We made it back from the camping trip with nothing put a set of sore legs, a half eaten box of oatmeal and some good memories. I don’t believe I’ve really spent a whole weekend vacation with my mother and brothers in the five years since I graduated from high school, and so it was good to have the whole family together in my old stomping ground in the western part of our state with nothing on the agenda at all.
After much coaxing, I was able to get the group to set off on a hike of the Boone Fork Trail — a five mile loop that should take two to three hours. During the first three hours we tried unsuccessfully to find a spur trail off of the loop that would lead us to a waterfall / rock formation we had only driven to before.
Then Zachary, my 19-year-old brother, disappeared up the side of a mountain and into the woods. We didn’t think much of it for a while and continued on down the trail, but after 30 minutes or so when he didn’t show up, we began to get worried and set off looking for him.
By this time we had given up on finding our missing waterfalls and were just hoping to find Zach and get back to camp before nightfall. Jacob and I set off into the woods about 1/4 mile from the spot on the trail where we lost Zach, hoping we would head him off. He heard us calling for him and shouted back. He had no idea how he’d done it, but while trying to find the trail again, Zachary stumbled into the rock formation we’d spent all day looking for. The boys played around some and then we got back to camp just in time to get a fire and supper started before the sun set — six hours after we’d started our hike.
Earlier in the day, Kristen and I set out on a hunt for breakfast. I decided not to tell Kristen what we were doing and just lead a walk from our campsite alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway and into Blowing Rock, where we had a formal brunch in the outdoor garden of The Village Cafe. Our smelly camp clothes stood out in sharp contrast to the waitstaff and tourists that sat around us, but after walking more than five miles to get to our table, we felt like we deserved a good breakfast just as much as the next guy.
As far as photographs went on this trip, I was pretty captivated with the cloudy skies over the mountains at every vista. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to shoot the mountains in sunny weather and generally tried to avoid taking the camera out in the rainy months. After the first night, we never had much rain on this trip but the scattered cloud cover hung over us the entire weekend, creating some neat sunburst scenes and really providing a powerful atmosphere that matched the prominence of the landscape.