I left this story as Sidekick Pauli and I were preparing for a night in the tent. She was on her cushy mat covered with a fleece pad and I made myself as comfy as possible on my Thermarest pad. I had my 20 degree bag underneath and my 35 covering us both like a quilt. It was quite cozy as darkness fell and Sidekick Pauli’s little snores kept me company as I read my book with a headlamp. The soothing pitter-patter of raindrops soon had my eyes lids drooping, so I called it a night and drifted off into dream land.
Campgrounds!!! Boom-boom-whack-boom…a family had rolled in after dark and by the sound of it were constructing the Taj Mahal. No need to worry about the bears…back to sleep…
Peeking my head out of the tent in the morning I couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of me! That was pretty wild. I waited about an hour for a little more light to filter through the fog, then headed to the car. “Let’s go, Pauli! This is car camping, I need coffee!” and I found it at the Wayside…gladly paid $3.04 for a coffee they branded as a “large” but would have been classified as a medium (or a “grande” for you Starbucks folks 🙂 )
Need coffee…what a welcome site on a chilly, wet morning.
Then I headed south with the intention of finding a place to hike where the fog was not as heavy. This turned into quite a quest! I drove into the southern section of the park and found a few beautiful views.
Southern Section Overlook
We hiked a little of this and little of that as I drove back north towards Big Meadows, where it was just as foggy as I had left it! I decided we could walk down the road to Rapidan. I was NOT going into the Meadow in that fog…good God, I could have been lost for hours!!
I can’t see anything!
We had a good time and eventually the fog lifted in the Meadow, so we entered and found many beautiful wildflowers, in addition to an apple tree dripping with apples! We were ready for lunch soon after stomping up, down, and around Big Meadows.
Walking into the Meadow on the Rapidan Fire Road.
Heading back to the tentsite I took in the spread of the Taj Mahal campers. Two huge tents, food everywhere, and the number of red Dixie cups would positively have the Leave No Trace peep’s panties in a twist. It even made me cringe…seriously, I think these campers produced more trash in two days than I produce in a month.
“Okay…stop judging them!!!” I made a conscience decision to STOP JUDGING them…I was camping. “Just let them camp, girl! It’s fine…everything is fine!” So I left it and enjoyed my lunch. 🙂
And it was fine! Their kids came over and met Sidekick Pauli, and she adored them. Mom was very nice, as was Grandpa! How cool that the whole family was getting together for good times outdoors…I love that!
The fog had lifted, but it was still chilly. Here is the issue with bringing my dog on a rainy weekend…there is not much to do with a dog on a rainy weekend if tenting. I certainly wasn’t going to tie her to the tree and let her get cold, while I sat in a comfy chair reading my book. She wasn’t allowed inside anywhere…and we didn’t come out here to hang out in the backpacking tent…so only one thing to do…hike!
I picked up the AT where we had left it yesterday and hiked south to a cemetery, then looped back on a horse trail. Not a long hike, but long enough to stretch our legs once more before the rain started up. Which it did, right on cue at 5 pm. Even so, the tent was a welcome respite and kept us cozy one more night. 🙂 Hike on!
After our last hike of the day…time to relax in the den!