Monday, April 16, 2012

Amicalola Falls

Hey!  How was your weekend?  Mine was awesome---exhausting, but awesome!  We had a Mother/Daughter American Heritage Girls Camping trip to Amicalola Falls.  In the 16 years I've lived here, we've never made it up to this gorgeous place!  Sad.  But now I have and I'm ready to go back, already.

Friday night was low-key since most of us arrived late and had to set up.  But Saturday morning we got started by teaching the girls how to make a simple meal of Eggs-in-a-Bag.  Just smooch up your egg(s), salt and pepper, salsa, cheese, whatever, in a zip-baggie, and throw it in the bowling water.  Don't just hold it over the hot water because you'll get steam burns and it won't cook.  ;-)  Not that we did that in my group, but I heard someone else tried it and was a little frustrated!
Friday night, the girls did make Deer Baubles, which you see hanging around her neck in the picture below.  It's just cereal and dried fruit strung on dental floss to make a handy snack for hiking.  Meg wanted to know why we didn't just buy those candy necklaces.  Obviously, I don't discuss nutrition enough around here.
Happily, the park was having their wildflower festival this weekend.  Unhappily, because of the ridiculously warm spring end-of-winter weather, the wildflowers were well past their peak and we didn't see many.  However, they had special events planned that we participated in, like learning to make a flower press (above), and then we went on a 1.5 mile hike with wonderful Ranger Andrea who stopped and showed us all kinds of (post-peak) wildflowers.  It was very informative and fun.  She has the patience of a saint and absolutely looooovvvess her job and flowers!  Meg had the camera and took a lot of pictures that look like this:
and I couldn't possibly tell you what you're looking at.  Oh, wait, maybe that's Coltsfoot.  Not sure.  I could tell you about the pics I took, though.  

We hiked to the bottom of the falls where The Stairs start.  There are 604 stairs to the Top of the Falls, but the official hike ended there and we thought the stairs might be too much for the adults  some of the younger girls.  I did go up a couple hundred to retrieve a wayward group, however.
This is where we were supposed to stop.

This is where the group got to, where there is a bridge across the falls.
After the falls, there were owls to visit at the Lodge, and a great view from there.
A few of us still had the energy to go back down to see Ranger Andrea to make Sun Pictures.  I really don't think that's the name, but I can't remember what it is.  The special paper is available at Hobby Lobby if you want to try it.  It was fun, but a little frustrating because it was windy.  Do it on a calm day if you're using lightweight objects like pressed flowers and leaves!
Are you tired yet?  I am, but we still have to go back to camp where it's about time to learn about fire building, and have the older girls build a fire and then cook dinner over it.

I'm happy to say that both fire and dinner were successful!  The stew looks kind of gross there, but that's a shot of the just-added dumplings which are still raw.  They're on top of a soup with veggies and chicken in chicken broth.  It must have been good because the moms and girls in our group ate it all!

We got to bed at a pretty decent hour; I think the entire troop was exhausted!  After a lovely prayer circle in the morning with everyone, Meg and I hit the road to make it to Mass.  But we had to stop at the Top of the Falls first:
 It's really just a picturesque, unassuming stream behind us, but that steep drop off turns it into something incredible!  We took a few minutes to walk down about 250 of the 604 steps.  And met a few hikers on the way up.  They all looked pretty beat!
I did a quick change at the visitor's center for Mass and we managed to get there just after the Gloria by the grace of God!  I did decide to go see our priestly friend, after all.  It was so worth the extra time it took to get there, and the Deacon was also an old friend who had baptized Meg, as it turns out.  I had forgotten that he was also there.  Sadly, we didn't get to visit for more than a couple of minutes because he had a meeting immediately after Mass, but that little bit was wonderful.  Awesome, even.

Sorry for the long post, but that's what you get when everyone around is asleep!  Pip was complaining of a sore throat last night, and Meg was just complaining.  She could be getting the sore throat, too, or she could just be wiped out from the weekend!  It was a pretty amazing weekend.  I love these Mother/Daughter campouts, but it's even better in a stunning environment.

I hope your weekend was wonderful, too!  What did you do?

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