Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mammoth Cave

I have a life-long friend that lives in Tennessee.  I live in Indiana.  She teaches in a year-round school system and was about to be out on fall break.  We had not seen one another for almost a year and a half.  One conversation led to another and we decided to rendezvous in the middle at one of my favorite places on earth- Mammoth Cave National Park.
I've always loved camping but had not camped for nearly two years.  I hauled my equipment out of the barn and cleaned and scrubbed and organized for nearly a week.  Finally, with my little Honda loaded to the max, I was ready to head out.  Doug shot this photo of me just before I departed.  Yup, I'm a treehugger.
Me and my trusty steed
Just south of where we live I headed into Bedford, IN.  We live in the limestone belt.  The photo below shows common topography for this part of the state.  The air was thick with clouds all around.  
driving through the clouds
The Ohio River runs between Indiana and Kentucky.  I like to cross into Kentucky at Louisville over the Kennedy bridge.
Crossing over into Kentucky
 My friend and I were in contact via cell phone off and on during the trip and as I entered the park and saw this sign I pulled over to meet her.  We timed it perfectly and she arrived about ten minutes after I did.
She and I grew up together.  Her mother was my kindergarten teacher.  My family was moving and her daughter was in my new school district.  Her mother, my teacher, invited me over to their house one day after school to play so that I would have a new friend when I went to my new school.  That was when we were five years old and we have been friends ever since.  We went through Girl Scouts together from second grade through our junior year of high school.  We were Girl Scouts when most didn't think that was too cool, but we didn't care.  We always had fun camping and hiking together. 
We  quickly made camp and set out to hike a few trails.  We had a couple of  days of perfect fall weather.  The woods were pristine.
 We came upon this shag bark hickory tree and decided it looked like an old man with his arms extended.
The deer in the park are accustomed to people being all around and are quite tame.  The campers before us had spilled dog food in our campsite and we had deer coming to snack despite the fact that we were right there.
We planned our meals together and had bacon 
and fried potatoes for breakfast on our first morning.  We both like to drink tea and heated our water over the flames.  Food tastes delicious when cooked over a campfire.  That is my Grandma's old orange cast iron frying pan.  I love to cook in that old skillet and only use it on camping trips.
Our home away from home for a couple of nights was a tent.  Because we are getting older, and the ground is getting harder, we slept on a Coleman mattress.
I was thrilled to accompany her the first time that she toured the cave.  We took one of my favorite tours, the historic tour.  I have a special connection to this cave and love to see people's reaction the first time that they experience it.  The photo below was taken as we were coming back out of the cave into the sunlight. 
A friendly ranger snapped the photo of the two of us.  Friends for forty-eight years.  Shew, that is a long time!
Photo below is of me at an overlook in the park.  My favorite outfit- shorts, t-shirt and hiking boots. 
We were able to explore some areas that I had not visited before and we hiked around Sloan's Pond. 

We hiked, we cooked out over the fire, we talked, we laughed, we giggled.  Oh, we giggled like the school girls that we used to be.  The second night (our last) we stayed up late and talked and laughed.  We were up later than anyone else in the campground and were trying to be quiet.  If you are a female and reading this, you know that trying to be quiet usually just makes it worse. 
When we headed for home we departed later than we meant to (of course) and as I was near to home, the sun was just setting.
Back home again in Indiana.


ain't for city gals said...

Sounds like the perfect camping trip!

Angela said...

Oh that sounds and looks like so much fun!

Keetha Broyles said...

Oh my - - - what a TRIP.

Some gorgeous shots of the scenery, but the one I like BEST is the picture of those frying potatoes!!!! Makes me want some RIGHT NOW.


Makes me want to go camping. Yummy food. Great company. Beautiful scenery. So rustic and charming. Looks like alot of fun. Quite the adventure. Enjoyed your photos. Take care.

Holly said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. Glad you got out and had a good time with an old friend, that's so important. After I do that I always wonder why I don't do it more often. The fall pics are just gorgeous!!!

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

Great fall photos. The comfort of knowing there is a good friend out there that you've shared life with is a wonderful thing. Miles and miles separate me from my friend, but we're always there for each other and have such a great time when we finally arrange a trip together. Sounds like you had a terrific trip!

Karen said...

What an awesome weekend, we should all take the time to do this kind of thing now and again.

Enjoyed your pictures, thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

Looks like a fun time!

Patty said...

Looks like you had so much fun! It makes me want to cook over a campfire!

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Lovely, lovely...a great gal's weekend!

Yolanda said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time in my part of the country. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Privet and Holly said...

What a wonderful adventure
with your sweet friend. The
weather looked perfect and
the scenery, beautiful! Almost
as lovely as your long and
special friendship : )
xx Suzanne
PS: Love your new profile
Pic; you look great in a bob!

ain't for city gals said...

Hey Girl...I know I have your e-mail somewhere but too lazy to look. Sarah said some were actually doing the test in longhand just for that reason...afraid of losing it, I guess. She is working for a small firm...the two is Jewish and one is Buddhist(sp?) so one kind of keeps the other in They have kind of a rule that 60 hours a week is the max...and no work on Sunday...even at home. We shall see...part of her work is travel through out Arizona so that counts. Good thing they are young!!..p.s. we are going new car shopping tomorrow....her graduation present to herself!..she drove a clunker all the way through school... p.p.s....we (hubby and me) might be in Wash D.C. for a couple of months around April...plan a trip to see that granddaughter!!

Enjoy the Little Things said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corners of my life said...

Great adventure.
A friend for 48 years is priceless.

Megan said...

I've never even heard of Mammoth Cave but it looks gorgeous - and great you got to finally connect with your friend!

Anonymous said...

Can I come the next time! I have an infinate supply of shorts, t-shirts, and hiking boots! AND, I can giggle with the best of 'em!!!

Nice trip and wonderful memories!

Kris said...

Hey Cheryl. Somehow, I missed this post. I was busy all weekend, and didn't see it. I loved reading this! You are so much like me, it is scary! And I, like you, have many very long time girl friends that I do love to spend time with. This was just sheer delight to read. I am so glad you had such a great time!!!

Brian Miller said...

oh wow this looks so fun...i love camping and caving....a meal cooked over a flame too....mmm...nothing like it...glad you had a great trip!

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