Sunday, November 6, 2011

Memories From The Past - Desoto Caverns

It's been awhile since I have done a "Memories from the past" post but this is one that is warranted. I can't tell you how many times I bring up this story to Toby to reminisce on. It's one of those bad experiences you look back on and laugh.

Here goes..

Toby and I have always loved to camp and took the opportunity quite often when we lived in Alabama. Camping is all about hiking and campfires for us and in Alabama there are no burn bans to put a damper on a camping trip...that I have ever experienced anyway.

Well, one weekend we got an itch to camp so we headed North Alabama to Desoto Cavern Park. It was November so it was cold but we didn't mind, we were going to build a campfire.

Summer was around 3 years old and Lucas had opted to stay behind at home alone....heaven for a 16 year old.

We had prepared for everything but the weather and mileage. This was before we owned Ipods or GPS's. After the 5 hour drive that I had estimated to be only 3 hours, we arrived at our destination under partly cloudy skies and 40 degree temps.

We quickly set up our tent in a random spot then set out to browse the desolate grounds of the Caverns. I wasn't all that impressed initially but I was glad to be at our destination and optimistic about hiking the area and touring the cavern.

The cavern turned out to be just a big underground room with a few stalactites and stalagmites..nothing like the massive caves we have here. After the cavern tour it was late and getting colder so we decided we would wait until the next day to hike the area.

At dusk we built a fire as we watched the clouds slowly roll in and the temps drop. We weren't really all that worried. Summer had passed out in the tent from a long day and we had our bottle of vodka and a roaring fire to keep us warm on the cold November night.

Eventually the events of the day and vodka kicked in and we headed inside the tent to crash. About this same time the rain had began to come down.

I remember thinking how romantic it was going to be hearing the rain come down in the tent snuggled up next to hubby. We also had brought our small space heater to keep us warmer inside the tent during the night.

I eventually fell into a deep slumber when I was awoken in the middle of the night by the sounds of hubby cursing....and the pouring rain!

In my half asleep state I understood that he was somehow getting wet. Mind you, we had a plugged-in space heater in our small tent with us. I only half-responded to his complaints as I settled back in next to Summer.

It didn't seem like it was but just a short time later before he woke up cursing about being wet again. We moved him to a dryer spot and this time I had slept a little of the vodka off and was paying a little more attention to his complaints...or maybe it was because the cursing was a little louder this time.

I was coherent enough to question him at this point. He claimed that he was soaked so I crawled over the check it out and yes, he was laying in a puddle RIGHT NEAR THE PLUGGED IN HEATER.

It was storming like crazy but there wasn't much I could do but make sure that the section Summer was sleeping in was not wet and laid back down and waited for the sun to rise and the raining to hopefully stop.

At daybreak I was awoken again by the sounds of cursing and ultimatums. His exact words I will never forget.."GET UP!!! WE ARE LEAVING NOW!"

It was still pouring and by this time the floor of the whole tent was wet and we were freezing because we had to turn off the heater in the middle of the night when we discovered there was water coming in from somewhere.

We packed up and took down the tent in the rain and loaded everything into the car with sleep still in our eyes.

As we were taking down the tent we did a little investigation and noticed that the tent had a seam along the bottom that was not sealed good. This wouldn't have ordinarily mattered other than the fact that we unknowingly had set the tent up in a small crater that allowed the rain to puddle where our tent sat therefore seeping into the seams.

We didn't want our 5 hour trip to be a total waste so we decided we would try and check out a nearby historic mill, but it was still so rainy that we couldn't even get out to check it out.

As we headed out of town we stopped into a Hardees to grab one of those bowl breakfast's that looked so yummy that we always saw advertised on T.V. Put bluntly, it was nasty, and this is coming from two people that aren't picky eaters.

It certainly was not a fun trip, but for some reason it's one of our most memorable.


  1. Oh bless you, that must have been so funny when you look back on it, all that way and you camp in a crater :) Priceless ♥

  2. I think we all have a story like that if you like to camp. Ours involved full campgrounds and yellow jackets - commonly known as wasps!