I am writing it down as a right of passage. Demolition D will be 17 the next time this break comes along. I doubt he will spend it with us. Well maybe if it is a week at the beach or some fancy sort of vacation. But I know the days of taking him along with us on quiet, peaceful (translated: boring) vacations are slim.
And while he was eager to leave a day earlier than us, I hear through the grapevine that he arrived home saying what a great time he had....
We, more appropriately Will, has had a project for the last 2 1/2 years: repairing a '72 AirStream. Finally the power is all working, the water hoses/pipes are repaired and pumps working, floors repaired. After a practice run a few weeks earlier, our Land Yaucht made its family camping trip with us.
We didn't venture too far away. We headed to a great Corp of Engineer campground about 90 miles from home. Rood Creek is a wonderful find that hubby has fished at over the years. It is in the middle no where, a dirt road leading into a quiet world of fishermen and gators, Indian lore and Big Foot tales.
For a week leading up to the trip, the boys listened to tales I read off the internet about Big Foot sightings in the area. I down played the number of alligators Will and I saw last time we camped here, so we entered this world with concern on Demolition D's part and adventure on The Man's.
There are no reservations for this campground. There is no running water (besides the creek) or electricity for that matter. So it is a first come first serve campground. We picked our site by the best view.
We settled in. I continued my Sasquatch watch as the boys continued their mantra "mom, there is no such thing." Geeeeee, where is their sense of adventure?
Bright and early the first morning, Will and The Man were up bright and early. When I emerged from our Tin Can, the canoe was already out and the fishing was on.
Have you ever heard of jug fishing? We had not before our last trip here. What you do is you save those 2 liter soda bottles. Add a little water, top them off and then wrap several feet of fishing line on the neck. Attach a hook and weight (maybe do that first, before wrapping - I don't really know, I wasn't around for that part). Then you take the jugs and place them along a stretch of the bank and leave them. On a good fishing day, you might have to chase the jugs.
On a not so good fishing day, the jugs just kinda float there.
But several hours later I looked up and a jug was moving. There was a comedy about this... hard to explain, but it was funny watching that one jug bobbing away from the others. We let The Man know he had a bite. He paddled over and pulled up a catfish . . .
Now I mentioned the alligators. My first trip (the only one previous to this one) here was two years ago. Will and I came alone while the boys took a trip with their dad for spring break. I did not know at that time about the alligators. I ASSUMED there were these reptiles, I can't imagine a body of water this far south NOT having any. Anyway, our first time out in the canoe I spotted something floating. Will watched. I watched. We decided it was a log. A minute or so went by, I glanced back over and the log was gone. Ummmm, no log!
A little later we had the fearful fun (yikes) I watching a HUGE gator casually swim down the middle of the creek. Fishermen watched and gator just leisurely stayed to himself.
With this experience we were ready to see some gators. But surprisingly we didn't . Well except one.
See this picture?
This is a stretch where the creek divided and narrowed. The Man and I decided to paddle in just a bit. Then I decided we needed to paddle a little further to see what was around the next bend. And then just a little further.
Your eyes can play tricks on you...The Man told me to look to the left, there was a gator. I did not see it.
He said, "There! You can see the white of its belly..."
Me, "That's not a gator, that is pillow some left"
At that moment, probably 5 feet behind that pillow an alligator popped up on all fours. He did not slide into the water like we have seen before, he bounded in and he smacked his long tail.
I do not panic in most situations, this one included. I strongly told The Man to paddle smoothly backwards and for us to get that canoe turned around and we were getting out of there. I may not have panicked and The Man might tell you that he was not scared one bit, but my heart was pumping and his eyes were big as saucers and that alligator was probably just as startled having had his sunbathing time interrupted.
Talking to a fisherman the next day, he was astonished that we had only seen one alligator in our time there. We were too. Part of the fun with this campground was meeting and visiting with many folks fishing. One lady that was bank fishing shared with us the reason we were not seeing many alligators - a group, I assume associated with the Department of Natural Resources, came in the end of the year and removed around 200 and relocated them somewhere else. 200?? Glad they did. I would have never dreamed there would have been that many. Probably before I go any further, I need to say, I am not a bad mom, alligators are a part of the water system here. The local area where everyone water skis and plays on wake boards is full of them too. If you leave them alone, they leave you alone. We are cautious and aware . . .
I just knew after this Demolition D would not get in the canoe at all. But he did. He took me for a boat ride to some Indian Mounds in the area. And raced to get back so he could get on the road, back to civilization ...and to see his girlfriend.
We had a great time. The battery in the camper provided enough juice to have lights at night. The water pump held up well and we had running water from the water containers - even got to take showers - see, we weren't roughing it too much. We had fun hearing tales from folks that have camped and fished there for years. And finally, Big Foot? Well, no sightings. No tracks. But it is amazing how a rabbit out of no where can make you wanna run . . .