I have to say this weekend was a very enjoyable one.
First of all – it was time once again to make a trip to Charlotte, NC for the Cheesecake Factory and the REI store. Charlotte is slightly farther from my house than Columbia, SC, but not as far as Myrtle Beach. The drive gives me the fascinating chance to see some backwater middle-of-nowhere towns that time forgot. Its amazing when you see a new, nice home surrounded on all sides by ramshackle housing. It begs the point, why? I guess some people don’t care about what their neighbors are like as long as they are happy. Who am I to judge?
It started with a trip to North Lake Mall. It’s a nice place to go, if you can handle malls. It’s always busy, too, and very…diverse. I didn’t know male cross dressers came in “Goth” style, but apparently they do. I tried to get pictures, but they wouldn’t come out of the purse store. There are also lots of foreign-speaking people. I’m not sure what draws this crowd to this area, but it never fails to surprise. After spending 12 hours on the couch outside the abercrombie store, my daughter emerged with a new wardrobe. We left for REI, seeing as how she spent the mall budget for the month.
REI is a great place. Everything you need for camping and hiking and fishing. A real outdoor shop, not like Dick’s that pretends to be an outdoor shop, but has golf and baseball clothes. My daughter has expressed an interest in hiking. However, before pulling out $130 for a backpack (she wants it because of the 50 cent plastic flower on the back, and the color is nice), and another $150 for a two-man tent, I’m strongly considering some “car camping” in a local state park. For those of you camping muggles, Car Camping is where you drive up to a campsite, set your tent up right next to the car, and stay within visual sight of it for most of the trip. This is opposed to backpacking or backcountry camping, where you are lucky if you can find your way back to the car the next day without a map. Car Camping allows for larger, heavier (read: cheaper) material and supplies to be utilized. My $60 two-man wal-mart dome tent could never be backpacked. It weighs more than my pack, is too large to fit in it, and I’m not sure it would hold up to a fierce rainstorm. Hence the car serves as backup. The car will also hold a cooler, which provides for cold drinks, cold meat products such as hamburgers or steaks, and an assortment of other camping luxuries.
So – I’ve put her backpack on hold until she gets a few car camps under her belt. I did pick up a windscreen for my cooker, and a sack of freeze-dried lasagna for myself. I thought it would come in handy the following day, but you must read on…
So we proceeded to South Park Mall. Its the expensive one… they have Tiffany’s and Neiman Marcus. The first one being an overpriced jewelry store where they never open the doors and sometimes have all the shades pulled. The second being an overpriced Dillards where all the clothes have ridiculous prices like $850 for a Hawaiian shirt, and $2500 for a little jacket. It’s fun to laugh at the prices. They were on more crack than Whitney Houston where their pricing was concerned.
We found a new store by Dick’s. “The Container Store”. It is just what it says it is. If you need something to put something in, go here. The size of a dollar tree, but full of containers for every possible need and desire.
Afterwards, it was Cheesecake Factory time. A great place to go… once in a while. Take your typical Outback meal… and double the price. So it’s not somewhere to go every weekend, but it is wonderful when you go.
The following morning, it being Sunday (my traditional hiking day because there’s nothing else interesting to do on Sunday and stuff is closed until 1:30 because our state still exists in the Stone Age), I planned a hiking trip. I was trying to get a little elevation change in my routine this time, so I went to 40 Acre Rock. It is a short walk, but provides for some pretty strenuous elevation changes in parts.
Like always, I invited Angie, and to my shock and awe she said “yes, I’ll go”. After she did CPR and revived me, we packed a lunch and headed up there. I told her it was about 2 miles round trip. I failed to mention the 200 foot walk up the side of the hill. Maybe on purpose.
So we got to the parking lot and she put on her pack, and I hoisted “the beast” onto my back with all my crap in it. The walk in wasn’t too bad, until we got to the hill. I got her to the top and we had lunch. Once there, we laid out and ate lunch, at which time Angie announced that she could check hiking off a list of experiences to have. She was done with this. Oh well. I tried.
After a rest we continued across the rock face, so much easier in the spring than in the boiling heat of mid summer like I’m used to. I could see so much more, too. We hurried on across and down to the waterfall, which was actually running. Its very temperamental and only runs during recent rain. I remember the falls being much more energetic as a kid. I wonder if somewhere upstream the water has been diverted or damned up, but unfortunately you can’t really go upstream very far before the brush is too thick. Although if you get above the falls you can see the old path the water took as it wore down the rock.
The hike out was easy as pie. After all, it’s all downhill from that point, following the stream. We stopped where I slid accidentally down the mountain some six or so years ago, to take one last picture before heading out.
It was too late before I realized you aren’t allowed to place geocaches here, so I will be returning sooner than I thought.