Monday, July 20, 2009

Gee Creek Camping, here we come!

We left after my interview on Friday morning. I think I was so excited that I really didn't want to wait any longer.

So, we loaded up the truck with everything. Who would have thought that everything would fill up the bed of a full size pickup truck. Even the backseat was full!

We finally leave and realize that we forgot the plates. Ok, stop in Benton at Fred's, get plates and bowls. Got overcharged and had to wait for that to be fixed. Realized we forgot the hotdogs, go across the street to the IGA. We tend to forget that just a 20 miles outside of Cleveland that the culture is just a bit different. Saying uncivilized isn't nice, but very close.

Chuck went into the IGA, 2 men in front of him was having problems with the credit card machine and the cashier had no clue how to work it either. So, he calls the manager to help him. This isn't the worst of what Chuck witnessed. The next man gets to the cashier, pays with a $20, the cashier looked at him and said (no lie) "I ain't got no change." Call the manager again. Chuck gets up there and they overcharged him .80 for the hotdogs. OK, no biggie, this would have caused all kinds of problems and he decided not to worry about it. If the cashier doesn't know how to work a credit card machine, doesn't know how to speak correctly, then he wasn't going to worry about the money. Finally we get going, this should have been a sign of the way the rest of the day was going to be.

We arrived around 12:15 at Gee Creek and find a spot that we all could agree on. Now, I wanted a spot that was secluded and closer to the river, away from everything. That is the reason we went camping. Chuck picks the one closer the the bathrooms and I am glad he did. I hit the showers first and I don't have to start the truck in the middle of the night to find the bathroom. The only problem with this site, the camp next to us filled up with about 40 people and 8 is the maximum.

We get the truck unloaded.

Chuck and I get the tent set up and then fill the air mattresses. Yes, I know I was supposed to be "roughing" it, but if I have to sleep outside, it will be in comfort!

This was the view that I was forced to look at while here.

So, we get the tent set up, filled the mattresses, get everything made up and eat lunch.
The very first thing that the boys want to do is head to the river. Change clothes and head out to the Hiwassee River for some swimming.

The water was amazingly clear and so very cold. This lovely babbling river was perfect. Flat rocks to skip across the river, minnows and baby trout swimming close to the dock. It was so shallow that we could walk across the river if we wanted to. The rocks hurt! So we set up the chairs to relax and enjoy it.

We headed back to camp and the boys played on the playground, yes, Eric rode the ladybug. After loading the truck, unloading the truck, setting up camp, we sat back and relaxed for a while before getting dinner going. The boys wanted to head back to the river, so we let them for a little while. Eric took off with his bike, PJ walked beside him as they went down for a swim.

We sat back listening to our MP3 players and just enjoyed the quietness of nature. I decided to take a nice little walk, you know, check on the boys. This is where the day turns upside down for me.

Now some of you know bits and pieces of the story, but I will give you now the full account, as best as I can remember.

I head to the river and notice that the water had risen to a degree that was much higher and way faster than what I seen before. The currents were rushing faster than what I expected. I see that Eric's bike is out there by the tree, but neither boy is to be found. I yell and yell for them, but get nothing in return.

I hop on Eric's bike and race back to camp. Trust me, by the time I got back to camp, I was sucking wind! I was going as fast as my legs would take me, they gave out once on me, but I had to get there as fast as I could. I get back to tell Chuck, and this is what I get, "Calm down dear, they are fine. Don't worry about it." He doesn't know what I saw, and he didn't realize that I didn't take Eric's bike. Hence, I am going for a walk. He wanted to head back to see if we could find them. We did and nothing, no sounds, no one that was our children. I headed up the one trail, praying all the way, Please God don't take them from me now, and I don't know where Chuck went to, but all I know is that I came out of the trail and there was Chuck, "get in the truck." By now I am a nervous wreck, trying not to cry, but sometimes that doesn't work well.

We head to the Ranger's Station and Chuck explains to them what happened. She came out asking for descriptions, I can't even describe how I felt giving descriptions of my boys to someone. We described them and the search began.

We check the site, no boys, and head out to the river, no one there either. Once all the rangers were filled in, we had people asking us if they could help locate the boys. Now, at this point, I wasn't going to be any help to anyone, so the people stayed with me, and the others went on the search. This one woman got on her bike and was calling their names. Chuck was right behind her and he heard PJ laughing. All I remember is hearing that they found them, not yet knowing if they were ok or not, I had to ask that. A sense of relief washed over me that I nearly passed out. The Ranger told us they had to get a boat to get them, the water wasn't deep at all.

They were close to land, but just couldn't find a place that they couldn't climb up and get out. When Chuck took me to the spot, we had some kids offer to go in and show them how to get out. But since we already had the Rangers out looking for them, we told them that we appreciated it, but no. The next thing I remember is the boys coming down the path, right to the boat ramp to me. I couldn't be more relieved!

As we found out from Eric, PJ wanted to go swimming. We know that Eric would not swim in that water, he would have gone hiking instead. But, PJ being head strong, insisted that they go swimming. He lost his boogie board, because he did not want to put it on his wrist, then his shoe came off because he didn't want to put his Crocs on the right way, floated under a log and it was then that Eric realized that he had to save his brother. Eric was more concerned about saving PJ and not himself. He knew we would come, but they kept walking until they got to a point that they could climb and find a way out.

For me, this was an ordeal that I don't ever want to go through and I hate that any mother ever had to go through a missing child. It felt as if a part of me was torn out. The most horrific experience ever in my life.

Thankfully our boys are fine and only a few bruises and scratches. Mostly on Eric, but still, that is all that happened to them.

We headed back to camp for some dinner and relaxing after the ordeal. Chuck and Eric headed out after dinner for some firewood. We didn't see the pits when we came out to check out the sites, if we did, we would have packed wood with us.

Now I mentioned marshmallows to Chuck, I love roasted marshmallows and never cooked them over an open campfire, so, I was excited about him picking them up. They were out!

We got a small fire going and really enjoyed the it while resting. And then Chuck comes out around the corner with marshmallows on a stick!! I was so excited!

Early bed time for all of us, it was that kind of day! Sometime during the night, I couldn't sleep. I already had to go to the bathroom, and was cold. So while trying to fall back to sleep I was looking at the stars through the tent roof. Chuck insisted on not putting the canopy on, this may explain why I froze that first night. Around 4 or so, I heard the boys talking to each other, I made sure they knew it was too early and to go back to sleep.

I finally woke up around 7, hit the showers and start on our Saturday.


miltontorresok said...

@miltontorresok was in this page