Martina and Thunder under Bridle Veil Falls.

Easter was the one sunny day we had while we were gone. Ever camped in the rain? Just let me tell you this: I’m so happy we have our popup. So very glad.

We camped at North Mills River campground in Pisgah National Forest. It’s a solid 30 minute drive from Swannanoa but our site was lovely, the river beautiful and setting up in the rain? The guys did it while the ladies bought food. Yes, Eli cast her new BF to the sharks (Hubby and Tea) and we went to the grocery store. The guys drove off into the rain with the camper and found a place to set up and did. I really love being a girl. I just showed up with deli chickens and apple sauce, a bottle of wine and some almonds and cheese for myself and home was set up and waiting for me. Yes!
Eli and BF went back to campus that night and took Tea and Ale with them to experience a dry Friday night on campus. By dry I mean they slept inside and out of the rain. 
Hubby, M and I got up, had breakfast and took the doggies for a drive. It was gray but not raining. We hiked up a nice little trail and found a great sittin’ spot at a curve in the trail. The dogs, all of them, were awesome. Bear chuffed up the mountain like a train and seemed to love the place. Jasmine kept everyone in a proper herd. The puppies scooted and stumbled and bumbled. They are so cute.
When we got back to the campsite at 10am, the kids were back and we moved to our proper campsite to spend the next 3 nights. We got everything set up like we wanted and decided to sit around and breathe smoke from the fire and drink and pick on each other and giggle. Ah. It was great. For supper I cooked pork loin steaks in onion gravy, a salad of micro greens, cukes and herbs with truffle olive oil and red wine vinegar, and homemade mac and cheese. It was cold and damp and I wanted protein and carbs and fat. Everyone ate like they were starved. 
That night (Saturday) was shockingly cold. The dogs slept in their crates in the back of the van. Bear snoozed in his gigantic wire crate and the puppies shared. Jasmine, being the spoiled thing she is, slept in the camper with us and the heater. Tea like to have frozen that night in spite of our little heater. He got the short end of the blanket pile and no sleeping bag. It was below freezing outside. That kind of weather makes a midnight potty trip an ordeal.
Easter dawned sunny. M was up early to ‘go to the bathroom’. She climbed back into bed disappointed that the Easter Bunny was a no-show. After a little talking she decided to check again and Lah! He HAD dropped off a few eggs and jelly beans after all. We cooked a huge breakfast. I walked Bear onto the tent to get Eli and BF up. We went for a drive to take showers at Wilson and then came back to the campsite from the other side of the mountain. A visit to Earth Fair left us well prepped for a lunch of fresh bread, sun dried tomato pate, cheese, lunch meat, cornichons, peppers, wine, water, yum. We ate at the edge of a river where we all looked at rocks while we ate. I think there is something wrong with us because we are obsessed with rocks.
We took everyone on the same hike as the day before and then each chose a spot to just sit and look and listen. I saw: M, Bear, Jasmine, Glory and Thunder. I heard: Bear, Jasmine, Glory, Thunder, Bear, Bear, Bear, Bear. 1 kid and 4 dogs. Eli saw a snake. We all checked out the snake until Mark white-manned it and it skidded off into a hole. We went back to the van and The Bear Went Over the Mountain with a 20 year old white girl in hot pursuit. It was kinda funny. They came back. We went to the camper and hung out, had an Easter egg hunt, Travis rolled his kayak in the river and came back drenched. For supper I gave everyone a hot dog and a stick. I cooked some fresh green beans with garlic, onion and dill and that was it. We eventually all went to bed, with heaters and extra propane.
The rain came in the middle of the night. Nothing quite like the sound of fatty splots crashing onto heavy canvas two feet above your ears to startle you awake in the middle of the night…and nothing like it to put you right back to sleep. Monday was nasty weather but all the kids got up and went to college. Even Tea and Ale who went to classes with Eli. Hubby and I took M gem mining at a place where one of my Runescape buddies works.
The gem mine is in Franklin, NC. We took the long way. We took the long way in fog so damned thick you couldn’t have seen that the mountain had collapsed until you had fallen to the bottom of it. We came across Highlands, NC where people drive a million miles to the ass end of nowhere to shop at Talbots and buy Armani and eat $8 bowls of awful soup served by a shitty waitress. Of course, maybe Highlands is actually somewhere important. I couldn’t see for the fog. We ate the soup, short-tipped the waitress and kept on going. Somewhere in the fog we came across Bridle Veil Falls. 

Bridle Veil Falls. Notice the fog.
Eventually we got to Franklin and I fired up my computer, logged on to Runescape and told my buddy we were headed his way. He said, “Where are you?” and right then Hubby slammed on breaks, crammed the gearshift into reverse and I looked up, read the sign and typed, “Out front.” Heh. More rocks. We spent $40 (less than on our lunch!) and over an hour with our hands in cold water and mud, looking for gemstones. We found a few pretty ones. Hubby keeps mentioning how we spent less on mining than lunch and how it was so much more enjoyable. Amen. I love that my 7 year old daughter is thrilled to stand outside, in the rain, damp and cold, with her dimpled hands in cold water, sifting through wet dirt looking for flat, smooth rocks. She loved it.

We did not make it to Chimney Rock on Easter morning. Every device we had that had an alarm was dead in the cold…except the puppies who woke up early enough after all. But we had made a democratic decision to cancel and so stayed in our warm beds until Martina’s excitement had us all get up.

Back in Swannanoa we picked the kids up and met my ex-in-laws at Cocula, the excellent Mexican place for supper. The EILs were visiting Eli and Asheville for a few days. They are excellent folks and we all had a great time eating and chatting. I was saturated and exhausted and the Margarita made me go cross eyed but still, I insisted that we find a thrift store after supper and pick up a dry coat for M. (Hers had been stomped by wet puppies.)
Tuesday morning we got up, packed up in the sometimes pouring, sometimes not, rain and headed out. Hubby and I had a huge fight because he’s an asshole. (I, of course, am beyond reproach. Grin.) We ate at two separate tables at Cracker Barrel. 
After hitting the Wilson bookstore for paraphanelia, I took the wheel and headed for home. I did a drive by dinner date in Chapel Hill at a fantastic little place called Margaret’s Cantina. R met us there and told us what’s up in his classes. We all ate at the same table. We got home at 11pm. Yawn. Sag. Home good.

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
This entry was posted in children, family, festivals, food, health and well-being, herding dogs, parenting, personal, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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