The Great Campout
South Cumberland State Park, TN
September 14, 2007
Oh no! I groaned as I looked at the long line of green and yellow blotches moving in our directions across the radar screen. I had been looking forward to the campout to Stone Door for some time and couldn’t wait to build fires, hike the trails, climb the cliffs, and swim under the water falls. But with this weather… it looked like the small yet valiant group of campers I was with might not get to enjoy much more than a smudge of a fire while wrapped in a soggy sleeping-bag!
I shrugged these thoughts off as we began loading the car with a large suitcase, a large laundry basked, and all the other items you simply can’t leave at home yet don’t have a clue what to do with once you get there. It could have been fairly easy to think that we were leaving for the time of trouble since we had somehow managed to bring enough food to last the better part of six months! As we squeezed the last bottle of ketchup in the trunk and secured the watermelon the rain started to fall. We all piled in to my small and very loaded Camry and had a prayer putting the trip into Gods hands and asking for His leading and blessing. With that we were off!After driving through thick rain and fog we arrived at a well kept ranger station where we found a group of rather un-amused rangers huddled in one of the only dry spots for miles. They gave us rather puzzled looks as we shared with them out intentions of camping in such weather. Soon we had found an acceptable location which was a very winding, muddy, and root filled half mile from the car.
I’m sure it must have been an amusing sight as I wrestled my eighty-five pound suitcase through the mud and over the roots followed by dutiful campers carrying a large laundry basked and heavy watermelon which had a tendency of gaining even more weight with every step.
As we set up our tents we noticed something incredible. It had stopped raining! Though there was still some fog and light drizzle the overwhelming downpour had moved on! (Except for when I “accidentally” bumped a few trees while wrestling with my suitcase which just “happened” to cause a shower of its own over the other campers.) In a relatively short time our camp was set up and we were enjoying a nice warm fire which far surpassed the smudge I had envisioned earlier.
It was then suggested that we visit the bluff over Stone Door. The view was well worth the hike as the sun was nearly shining now and the air was crisp and clear. From our perch atop the one hundred and thirty foot cliffs we could see several miles up to the end of the canyon or look back and see where it joined others and eventually opened out into the valley far below. It was so nice to be away from schedules and that ever present list of things that must be done in order to be considered a “good” student.
After enjoying the silence for a few hours and singing a song or two we, or at least I, began developing a case of ravenous hunger. While pawing through our stores of food we found that there were more perishables than we had thought which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we ended up having a seven course supper of fried potatoes, fried tofu, camp toast, some sort of veggie chicken, cookies and a variety of other odds and ends.
By the time we were done we began to wonder more seriously the other car load of campers which had promised to come and yet for some reason had not arrived yet. Although the other campers are not known for their punctuality it was thought that they should arrive within four hours of their supposed arrival time! After some discussion it was decided that if they had not shown up by 10:00pm we would then drive until we either found them or had reached cell phone reception and learned of their fate. The appointed hour finely came and we all headed out to the car and started down the road. As we pulled out I prayed under my breath that they would arrive soon as it was of great importance that they arrive soon. Turning my focus back to the road I saw a set of headlights coming and sure enough, it was them! I learned an important lesson. God was waiting for me to ask! Then it occurred to me that I should have prayed sooner, then we wouldn’t have had to wait so long or even go looking for them!
THE END . . .
(unless Daniel gets around to writing the rest of the story!)
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