The Family Adult Privileges Act: As Enacted with Teens


My first summer as a single parent was already sweltering upon me when my two teen sons heatedly approached me one morning to proclaim,

“Mom, we’re tired of you treating us like kids. We want adult responsibilities.”

Rushed to get my toddler to pre-school and myself to a meeting, I agreed to give their request some thought and get back to them about it that evening at dinner. I then found myself wrestling with their request the rest of the day, recognizing that they already had so much more expected of them than many young people their age. As I inventoried the situation, I at least felt relieved that sports and work schedules lessened their time for certain other extracurricular activities, but I also knew that summer still afforded them too much time on their hands. It took quite a bit of reflection before I was ready to decisively act. However, by dinnertime that evening, I realized they had actually assisted me in being more prepared to become a change agent of our household in granting their request.

As we sat down to dinner, my teens immediately broached the subject, again complaining that I didn’t trust them and treated them like kids. They reminded me that it was time for them to transition into adulthood, to which I reluctantly agreed – then asked them to wait until after dinner for a family meeting.

The meeting began with me facing two very smug looking young men, prepared to be victorious, as they confirmed their request for adult responsibilities and watched as I slowly, yet somewhat sadly, nodded my head in agreement. From there, I proceeded to hand them each a list of adult responsibilities that I thought they should consider, officially posting the master copy to the refrigerator. I watched as their expressions completely changed to shock upon a quick review of this task list of adult responsibilities. It consisted of things such as doing the grocery shopping, making family meals every third day, paying for a portion of the mortgage and utilities, making a plan to set back their boarding expenses for college, transporting their younger brother to daycare, and buying their own clothing. These were in addition to the expectations they already had upon them, such as making their own car payments, mowing the lawn, and doing their own laundry.

My oldest nearly stuttered his words, “Mom, this is not what we meant, and you know it.”

I’m sure my look was quite smug at that point as I reiterated,

“No, what you meant is that you wanted adult privileges. But you have to be willing to accept adult responsibilities in order to experience adult privileges.”

Obviously, the Family Adult Privileges Act underwent some major re-negotiations at the table that night; however, we walked away with a working document by which all agreed they could live. Of course, everything continued to change as these young men truly did continue transitioning into manhood and out of the house; yet that Act still comes up quite frequently in conversation among our extended family members.

My young men have now experienced the dreadfulness of failures when undertaking some adult responsibilities, as well as the need for balance in experiencing adult privileges. They now understand the importance in differences between the two, as well as how the two so closely correlate.

And I now understand this may have been the greatest leadership moment of my life in enacting my own adult responsibility as a parent, privileged to assist my children in their transition to adulthood.


SuperMom: The Next Generation


Trifecta’s at it again with another Trifextra Weekend Challenge:

This weekend we’re having some fun with the prompt, some super-powered fun, that is. We’re asking you to write the origin story to the superhero of your choice in exactly 33 words.

I’m not expecting my Superheroine to be original, by any means — but, boy, can I surely relate to the demands placed upon her better than any other! I hear she’s booking a vacation to another Universe this weekend! Happy travels, Super Mom!

Here are a few more SuperTrifectaPowers you might want to tap into:

This weekend’s challenge is community judged.
  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link.  To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone. Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don’t tell them to vote on a number.  The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
  • You have 14 hours to vote.  It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
Also, I’d like to credit these sites with their superhero skillz (with a “z”):
 Supermom logo:
 Supermom caricature:


The smell was noticeable – undeniably so. His nostrils tingled from it, as sharp as his mind had been as a young boy when he’d first encountered it and learned to thirst for it. It caused the hair on his arms to stand, as if they were rejoicing together in chorus. He took three steps and looked up from the middle of his barren field, into the heavens. When the first ping splashed off the deep crease in his forehead, he tilted his head back and closed his eyes, spreading his calloused hands as wide as the smile on his face, to catch the next few that followed. A sweet minty smell lingered, then the musty odor of geosmin throughout the damp earth rose up the moment his knees hit the ground. Behind shaded eyelids, his gratitude reverberated in a dance that kept time to the cadence of the rainfall. He envisioned lush green shades of certainty surrounding him, regardless of the direction he turned, replacing the dull, dried, cracking brown of a less embraced reality. He sucked in a deep, meditative breath to cleanse his parched soul.

“Alvin! Alvin!” He heard the familiar cry of his name, repeated again and again, as it resonated first from the porch, growing all the way to the field. “Al-vin!”

He didn’t open his eyes and look up at her until he felt her approach lightly disturb the soil. That is, after all, how he had processed everything that he held dear for his entire life – according to its interaction with the earth. He was a farmer by blood and trade, after all.

“I know, Bertha. I know,” he smiled, watching as she waved the television remote control around in her hand. “I heard it too. The weatherman said there’d be no chance of it today…or tomorrow…or for weeks to come for all he could tell.”

“He was still swearin’ by that, too, as my feet hit the porch, Alvin. Says there’s no sign of rain in sight, maybe for months to come. What if it’s just…?”

“Shush, now, woman,” he chuckled, pulling her down next to him, as though they were as young as the day they first came out into this field together. Of course, the corn stalks were much higher and better at concealing their secrets in those days. “Let’s be careful of the voices we choose to hear, what say?”

He was discerning enough to recognize that a couple of splashes trickling down his wife’s face were warmer than the rest. He smelled their saltiness, too, as he nuzzled in and kissed both her cheeks while she stared up at a large cloud cover sitting squarely on top of them, with a deluge pouring down from the heavens – in just the right amount. The floodgates that opened weren’t so heavy to swamp their field; and they weren’t so spate to prevent the ground from soaking up the refreshing nourishment.

“Oh, Alvin. I’m so ashamed that I didn’t come out here with you today, especially after comin’ all those others. It just got to be…so tough, day after heat-filled day, to watch our crops drying up, with nary an answer on the horizon. But you…you remained faithful…”

“Didn’t I always tell you I would, woman?” His good-natured laughter lit up his leathery face.

“Yes, but…oh, you know what I mean!” She pushed against his chest in a mixture of flirtatiousness and embarrassment.

“It’s the exact same thing, Bertha – as with you and me. Don’t ya’ see? We’ve had our dry spells – but that didn’t keep me from comin’ out here every single day and doin’ what had to be done. And we’ve had our times of plenty – but that didn’t once cause me to go searchin’ somewhere else to spend my time than right here where I was meant to be. When I promised to be faithful to you…to us…watchin’ over and workin’ this land was all a part of that deal.”

“But I promised to be by your side. And I wasn’t today, was I…when your prayer got answered? I was inside, givin’ up; listenin’ to what some stranger had to say ‘bout the matter; believin’ him instead of what I promised to do – to be faithful.” She hung her head in shame.

He lifted her chin and gave her nose a playful tweak. “Ah now, woman, you weren’t too awfully far away, were ya’? I could still smell your gardenias out by the front porch. And I could smell that apple pie you were bakin’ in the kitchen. Beyond that, I caught a whiff of your chickens in their coop just before I felt that first drop of rain. Oh, and you left your laundry on the line….”

He pulled her back towards him as she looked towards her clothesline in distress. “Relax. We’ll gather it all up later, like we always do.”

“Do you ever miss a thing, Alvin? Anything at all?”

“Just one, Bertha. You – when you’re not around. But, I swear I believe I could hear ya’ callin’ my name all the way from two towns over if you needed me. You’re that much a part of me, woman. How much more faithfulness could a man stand?”

“Well, now that we’re soaked to the bone, would you care to come in and get some of that apple pie that’s coolin’ by the oven?”

“That’s what I love ’bout you most, Bertha. You’re such a temptress. And now that you smell like a mix of my God-given earth and this life-givin’ rain, I swear I won’t be able to resist anything you’re willin’ to offer.” He lifted his eyebrows twice over the twinkle in his old, gray eyes.

Bertha giggled like a school girl when she said, “Alvin, do you recall the first time we ever came out into this field together?”

“Forget that apple pie, Bertha. Let’s work us up a recipe for some mud pies instead…”


I ran across this site in my blogging travels and decided I needed to try it on for size. The size is 1,000 words (or less), which this post is exactly to the word count. (No, I’m not OCD. Okay, maybe a little, but only on specific occasions, when I’m not being ADD or any vast number of other in vogue acronyms.)

This challenge features a dual prompt which includes, for this week, a picture of a remote control and a first writing line that must read (I’ll bet you can guess this): “The smell was noticeable.” Other than that, I just know it has to be posted between Tuesday and Wednesday and must be either fiction or poetry. As is my custom, I never allow myself to read others’ work before submitting my own, so I’m uncertain as to the types of submissions to expect here. Nor can I guarantee that it falls into the category of being “more interesting than what’s on basic cable,” as “non-reality” television and Dateline repeating the same murder scenarios with different names has long exhausted my own interest. (Did that sound TV-snobbery enough for a writing community? Boy, I hope so! Just kidding!) 😉

So I’m thinking, let’s give this thing a whirl, what say?


Weekly Photo Challenge: HOME – Permit Me a Voyage

The WordPress Weekly Challenge has asked for a share that evokes HOME, whether the representation is literal or abstract.

Home is more often a concept concerning our personal identity that we carry with us wherever we go, even once the memory of a specific place might otherwise have faded, growing dark and hazy. Still, we find commonalities with others when comparing our memories of home life. Sharing experiences, such as a book or a poem or a song, can spark connections (and even serve to make new memories).


Here’s a writing I’d like to share from my home area, if you’ll permit me.

Permit Me (a) Voyage (from The Third Voyage of Hart Crane) is a poem by James Agee, a fellow mountaineer from Tennessee (now gone from this world), who is likely best known for “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” – a significant literary document about three impoverished sharecropper families during the Great Depression.

Agee’s poem gets a cameo role in my own writingAt the Water’s Edge, when Wil and Danielle are sharing a moment about forced memorization of their regions’ poets in their earlier school years. Though their regions were countries apart, they can relate to this common experience (just as some of you may). She can’t recite the poem in its entirety, but she makes the mistake (or is it a Freudian slip?) of mentioning that she can still recall the final line. I’ll save that for after you get a chance to read the poem for yourself.


Permit Me Voyage

Take these who will as may be: I
Am careless now of what they fail:
My heart and mind discharted lie
And surely as the nerved nail

Appoints all quarters on the north
So now it designates him forth
My sovereign God my princely soul
Whereon my flesh is priestly stole:

Whence forth shall my heart and mind
To God through soul entirely bow,
Therein such strong increase to find
In truth as is my fate to know:

Small though that be great God I know
I know in this gigantic day
What God is ruined and I know
How labors with Godhead this day:

How from the porches of our sky
The crested glory is declined:
And hear with what translated cry
The stridden soul is overshined:

And how this world of wildness through
True poets shall walk who herald you:
Of whom God grant me of your grace
To be, that shall preserve this race.

Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands.


Back to a little awkward banter concerning Agee’s poem that’s taken place between Wil and Danielle:


“You said you remembered the last line too. What was it?”

She sighed in mock exasperation. “Doesn’t anything get past you Donnellys?” Her voice resonated with the panic she was feeling. Why had she even mentioned the final line? This was nobody’s fault but her own. She should’ve expected him to be this attentive after spending the day before with his ever-so-astute brother.

“Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands,” she hastily murmured, looking down at her fingers that were nervously wiggling and interlocking in her lap.

To assure her he’d heard every single syllable, he repeated the words – each with the same passionate enunciation he’d used at the waterfall while reciting Yeats, “Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands,” even adding an over-pronounced exhalation of breath at the end. His own hands locked tightly on the steering wheel as he drove further into Sligo, refusing himself access to his companion’s lovely (though now-scarlet) face. His stomach twisted into a small knot. Yet, he merely nodded casually, fighting an irresistible urge to allow the corners of his mouth to turn upward.

Lessons at the Dinner Table: Experimenting with Liquid Density vs. Viscosity

Come Visit our Dinner Table turned Homemade Science Lab to learn more about LIQUIDS!

Here’s a fun at-home science experiment for kids (okay, and adults) to consider the densities and viscosities of various liquids. I’ll give you the simplified kitchen version.

Liquid Density Science Experiment

Materials Needed:

  4 “shot” (small, clear) glasses:

 (1) ¾ full of room temperature water, colored with blue water-based food coloring

 (1) ¾ full of light corn syrup, colored with red “gel” food coloring (which also has corn syrup as base)

 (1) ¾ full of glycerin (from first aid section of drug store, which will have a clear color)

 (1) ¾ full of pure vegetable oil (which will have its own natural yellow color)
PLUS (1) taller clear juice glass, in which you’ll eventually pour all these liquids together.               



 Pour each liquid, slowly*, into the juice glass, one at a time, in this suggested order:

  1. Water
  2. Corn Syrup
  3. Glycerine
  4. Oil

 Wait a moment for the liquids to settle and layer out.  The more dense liquids will go to the bottom of the glass, and the less dense liquids will layer at the top of the glass.

(*I’ve done this in a mason jar & shaken it up too. Just realize that, if you choose this option, you’re going to be waiting awhile for things to settle out.)

 You can repeat the experiment, pouring the liquids into the glass in a different order.  Regardless, if you do the experiment properly, your layers should always come out the same.

(Note:  Some of the food coloring may slightly leak from one fluid to another because of the gel or water base in them, rather than the liquids themselves coming together.)



Can you tell which of your liquids is the most dense? 

 The least dense? 

 Is that what you expected, based on how thick (viscous) they were when you poured them?



To check your answers (and get a more comprehensive explanation + some other options to the experiment), review the slides below from my son’s 5th  grade science experiment that he conducted and the answers he discovered:

Comparing Liquid Viscosity to Density
Using the Scientific Method

(the beginning slide shares the same name as this title)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Thought it would also be fun to do a ping-back to the Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme this Week on Liquids, for all those submitting to contemplate on the viscosities of all their lovely fluid depictions.


How to: Submit Lessons at the Dinner Table to Share with Others

En-toe-taining Toesday

I’ve only been a part of this blogging community for a couple of months. That means I’ve finally set up my own house here, and now I’ve begun adventuring out into my community to get to know others better. Home, Sweet Home.

To do this, I’ve worked on a few enjoyable challenges lately and made some ‘get-to-know-you’ comments along the way; but this week, I’ve really spread my wings. I’ve come to find there are many engaging opportunities with open invitations to explore the possibilities. Beyond writing a haiku for The Cheeky Diva about LeClown’s great new haircut (read it here), I’ve also submitted a short story (then a poem on Take 2) for Traveling Marla (because I’m green with envy over her beautiful endless scarf – not really; I just did it for fun, but the scarf is lovely on her). My most triumphant feat (feet?), however, came when I shared a picture of my toes on toemail ! I found this idea, at first, to be so creative – to share places and experiences through toe shots; but then, as I looked over pictures I had taken of people, I realized how absolutely innovative it truly must be. Why, you ask? Because people don’t really care that much for toes & feet – these appendages get cropped out of a lot of pictures (at least, they do in mine)!

I just happened to have one (and apparently only one) that my sister snapped of me after I’d climbed some rocks to sit in one of my favorite places. I thought it was worth sharing the view. It’s at Fort Walton Beach in Florida (you can click here if you want to see it), which is a beautiful place. But that’s not really what I meant about my favorite place. I meant because I was hanging out at the water’s edge. It’s no great pic, to be certain, but I did like the way my feet looked like they’d been candy-coated in sugar (which is what those Gulf Shore sands remind me of). And I do always come back from there feeling a little sweeter! And, oh those beautiful emerald and turquoise waters…

 That picture reminded me that I do spend a lot of time at the water’s edge

(not only in real life, but often in my dreams and in my writings), so it’s not surprising that I would’ve been drawn to that same place for my first major writing project and would have given it that same endearing name – At the Water’s Edge. I have to say, the title’s so much a part of myself and that work, I’m pretty certain considering a change would be non-negotiable. It would be like saying, “I don’t like your kid’s name. Give him a new one.” Not gonna’ happen. And that’s truly not me being difficult. (Okay, maybe it is a little bit.) It’s mainly because, just like my own child, I know it well and know that name fits. The characters in that book have become precious to me; their stories are important to me; and the title of that book encompasses the importance of who (and why) they are. Even my characters wrestle with their own identities based in this context:

Danielle laughed at the innuendos being passed between the brothers, but her mind continued to ponder on Wil being a water sign. Isn’t that where she’d always met him? At the water’s edge.

 Here’s a different sort of edginess at the water.

Fall Gauley Gals

Here I am with our all-women crew getting ready to take on the Fall Gauley (Otherwise tenderly named ‘The Beast of the East.’) Hoo-ah! (I’m the tallest one in the group if you’re trying to locate me.)

You might have noticed from this and some past images that I have an affinity to whitewater too. Now that I’ve wrapped up At the Water’s Edge, I’ve entitled my current writing project, Rolling River. Its setting encompasses the early years of an eastern whitewater guide outpost start-up, circa 1980. I always said I’d be my happiest at a dream job where I could chase the world’s whitewaters as a guide throughout the year; so I’m going to dip my pen in the waters, experimenting from my characters’ perspectives. I figure, this way, all my research excursions can be tax-deductible. 😉

Don’t think I didn’t find a way to sneak the water’s edge (literally & literarily) back in.

Here’s a little snippet from Rolling River, of a quaint (and poorly cultured) ceremony used to induct new guides, as told from Cody’s (the narrating character’s) blind-folded point of view:

“Eric,” his voice boomed in the night, causing all voices of tree frogs and crickets and other critters to become still. The fire popping its sparks was the only returned sound. “Here, at the Tahoma…” (I would later learn that meant at the water’s edge and was how all good ceremonies or oaths started out at Rolling River) “…Qaletaqu, Guardian of the People…” (that was Herschel’s Indian name) “…hereby grants me, Metoskah, White Bear…” (I called that one. I definitely had no trouble seeing Big Mike named for a big, white bear, so it made sense whoever named him saw it too) “…with the authority to take you under my paw as my brother of the river, Istaqua, Coyote Man.” Apparently, Coyote Man’s blindfold had already been removed and White Bear was marking his face up with mud from the river. Then there must’ve been a head nod or some kinda’ sign, since Eric began to howl like a crazy man at the moon. It was obvious his name was gonna’ suit him just fine. We went through this again with White Bear giving Sammy the name Tatanka, for ‘bull’, and taking him under his paw, too. I could see Sammy, short and stocky, living up to being a decent bull, even though I didn’t hear him make any noises like I had Eric.

I feel a little here like Cody did at the water’s edge, as I’ve begun this new blogging adventure –

blind-folded to some of its customs, but ready to explore and seek out some awesome new adventures. I keep my online ears perked, trying to figure out some of this civilization’s established traditions, as though I’m an e-anthropologist of sorts. Why, I’ve even gotten my own persona, as have you, in which we’ve somehow experimented around and become inducted – like my humanTriumphant handle (that’s 80’s CB talk, in case you didn’t recognize it).

So thanks for allowing me to share a little snippet about myself today and the early stages of my journaling adventure here, as well as sharing in some engaging opportunities in this wondrous online community. Can’t wait to get to know you better!

Here’s to putting our best feet forward as we journey onward….

Toe-tally enthralled,



And to get a little more in-toe-active…

How do you most enjoy becoming engaged with the blogging community? Or, better yet, what new thing about yourself are you willing to share? (Hey, there’s a comments section for that!)

Lessons at the Dinner Table: Perception

After sitting to share a meal the other night with my son at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, I left with a fresh perspective on some of the important lessons to remember in life. They’re such good reminders, in fact, I’d be remiss not to share them.

At the most base level, your Perception Prerequisite Lesson would have to be:

Make a point to eat where you’re allowed to draw in crayon on the table! 
Were it not for this fact alone, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

You see, my son is taking an Art elective in school.
His choice was based on careful considerations, such as:

  • for some reason still foreign to us, he couldn’t get into a foreign language class this school year;
  • he felt like his middle school years carried enough drama with them without taking it as a formal course;
  • his school’s music teacher didn’t consider his drum or guitar to be sufficient for her class without the addition of his changing voice;
  • which, essentially, left Art as the lesser of the evils in his young, forming teenage mind. (Don’t knock the reasoning, as many U.S. voters went to the polls last week with this same attitude.)

The server brought some bread to our table and we began to break off pieces and dip it into olive oil.  Being the good mother that I am (my son might substitute the word ‘good’ for ‘nagging’ or ‘nosy’ sometimes, but his perception is often clouded by the added irritant of flourishing hormones), I asked him how his school experiences were going and what he’d learned that day. In response, he smiled, picked up the brown crayon our server had left behind after writing her name on our table, and stated,

“We’re learning about Perception in art class.”

He proceeded by taking this one, ugly brown crayon and placing its dull, worn-down tip on the paper-covered table to draw. (I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Even in the short-supply box of crayons, there’s only so much that I’ve ever been able to do with a brown crayon.)


This is what he brought to the dinner table as his offering:

Don’t miss the bread crumbs hanging out on our table.

They serve as an important reminder of:

Lesson Number 1.

As we sat there breaking bread together, it dawned on me the importance of this lesson, which is to Live in Community. Regardless of friction that may sometimes get created when we rub elbows with one another, how much potential do we miss in our own lives when we don’t take time to have our Perceptions broadened by others? Sitting there in front of me, after an arduous work day, was a warm and inviting mug, quickly and beautifully created with nothing more than a singular brown crayon and an enthusiastic response to an invitation to communicate that perception.

Lesson Number 2.

Going back to that singular, brown crayon, I’m reminded to be content in the concept to Live Simply. My son didn’t complain that he didn’t have the right resources to share his new perceptual knowledge with me. He didn’t bemoan that sometimes brown was the color of ‘yuk’, that it couldn’t measure up to the other rainbow-colored desires in this world. He didn’t make excuses that he didn’t have charcoals or tissue paper for smudging. He joyfully ‘made do’ with the resource he was given. How much more often I need to adopt this Perception.

Lesson Number 3.

Our server brought us a carafe of water for refills, as we waited for our main course.  My son decided we needed some musical entertainment, so we grabbed our wine glasses (as they weren’t otherwise being used) and added some water. We held the stems tightly with one hand while dipping our other fingers in and sliding them over the glass rims. We giggled in one another’s company as we orchestrated a musical symphony (by our Perception!) with the notes and rhythms we created together. What a beautiful reminder of how we’re called to Live in Harmony.

Lesson Number 4.

I glanced at that little cup on the table as we were preparing to leave. I understood that gift to me had been temporal; its time was fleeting. I wondered if our server would get a second of enjoyment from it when she cleared our table, as I’d watched her do time and time again that evening with other, less decorated ones surrounding us. I thought of how I’d conversed with her earlier and how she’d shared her concerns of being a single mom. I thought of how tough single motherhood is on so many levels. Though my work day had been long, it was ended. While I had the privilege of supping with my own child, hers did not have her presence for dinner that same evening. I leaned over and added an additional amount to our tip that brought it well over the expected percentage. (Why not, I thought? We’d come with a coupon plus she’d brought us another – and had allowed us to use them both together! What a generous surprise that had been.) As my son had shared his little cup with me at that table, I had received a strong Perception reminder – my cup runs over in so many ways in which I’ve been blessed in my life. When we share our gifts openly and freely with others, we encompass this final lesson – to Live Generously.

Filling our cups to overflowing with these four Perceptions can improve overall life satisfaction.
Go ahead.
Test me on it!
I’ll guarantee it!


My son just finished reading this post a few moments ago and liked it so well, he made the following suggestions:

First, he wanted me to give it a category of its own, entitled after the post itself – “Lessons at the Dinner Table” – because he thought there were a lot of good lessons that came (or should come) from encouraging family interaction and conversation (despite what the evil teen hormonal voices sometimes try to say).

Secondly, we agreed that others should have the opportunity to contribute, since you all probably have some great words of wisdom that have cropped up when breaking bread with others at one time or another.

So, I’m going to try to include a “Lesson at the Dinner Table Post: Subject Title” every week or so as an ongoing theme, to honor my son’s creative idea.  And I hope you’ll join us by including your own post for this challenge!


Community, Simplicity, Harmony & Generosity,


Weekly Photo Challenge: HappY

I live in a beautiful place. I don’t consider it bragging because I didn’t make it or anything. I just happen to be fortunate enough to get to hang out here, and it suits me well.

“My Territory” makes me Happy!

So I thought I’d share of few of my favorite Happy places with you…

I live near mountains for exploring, rolling foothills for great views, a lovely river that meanders through our mountains, waterfalls to dream by, and some whitewater rivers nearby in which to play.

What I don’t have is a decent camera to capture all this treasure to share it – or any impressive photographic skills, for that matter. Nevertheless, with it being the weekend, I thought I’d take some time to share a few of the wonderful local spaces and places with you where I love to visit.

Pocket Wilderness:

This is North Chickamauga Creek in early Spring.
There’s some great access to hiking in this area. If you’re serious, you’ll be stripping off your boots and freezing your tootsies to cross the creek at this time of year – just not when the water level is so high it’s re-arranging those boulders (once even taking out the bridge downstream).
In mid-summer, this mountain-fed stream provides great relief for swimmers and some cliff-diving excitement (among other untold activities) up at the Blue Hole.

Chilhowee Recreation Area:

This is Benton Falls in the late fall (as taken with my old camera phone). You find it by following the recreation area’s trailhead located on top of Chilhowee Mountain. Mountain bikers are welcome on the trail that leads to the falls. As you can see from the picture, the base of the falls is easily accessible to hikers with a terrific picnic table-sized rock or two just waiting for lunch to be enjoyed.

Chickamauga Lake:

Chickamauga Lake has a multitude of recreational opportunities, including boating and skiing, but perhaps is best known for its bass fishing.
We do have a rule in our family, though – it’s called “catch, kiss and release.”
There are several bass in this lake who have been permanently traumatized from this practice.

South Cumberland State Park – Savage Gulf:

So, back to hiking… Here are a few of the fun finds at Savage Gulf (all to include a wet steamy spot on my camera lens):

  1. Here’s the beginning of the trailhead, where hikers and campers sign in. The sign might clue you in to one potential reason (though, by far, not the most common).
  2. The old moonshine still area next to the creek. I’m just stopping in here to get a quick drink.
  3. My friend, Jenny’s pretty psychedelic-colored mushroom find of the day. Let me emphasize that we did not pick this – it was an accidental shoe-disturbance incident. However, I’ve always been taught to either release or eat my catches in the wild.
  4. Hanging out on one of the swinging bridges on the trail. I feel so Indiana-Jones’-ish.
  5. A nice view of the falls. (This was taken in early fall, as it was a trickle when the other hike was made in the summer.)

Signal Point:

Here is of the trailhead at Signal Point that looks down upon the Tennessee River. 

Down the trail from Signal Point is the Overlook to Julia Falls. Early spring or late fall provides the best view of the falls, when the foliage isn’t full and the water levels are sufficient for steady flow.

The Cumberland Trail will go around the bend of the Tennessee River for camping. But for day hikes, there’s always Rainbow Falls beneath (known as Miracle Falls to some).

My apologies that my only recent picture of Rainbow Falls has me in the way, pointing out the falls, in case you were to miss it.
Here’s a less recent one that demonstrates how it looks to get down into the gorge to the falls during a wet spring season:

Ocoee River:

The Ocoee is a quick trip up the road for a cool afternoon splash down some Class III-IV rapids.

Here’s a run through Double Trouble (not to be mistaken with those two up front). I’m the only girl in the raft, so if you don’t recognize which one that is, just keep it to yourself.

If you’re looking for a calmer experience, try out the Ocoee’s twin, the Hiwassee River. Its rapids are lower class (in a family-welcoming, polite sort of way). My first whitewater experience ever was in a tube going down the Hiwassee. Once I hit Devil’s Shoals, I’ve been happily hooked since. I most enjoy taking my whitewater canoe down, as it’s about the only opportunity for a carnage event to occur on this Class I-II float river.

Nantahala River:

Or you can head on up US 64/74 until you reach the Nantahala. It’s a fun run that’s continuous with mostly Class IIs until you reach the Class III Nantahala Falls at the end, which is part of the photo op you see here.

Consider this list a Sampler Platter, based on a few pics I happened to recently have on hand. The beautiful exploration experiences in this area seem never-ending.

So do you care to guess the general Happy-go-lucky region in which I live?