ConnieLou and I took Jenna and a couple of her friends camping down at Chattahoochee Bend for the weekend. Taking a group of teenage girls camping is almost always an interesting experience. This time around I learned about words. Not new words but different uses for words that I already knew. Take ‘ENO’, for example. ENO is actually an acronym which stands for Eagles Nest Outfitters, the maker of a popular brand of hammock. ENO is commonly used as a proper noun for the name of the hammock brand these days. Example: “Did you bring your ENO?” I was a bit surprised to learn that it is also used as a verb. Example: “Hey, come over here and ENO with us.” I have to admit that one caught me sort of off guard. Granola is another word with a bit of a different meaning these days. Granola isn’t just a breakfast cereal or snack bar these days. According to the Urban Dictionary, it’s also an adjective for a person who is “a new-age/more civilized hippie who can be found journaling in an Eno in the middle of the forest, wearing Chacos, Birkenstocks and athletic shorts (always ready to hike or go on an adventure at any moment), and a backpack with a CamelBak water bottle attached with a carabiner”.
OK, enough of that. So here’s how the weekend went down…
A couple of weeks ago Jenna asked if we would take her and several of her friends camping for a weekend down at Chattahoochee Bend State Park. I told her “sure” and we began making plans. Jenna and I made a trip down to the park a couple of weekends ago to check out the campsites in the various camping areas and decided that we wanted to stay in the West Platform Campsites which work well for tents and has plenty of trees for hammocks too.
Over the course of the next two weeks, as I suspected might happen, the group dwindled down to just two in addition to Jenna….
We found out last week that we couldn’t reserve a campsite for less than two nights. Friday night when I checked Georgia State Parks reservation website there were still three campsites out of eight available so I loaded up the truck and headed down early Saturday morning to make sure we got a site. Fortunately I was able to grab a couple of sites and got our tents set up. Yes, I said tents. I slept in a tent instead of a hammock. Call it taking one for the team. ConnieLou and the pups were sleeping in one of the tents and I knew she was likely to need a little help with them…OK, and I help balance out the air mattress.
Setting up the tents was a bit of an adventure. Our big family tent is 17 feet long and the tent platforms are 16 feet by 16 feet. You do the math. It was a bit awkward but I got it set up, more or less on the platform.
I encountered the opposite problem with the smaller tent. I haven’t set this one up before and didn’t realize that the ends needed to be staked (not so with the big tent). Since the park rangers frown on driving nails into the platforms, I had to put on my MacGyver hat and come up with an alternate solution.
Our neighbors for the weekend were a local Boy Scout troop and a couple of younger couples. For the most part the Scouts were pretty good neighbors. The boys did get a bit out of hand a couple of times, running through others’ campsites and getting the dogs riled up…but a short discussion with an assistant Scoutmaster put a swift stop to that.
I pretty much had our campsites situated when ConnieLou arrived with the girls and the pups. Camping is nothing new for Sophie, our older dog…
But was an entirely new adventure for our younger dog, Lyla. Fortunately she did pretty well over the weekend
Jenna and her friends decided that they wanted to camp in their hammocks rather than in the tent so they hung their gear up in a small group of trees.
With camp situated, the girls wanted to hike up the River Trail to the observation tower. The tower is about a mile upriver from the trailhead and the walk path is nearly pancake flat. We took our time and found a geocache or two along the way…
It was mighty nice to hunt for ammo cans in the woods instead of the urban caches I’ve seen so many of lately.
We enjoyed some time at the observation tower before heading back to the campsite for supper.
What would a good ‘ol fashioned camping trip be without cooking hot dogs on a stick over a campfire? Honestly, it would be most of our camping trips…but we were trying to keep this one as simple as possible so hot dogs cooked over the campfire and chips were on the menu.
We found out a bit too late that hot dogs didn’t agree with one of the girls but she had already solved the problem by bringing a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Chick-Fil-A chicken reheated over a campfire apparently is pretty tasty too!
S’mores for dessert were a big hit…
As the evening grew long everyone decided to get ready for bed. Apparently glow necklaces and bracelets are required for bed.
While the girls talked themselves out, ConnieLou and I spent some time out on the ‘porch’ in front of the big tent before turning in ourselves…
Sunday morning was spent sleeping in, eating a quick Pop Tart and granola bar breakfast then packing up to head home. After a bit of a whirlwind Saturday I think I could have handled a couple more days in the woods to chill out and relax a bit.