This post brought to you by a real life family campout complete with packs and a six man tent.
The rascals rose to the occasion hiking six miles in one day.
We set up camp in a clearing. We spread the footprint of our tent on a bed of pine needles under towering Longleafs. A stark contrast to the camping of my teen years in the Rockies where you made a bed on a mattress of stones.
Our first day we took a trail through the forest and found water running over mossy rocks. I was delighted to trade the mosquitos of the lowland for ferns and frogs of the Blue Ridge.
The smoky morning light set our chosen site ablaze with life. Ours, and the natives. It was a welcome warmth after a restless repose.
Shelby stood guard all night. We let her low growl keep the spooky sounds of the woods in check. I felt safe with our newfound pooch protection.
We had free reign as the only overnighters we could see and only crossed paths with a handful of day hikers.
Avery marked our path every few minutes with arrows so we would not lose our way on the loop trail. She was the keeper of the camelback and became quite stingy with sips for her trail companions.
We packed in all our food. Our necks and backs reminded us to bring a pole and hook next time
or maybe find some edibles in the flora of the forest
and possibly teach our hunting dog to hunt.
I have always loved how camping distills life. Boiling out the unnecessary impurities out of necessity.
Time is devoted once again to finding shelter, making warmth from wood, wind, and work. Preparing food over that warmth.
Water becomes dear again. Clear skies and sunshine are a relief.
Clothing is not crucial, but dryness is.
A waterfall-fed Lagoon served as backdrop to a pitstop where lunch was dried plantains, crisp apples, and jerky.
A work day meant navigating roots on hills and slopes.
But our view beat any cubicle by a long shot.
A really. Long. Shot.
Rascals: Lucy (7), Seth (9), Hazel (6), Avery (4).
Our four wowed us with their strength and ambition in their Appalachian ambling.
Mangums take Panthertown Valley, NC, Smoky Mountains 2012.