We had planned to camp for a couple nights at Chilhowee
and I ended up needing to drive Jake to an interview because the Volvo is BACK
in the shop (that's twice in 2 weeks!) and he could not drive himself. So we
opted to go closer, after shuffling around a few ideas, we decided to try a
new to us campground, the Little River RV Park and Campground near Little River
The campground has potential, but as-is, I would never go there again. In fact, we did not even stay past 10 a.m. the second morning. First, the tent area is right next to the highway, so there's road noise the entire time and at night, the big trucks make even more noise somehow. There were several people who appeared to be living in the campground and they drove to the bathhouse, even at 2 a.m. From just a few sites away. Around 1, some people came in and drove around and around and finally set up camp down from us and after hammering in a dozen stakes per tent, decided to move sites. They also walked back and forth to the bathhouse talking. Then around 2, they hauled out the plug-in air pump and pumped up their air mattresses. We were all miserable and packed up as quickly as possible the next morning.
There's wi-fi, but there's a password and no one was in the office at any point to help out with any questions or to share that info. The bathhouse has one toilet, one shower and one toilet/shower combo. The roads are gravel and steep, no good for kids on bikes and some of the tent campsites are comically small. The gravel also means you hear every footstep and tire roll anywhere in the campground. There's a fishing pond with ducks and the ducks mutter all night, quack if they see anyone and take off en masse across the water with a sound like a heavy wet piece of canvas is being pulled across the grass. The tent sites are also stacked on top of each other, zero privacy, along a terraced hillside. So I could hear Amanda talking to her kids almost as clearly as I could hear the trucks. It's not a good campground at all. Our tents were about 8 feet apart and that was actually the two sites that were a little more spacious. My advice is to avoid unless you have hard side camper with white noise AC/fan and possess the ability to walk to the bathhouse and not wake up everyone in the tent area driving to pee at 3 a.m. They do have firewood for sale, a dump station and some hiking trails with backcountry sites. Those might be far enough back to actually be quiet!
We decided to head to Buck's Pocket or Guntersville after
hanging out in the area for the day, so we went to the cayon visitor center,
which is a LOVELY building, but the women who work there YELL the moment you
walk in and get really pissy if you don't want/need help. We got offered the
movie (which we have seen) no less than 6 times, so we finally just headed out
to the falls, which is what we should have done in the first place. We just
wanted to sit down for a few minutes and look over our options, get some water,
find out about the water levels and such. Even the woman in the gift shop wanted
to mark my map for places we should visit. I finally said, "I LIVED here
for 2 years, I am good. Really." Ack. I think I was/still am on high-strung
mode. I just wanted a little peace! Zero sleep is not a good look for me.
We hung out at the falls for a long while, then went to DeSoto Falls by way of Howard's Chapel to picnic and swim, then the teens and I went to the caves while Amanda took the youngers to the playground. We met back up and went to get ice cream and ended up walking around downtown Ft. Payne until well after dark. We decided since everyone was tired to just head home instead of finding a spot and setting up only to have to pack up by 11 the next morning.
So, an awesome trip in some ways-getting to hang out and hike and be in one of my favorite places with friends. Even the crappy bits-being kept awake and being overwhelmed by the volume of help offered over and over at the canyon center-was funny when Amanda was overreacting as much as I was. It became comical pretty quickly and we pointed out various noisy vehicles in town that afternoon that were surely on their way up Hwy 35 past the campground! hehehehehe.
Ben, toughing it out in the wilderness!
The first thing that happened was I collected other children to help me move my tent. Ben and I are celebrating the unique level of insane that I tend to possess when it comes to campsites. I think at this point, everyone I know has help tote or push my camping apperatus from Point A to Point B.
It rained, then rainbowed, then rained some more.
Campground libraries! Tawdry.
I convinced Amanda to 'just cram' her stuff in the car, I'd take the teens with me all day.
That worked great until we headed home instead of to the same campground. She ended up just stuffing the big kids in the back!
The falls were really low!
Our respective baby boys. :D
Off to Howard's Chapel. This is where Matt and I planned to get married!
Really, really weird.
Love Japanese Maples!
The girls jumped, the boys chickened out.
Off to have a treat!
Ben and I were deadbeats, but Chan had some ice cream. We had tea, Amanda had a coffee drink which made her a live wire for quite a while after. haha
Bands of unaccompanied minors roam the streets
Every bench along main street had a hound dog.
Jeff from the band Alabama
I am obviously abusing the power of...The Filter in these shots.
We got to the cars around 7:30 and headed on home!