Saturday, July 4, 2009

Outdoors With Family

Experiencing the great outdoors is a favorite pleasure. Thursday morning, the kids and I headed on a three-hour trip to Southeast Tennessee to raft the Hiwassee River and camp overnight. Dori, who needed to wrap up her workweek, said she'll join us on the next run.

It was a chore convincing Kathryn to join us, mostly because of her apprehension about sleeping in a tent. Will, who has watched too many grizzly bear attack shows on Animal Planet, bless his heart, told Kathryn the night before we had a "50-50 chance of being attacked by a bear." After talking through that one, a reassured Will was ready for the show.

Armed with a spinning rod, we started the four-hour float on Class I and II rapids at midday. I pulled in a few fat rainbows, but spent most of the day steering the canoe raft. The Hiwassee, fed by mountain streams before emptying into the Tennessee River, is a marvel of nature. More like a Western mountain tributary, it's teeming with healthy fish, elegant waterfowl and a cornucopia of aquatic life.

I think these photos say it all. We had a blast.

We woke early to explore the river and Gee Creek. Before heading home, we visited the picturesque Delano Farm Market run by the Mennonites. The market overlooks a well-run 50-acre operation. A sign asked customers to respect the market by wearing proper clothing. The two hundred customers who stormed the market at its opening complied, thankfully. I didn't see an exposed navel, tattoo or nose ring.

Like viewing a painting, we absorbed horse-pulled buggies, windmills and Mennonite women harvesting in the valley. A Mennonite gentleman tallied our produce, which included corn, cucumbers, red potatoes, plump tomatoes and banana walnut bread, on a cash register the Waltons may have used.

On the way home, we talked about similarities and differences with modern markets. I had planned the visit to buy good food but probably more to ensure our children view life outside our bubble.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Will ranked the trip a 9.75 while Kathryn gave it a 7.5. Both said the only downer was the ruckus neighboring campers created well past dusk. Will loves nature and wants to camp again soon. I'm game. I had a terrific time.


Donna Clements said...

Love the pics and the trip!! And I love to hear what Kathryn and Will say. (The 50/50 chance of a bear attack cracked Runcie and me up!)
So glad y'all had a fun adventure!!

Summer said...

What a great trip. Looks y'all definitely had fun!