Big Creek Camping
In August of 2002, we went to North Carolina for a bit of a vacation before seminary classes started for me and school started for Stewart. We had only been camping a couple of times during the summer, so we wanted to camp. I talked to my parents, and they agreed to camp with us at Big Creek, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, we headed to North Carolina, stayed at Mom and Dad's for one night, and then headed for the campground.
We got to the campground just in time; there were only two spots left. We set up camp in a really nice spot next to the creek. We found out later that the only reason the spot was empty was that the rangers kicked a rowdy group out of it a few hours earlier. After we set up our tents, we headed up the Big Creek Trail toward Midnight Hole. Midnight Hole is a deep, crystalline pool of icy water at the base of a small waterfall. There are some huge rocks beside the waterfall that are suitable for jumping into the pool. I didn't have my swimming trunks, so I didn't swim, but the water sure did look inviting. Dad, Stewart, and I continued up the trail to Mouse Creek Falls, and Mom and Crystal went back to camp. Mouse Creek Falls was beautiful even though it was not at full flow. The water level in all the creeks was pretty low, probably because of the time of year.
We finished drinking in the view of the waterfall and headed back down the trail to camp. We sat around the campfire reading, writing, and listening to the insects and rushing creek. We soon discovered that we had very interesting neighbors. They had brought a drum to camp, and the little boy kept stripping all his clothes off and running around naked. I'm not sure if they were nudists or if there were other factors in play.
The next day, we had a leisurely breakfast and then hiked back up the Big Creek Trail. I got some good photos of Mouse Creek Falls, one of my goals for the trip, and we sat at the falls for a while enjoying the peace and quiet.
We hiked back and had lunch, and then we went down to the creek at the campground. Mom and Dad swam a little, and we all sat around just reading, relaxing, and taking pictures for most of the rest of the day. We had smores and hot dogs for supper; camping just wouldn't be camping without those things.
The next day we packed up and headed back to Kentucky. The trip had been short but immensely relaxing. I had gotten some much needed nature time and a respite from our hectic schedule.