Camping at Indian Boundary

Campfire

Last weekend, Chad, his wife Kate, and I headed up to Indian Boundary in Tellico to go camping.

I can’t say it didn’t start without its issues. Chad had been talking this up to a handful of people for about two months, trying to get people to respond (unfortunately I hadn’t really spread the word like I should have), haggling over a weekend that would work for everyone, and eventually (due to other circumstances) having people bail a week before.

Morale was a little low and stress was a bit high trying to get camp set up on Friday evening before dark. Chad and Kate’s new puppy Zoe was also a bit hard to handle, and so Chad ended up running Kate and Zoe back home late Friday night. (Leaving me tending to the fire for about two hours in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone signal and no car.) To be honest, if we’d had at least one more set of hands, I don’t think it would have been so bad.

Despite the rocky start, it was very relaxing. Most of my social activities–from simple trips up to Knoxville, to conventions like DragonCon, AWA, and MTAC, to walking around downtown St. Augustine and Disney–end up being indulgences into consumerism: if you’re not buying, you’re probably drooling over something you’d like to buy, or something you’ve already bought. Other than a trip to Gander Mountain for some minor camping gadgetry, there was barely a hint of that sort of thing.

Addtionally, no cell phone signal meant no contact with the outside world–so my hopes of twittering and checking email with my brand-new Blackberry Storm were shot. But I learned to embrace it. Trying to curb the itch to twitter every quirky detail of the trip (including, ironically, the fact that I didn’t have any signal) made me feel like the worst kind of attention whore. As I pointed out in my last post, you never realize how bad off you actually are until something forces you to reconsider it in a different light.

Indian Boundary

I also kept reconsidering a tweet I’d read earlier on Friday: “Was challenged by a friend this morning to not look at life as ‘Tweetable Moments’ but to be present and grateful.” There’s really no better place to force yourself to stop worrying or pushing yourself and just be present than half an hour from civilization, up in the mountains, with no cell phone signal–only the distant, frightening sound of banjos.

There’s also something about being able to fend for yourself–well, as much as you can call what we did fending for ourselves. Between Chad and I, we were able to keep a small fire going for most of the cooking. And honestly, I think we went overboard on cooking. Kate prepared salmon with lemon and thyme for Friday night and chicken in Italian dressing for Saturday’s lunch; I prepared some beer-marinated steak and veggies for Saturday’s dinner. Very delicious stuff, but Chad kept griping about how we couldn’t just do something simple like hot dogs.

Also, Chad packed a very small flask of Jagermeister, despite the “NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES” signs posted everywhere. I’ve discovered that I find it fairly delicious in small quantities when served extremely cold.

Trying to plan a bigger camping trip was a nice idea, but there’s something to be said for the autonomy in a very small group. Had we had several more people, there’d have been much to-do made over getting people motivated on the same schedule and making sure no one felt left out. I spent most of the morning wandering around the 3.2 mile trail that loops around the lake by myself. A good portion of the trail is far away from the main boating, swimming, and camping areas, and it’s very beautiful out there.

Having completely forgotten the memory card for my camera, I decided to try out the Storm’s camera, which I really like. I’m still getting the hang of the settings, but I think I may prefer it to my digital camera, even if it doesn’t have anywhere near the same number of megapixels. The photos are up on Flickr as well as this site.

Later, I walked the trail again with Chad. So all told, I probably walked about 8 miles on Saturday. There was some talk about planning a backpacking trip, but I suspect we’ll get even less interest on that one.

And the weather was great all weekend, save for an untimely rainstorm on Sunday that turned a packing job of a few hours into a 15 minute rush to stuff everything in the car and get the heck out of there.