We headed back to Tracy City on Wednesday for 3 days of helping Park with 3 projects he wanted to get done before he leaves the park. His last day is Sunday.

This was the most relaxed I have been about a camping trip, ever. Tuesday I jotted down a list of what to pack and about 7 that evening, actually started packing. I normally spend a week before the trip hashing out every detail. The only thing I did not have was salt. AGAIN. hahaha. So my lax approach hardly affected things. I did bounce around a few menu ideas beforehand, I knew I only wanted to bring the kettle, so choices were limited. But the thought of doing the planning, driving, setting up, watching over, shuttling, helping out on the projects, keeping the camp organized and clean, taking pictures, making sure everyone was okay, fed, sleeping, drinking, brushing their teeth and getting along and then adding cooking and cleaning the cookware to that...no. Something had to go. The other kids brought their own snacks and breakfast, which was a big help in getting going both days. I think that will be my plan from now on. I brought 2 big bags of apples and they mowed through those, sliced cheese, carrot sticks, pepperoni slices, boiled eggs and hummus chips for snacks at camp. So everything worked out fine, they used mustard instead of salt when needed. ha!

Tuesday I picked up Britney around 1 and then went right down to get Rhoen and Elan. We loaded the van that night, putting all the bedding and such in the roof bag. That thing is a huge help! Wednesday we were supposed to leave around 7:30, but it was raining and the forecast in Tracy City was t-storms until noon, so I let the kids sleep in and got a few things done and we left out a little later. Swapped Elan for Alex on the way through Huntsville and after a couple traffic delays, arrived at the campground and parked. The kids wandered around and looked at all the sites, finally picking 22, which was a great spot. Lots of room for parking and tents and it backed into the woods with a little cleared area perfect for hanging the 3 hammocks. Everyone set up their own stuff and Park came by and had lunch with us before we all headed down to start on the platform, carrying our tools.

We made good progress, we worked for 3 hours the first afternoon. I think we could have finished it in one day, but half of the kids were focused on getting one particular rock and spent a good 2 of those hours trying to move it. It never did get to the wall, so all that effort did not help the cause. But it did get them in the 'progress' mode for the rest of the work. And, it was a HUGE rock, even just moving it a few feet made them feel powerful. It was talked about quite a bit. So, maybe not the worst thing.


Clearing the space for the base


Getting some of the foundation rocks in place


End of day one's work

Tuesday night, the girls made rice balls and sushi for us to have Wednesday night, it was yummy!


I know THIS look...In about 5 more years, it will be closer to this one:


I get this one pretty frequently.
And that shirt is pink.

I was supposed to have taken kids up the week before as well and had to cancel. A trip to the doc revealed a bronchial infection and some sad lung capacity, I was put on meds. I finished those up on this trip, but my breathing was still crappy, I had a hard time keeping any kind of pace because I would run out of air and thus energy and have to stop and get my breathing back. I felt SO puny! Waa. I can't wait to be back to normal.

Thursday