I have a confession (holds breath) ... I'VE NEVER GONE CAMPING BEFORE! Pheww... There, I said it. Glad I got that off my chest. Yep, I'm a 26-year-old-grown-woman who loves the outdoors and adventures, but had never gone camping before. I'm not really sure how that happened (or didn't happen), but I guess that's how it goes when you're raised by a single mother and your family didn't really go on vacations. It wasn't like I was the only one in my family that hadn't gone camping before. John (15) and Amelia (18) had also never gone camping or even seen mountains in person. Robert (20) had only gone camping for the first time a few months earlier, so we were a bunch of noobs (as the cool kids say). Luckily, we weren't going alone because Erik and his brothers are seasoned campers. The destination was Black Balsam Knob which is in The Blue Ridge Mountains, right off of the parkway. Erik, Taylor, Robert, Amelia and John set up the campsite around 5pm while Zach and I arrived after dark. We all hung out around the campfire for a few hours and went to bed as it started to rain. The first time sleeping in a tent on the ground went pretty well ... besides being kept up by the sounds of little creatures sniffing around our tent. We woke up the next morning to realize they were just mice though. Thankfully, Robert's trail mix was the only casualty of their pillaging.
Stepping out of the tent in the early morning light and finally getting to see what our campsite looked like was such a weird/awesome/exciting experience!
We started the day with a delicious Mountain (wo)Man breakfast, made by Zach.
That's eggs, onions, peppers, bacon, tater tots and lots of cheese ...oh and pro tip if you mistakenly bring a bag of curly fries instead of tater tots, it totally works fine.
After the awesome breakfast, we all piled into the truck and headed to the trail head to climb Black Balsam Knob.
Yay! Group photo with the sun in our eyes! (Featuring: Myself, Erik, Robert, Zach, Taylor, John, and Amelia)
We made it to the top of Black Balsam Knob!
After the hike, we found a beautiful meadow near our camp site and took a nap. It was so incredibly peaceful.
Oh, and John climbed a tree... or 4.
This picture (below) kinda looks like it could have been taken at night and those are the light from the an alien spaceship...do you kinda see it, maybe? Speaking of aliens if you ever get a chance ask Amelia or John about the ufo they saw on the first night ...they were quite freaked out by it. You can ask Erik about it too, but he's more of a realist...so not as much fun #iwanttobelieve
In the end, I'd have to say camping is awesome! Yes, it's uncomfortable, and yeah, I'm sure not a fan of the bathroom situation... but the level of peace I felt laying in that meadow and hiking up a mountain with the important people in my life made it all the more more special. Can't wait for our next trip! - Christlyn
(P.S. These were a collection of iPhone / camera pics) FIN