... the river made it very hard to steer. It was fun, but I was nervous crash into a rock, or fall out, or something...
|Lydia, tubing (near the swimming hole, the river does get less calm later)|
So while I'm fighting with the river, I realize I can't see any places to get off! I remember from when I was a kid and we did tubing, there was a bridge going over the river and you really needed to get out by then... so I assured myself I hadn't seen that bridge yet as my adrenaline rose and I prayed. Just not in my comfort zone!
Suddenly, I saw a bunch of rocks jutting out into the river from the bank: a nice easy place to get out! I steered towards it, got up, put on my flip flops and started carrying the tube... But then I read the signs. They told me to stay off the banks, they were trying to restabilize them! I walked down the rocks, but there was no way up. I stood there for a few minutes, praying for Jesus... or Lydia... someone to rescue me. But it was obvious there was only one choice. So I told God I trusted Him, and launched myself back in the river.
After a while, I saw a place where tree roots formed a ladder that could be climbed up.. as I zipped past. Encouraged it could happen again, I steered in that direction. I missed the next one by like two feet! But the third one I was able to grab and pull myself up.
I was probably a mile down from where I started! And that bridge I'd looked for? As I walked down I saw that the bridge had been taken off to have construction work done to it! I'd zoomed past it without realizing it. But the walk back did afford me time to gaze at some pretty things, which I later went back and took photos to share with you and remember.
|Lovely ferns I came across on my walk back|
|The "English Chapel", a little church in the campground|
We went back to camp and ate dinner, then grabbed our wet blankets and wet clothes and headed to Brevard, the nearest town, to find a laundromat. We eventually did, but it was a quarter for five minutes in the drier! So we only dried our blankets, and only until they were mainly dry, not totally dry.
By the time we got back to the campsite, we were hungry again. Our firewood had gotten wet, so we didn't try to make a fire, but instead roasted a few hot dogs and s'mores over the flame of our propane camp stove.
We set up a second tent inside the first tent. That's right! See, when Lydia and I got together last week to figure out what supplies we'd take on our trip I'd brought my tiny little two person tent to air out, as well as my parent's big three room tent. When we found out it was only going to be Lydia and I (there was another girl who backed out) it especially made no sense to pack two tents. So it was by mistake that my little tent ended up coming with us... but thank you God that it did!
"No," she answered, "I'm just cold. It's damp." So I rolled over and let her in. That was our first day. And even though it sounds kind of crazy, it was a lot of fun.