Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cumberland Gap via Frozen Head

This weekend was measuring up to be a real gorgeous weekend and we decided what better way to spend it than to go camping. We made our minds up on Thursday that we would go camping at Frozen Head State Park. I guess you can call us creatures of habit when it comes to camping. Frozen Head in Wartburg, TN is our favorite camp destination. It is nice and cool with a very thick canopy to keep the sun off of you and a creek real close by as well as playgrounds and much more at your disposal.

Well, Robin had everything packed and ready to go when I got home Friday afternoon. It wasn't soon after and we were on our merry way headed to Frozen Head. After about an hours drive, we arrived at our destination only to find there were no camp spots left in the campground. That was even after Robin called to make sure there were spots left earlier in the morning. Just to fill you in, we went up there on Wednesday to scope out everything. We wanted to make sure there wasn't a burn ban or anything major going on. We found upon our arrival that the Cumberland Trail Conference was there for the week working on the North Boundary Trail, and we also notice a few cars arriving with canoes and kayaks and thought that a bit odd since there is no where to canoe or kayak at Frozen Head when it dawned on us they were likely camping there and having something going on at the Obed.

Well upon further research we found out that the Viking Canoe and Kayaking club was having a basic class for it's members at the Obed and had reserved several spots at Frozen Head's campground. So we knew it was going to bad but we didn't think it would be full when we arrived. Low and behold it was but we refused to be defeated. We decided in short manner to head to Cumberland Gap regardless of the fact that there are now Black Bears in the area.

So back towards the way we came from and then another hour and half drive before we arrived at Cumberland Gap. We finally found a good spot that we thought would serve us well and we started to set up camp. In no time, we had camp set and ready and I was off to the registration station to get us squared away. The Ashbinator, was set to the task of gathering wood for the evening, Robin was was getting things ready for dinner, and Clover was being Clover as always but this time in Burt's ginia. (Clover gets things a little mixed up from time to time. She heard us say we were in Virginia and thought we said Burt's ginia). So as the wood was being brought in by Ashby I was getting in order for burning and then getting a fire going.

The evening was fine, we had hamburgers and chips and then settled in with the fire, a cup of coffee, and the shortwave radio. We listened to Coast to Coast and other AM stations as well as various amateur radio stations on the Ham Bands. I guess it was about 2:00am and Robin and I decided it was time to turn in. This time around, we opted instead of bringing the sleeping bags and cots to sleep in, to bring the big queen size air mattress. It was quite the experience to say the least. The mattress has a very slow leak or something and to top it off the temps got down into the 40's and you know what happens to inflated objects in cold weather. Needless to say Robin and I slept in a bowl and were bouncing each other back forth with each and every movement.

It was around 4am when Ashby woke up having to go... and Robin took her. It was pretty cold at this point and when they returned Robin had me put on my hoodie and a pair of socks as my feet were like ice cubes. I guess you could say we weren't quite prepared for camping at Cumberland Gap. It was about 9:30am when I finally arose. I got up and answered the call, and then took Clover to take care of her business. Upon returning, I got the fire going so we could have coffee. Robin was up shortly after that and getting breakfast going. After a good meal of Pancakes and Coffee we sat down in our chairs and were feeling pretty miserable. We didnt pack any shorts as we had figured we'd be at Frozen Head, we hadn't planned on any hikes, and at Cumberland Gap there's not much more to do, unless you bring a bike or money for guided tours. So there we were at about 11:00am, it was 80 degrees, and we were just miserable. So we made an executive decision to pack it up and head home a day early.

Now don't get me wrong, Cumberland Gap is a really nice park. The campground was nice and the area is just beautiful. However, considering that we were prepared to camp elsewhere, the experience just wasn't what we were hoping for. So the moral of the story, when your gut tells you to go else where to camp, plan for that and go with your gut. If we had listened to Robin's gut, we would be in front of a fire and listening to George Noory on Coast to Coast AM.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin