Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Camping Shenanigans

Hey readers! Thanks for all your well wishes after reading my last post. I really appreciate it. We're doing just fine and I've got some small jobs here and there to hold us over for a while. 

As I mentioned in the last post we snuck in one last camping trip of the year last weekend in Helen, GA. A few friends came along and we had a pretty awesome time, though I'll admit it was a bit cold. It was exactly what I needed for some serious stress relief. I'd forgotten how exhausting job hunting can be!

Our first stop on our little weekend getaway was at an awesome Granary and Mill right outside of Helen. 

They're an old fashion granary that stone-grinds everything. I'm one of those weird health and nutrition nuts so of course I had to buy some flours. We also bought hushpuppy mix and my southern man bought a ten pound bag of stone ground grits. Stone ground flour fresh from a mill is more nutritious that what you get in a grocery store and it tastes awesome. It's not over processed and keeps most of the germ in tact so it's much better for you. The only downsize is that it goes bad much faster than regular big-box store bought flours so I keep ours in mason jars in the freezer. Yum.

I of course stopped for a photo-op right outside the mill. I have to express my Nora Mill love whenever the opportunity arises. I don't know what kind of face I'm making there, but I guess we'll call it Sun-stare-squinty-face. 

Next we headed into downtown Helen which happens to be just about the cutest little town there ever was. They already had everything all decked out for the holidays. I typically don't like to see Christmas decor before Thanksgiving, but Helen is so cute that I had to excuse them.

We also stopped into Fiance's uncle's Cigar Shop for a visit. I don't smoke cigars, but I will admit that I love the smell of them. 

I was having so much fun during our visit that I forgot to take pictures of the smoking parlor. I pulled this image off their website so you could get a feel for the place. The smoking parlor is set up like an English cigar shop and is filled with antique chairs and sofas. It's really neat. 

Next step was a hike into the woods for about an eight of a mile and scout out a good campsite. We didn't want to be too far from the parking lot when we knew it would be below freezing in the evenings. 

Then we pitched the tent. I use "we" lightly. I pretty much just watched while Fiancé put the whole thing together. Fiancé is so woodsy. I guess it's all that Eagle Scout in him. Besides men are better at tent construction anyway. 

As it got dark we waited for our friends to arrive. They started to show up after dark and we somehow managed to get everyone's tents up without too much trouble despite it being awfully chilly and very very dark.

After a night of good conversation and general campfire revelry we all turned in.

Fiancé and I snapped a photo in the middle of the night to commemorate our first camp out at 25 degrees. Don't we just look lovely at 3 am? He was not as excited to take this picture as I was.

We had brought plenty of blankets and extra sleeping bags so we were nice and cozy all night long. We had also found a nice spot that was free of roots so we were quite comfortable. The only real hardship of the evening was a late night bathroom run. I swear my unmentionables were frozen solid by the time I returned to the tent, but I guess I've still got some northern blood left in me because even that didn't seem like such a big deal. I think some of the other members of our camping party were less impressed by the weather.

I was up a little before Fiancé the next morning. I had to hike down to the car to get some breakfast for us. As a general policy we don't like to keep food in the camp particularly since there have been a few bear attacks in the North Georgia Mountains recently. We did bring a bear bag with us, but we didn't end up using it since we weren't very far in. It snowed a little over night, but not enough to really do anything but dust our chairs.

Bringing lots of warm clothes also helped with the cold. I wore this hat and scarf that I made back in my knitting days. I also brought along my super warm Rochester, NY snow mitten/glove things that keep your hands awesomely warm. Let me take a moment to gush about these gloves. They are the warmest pair of gloves I have ever had. My hands barely get cold and you can seriously use these things as pot holders. I took our hot water pot right out of the fire using these things and couldn't even feel it. They're awesome.

We cooked some breakfast over the fire and then I enjoyed this delicious sweet potato while the menfolk chopped some wood and searched for kindling.

After breakfast we geared up for a short hike to the mountain top. Here is Lauren getting very excited about the trip. I won't bore you with pictures of the hike since it was pretty much just trees and a pretty stream, but it was a good hike. Nice and easy and very scenic. I was surprised by how crowded the trail was, but with the park being so close to Helen it makes the hike a good day trip. Fiancé stayed behind to mind the camp. We all thought it was best that he stay at the campsite since he was recovering from a knee injury.

And here I am at the end of the trail. It ends in a pretty waterfall coming down through the rocks. The water was so clear and I wanted to go swimming very badly. Unfortunately it only warmed up to the low 50s during the day so that wasn't really possible. That and the water was FREEZING. I washed my hands in the water instead. 


Alyssa said...

That sounds awesome! Jason and I went camping at the end of October, so at night it was about 30 degrees, but we had a space heater in a little bitty cabin, so I totally commend your roughing it in a tent!

Suzanne said...

Looks like a great time was had by all. Good luck with the job search.

Lizzie said...

I love Helen. It's so cute in a cheesy kind of way!