The girls and I finally made our way back to Nashville from the beach again this past weekend. We were lucky enough to spend majority of the beginning of the coronavirus quarantine at my family’s beach house in South Carolina, and Ivy and Sierra were living their best lives playing on the beach every morning! But, reality has set back in and we needed to head home to Nashville to check on my house/make sure my plants were alive/switch out my clothing options from the 5 outfits I had packed three months prior.
It’s a 9ish hour drive back to Nashville from the beach, so I decided to split it up and spend one night camping along the TN/NC border near the Smoky Mountains! Now, dogs aren’t allowed in the GSM National Park (I wish, though!) so any hiking and camping we do in the area is in national forest land that borders the National Park. We headed to one of our absolute favorite spots because the weather was supposed to be clear as can be all night, and into the next day as well.
We got there just as the sun was setting - it was a picture perfect sunset, but I was too busy getting the tent set up to take any photos (I know, I should’ve chosen to use the last bit of light for photos and dealt with setting the tent up in the dark later). I recently added a 3 person tent to
my collection (the REI half dome 3 person) and the girls love all the extra room! It’s beyond easy to set up, so thankfully it only took a few minutes. I let the girls play along the grassy ridge line for a bit (thank you, ecollar lights) and then we settled down for the night. I positioned my tent with a view of the sunrise directly in front of it and slept with the rain fly off so we could wake up to the bright rising sun in the morning.
Ivy of course went right to sleep because she loves sleeping in the tent more than anything. Sierra was more entertained by the other campers in the area - every time she would settle down, somebody would make some noise of course and wake her right back up. Pro tip - don’t howl at the moon if you’re a person and don’t want Sierra to bark her head off at you in the dark. Lesson learned, random dude across the ridge I will probably never meet again. She may be little, but she sounds fierce!
The morning light started to slowly peek in around 5:30am, but it was muted by a layer of mist. I was hopeful the mist would disappear to reveal the layers of blue and green mountains from our 360 degree viewpoint, but of course the weather app lied to us yet again, and instead all we got was fog. Seriously - I checked my weather app in the small area of service I had up there, and it said clear and sunny; except when you look up from your phone, you can barely see 20 feet in front of you through the fog. There’s a reason they call them the Smoky Mountains!
Nonetheless, I took the girls up the trail for a short hike that morning, hoping when we returned the weather would pass and we’d get the pretty views I was hoping for. Four miles later, zero luck, still 100% fog. At first I was disappointed, but after watching Ivy and Sierra continue to play chase and wrestle in the dew and damp grass, frolicking across the overgrown ridge line and rolling in all the smells that the fog brought, my disappointment passed. They don’t give two hoots about the weather, or the views, or if something is “insta-worthy” or not. They only care about experiencing the now; that’s something I’m trying to do more of, and not worry about whether our “now” is aesthetic enough for Instagram. Their happiness matters more to me than anything in this world, so why should I let myself be down about one small piece when in the grand scheme of it, they’re having fun no matter what? It’s a work in progress, but every moment like this one reminds me all I could ever need is right in front of me - they’re my favorite view of all.
PS - when we got back to the car to head out, Sierra had a stowaway slug stuck on the fluff on the top of her head. Typical Sierra!