OK... onto Day # 2...
After surviving night #1, I was much more confident about night #2 & 3, especially knowing that I would most certainly be using the headphones Rich suggested!
We woke up around 9AM to a beautiful COLD day. It was in the low 30's and I don't think I've EVER gotten dressed as quickly as I did on Day 2! Rich immediately went to start a fire while I took care of Murphy and Harley. We then started with making the all important, must-have camping breakfast: bacon, eggs, and toast! I had the eggs in a very nifty "egg holder" especially for this purpose, and yeah, OK... so they didn't get crushed. ;) I gotta tell you though... making scrambled eggs and bacon outside does lend credence to the suggestions and comments we were told! Breakfast was awesome! The toast? Not so much. Because we had plans to be away from the campsite during lunch, we heated up the chili I made prior to leaving home and packed it up in the very nifty thermos Rich bought. I'll hand it to him, the thermos was a great idea!
Shortly after breakfast we set out for our day.... Grandfather Mountain!
We arrived at the entrance to the mountain and payed our $15 EACH. Yes, $15 each! I know, it's a lot and yes, we moaned and groaned, but I do believe it was very much worth it. The admission included an audio CD that we listened to while driving up the mountain. I don't think it was completely necessary if I do say, but anywho... moving on.
The dogs seemed to be getting a little car sick with all the hairpin turns up and through the mountain. Yup. Carsick. About 1/2 way up to the Cliffside Overlook we smelled it. Doggie puke. Nasty. Good thing we had rolls and rolls of paper towels in the car. Did I mention that our dogs are complete goofballs when it comes to traveling in the car? Murphy specifically, just can't ever seem to be sure footed. It was kind of hilarious. Doggie puke cleaned up... time to get going!
We got out of the car at Sphnix/Split Rock to look around. What beauty! Due to it being a completely clear and beautiful day, you could see rolls and rolls of hills and valleys. Simply breathtaking. We then drove a little farther up to Cliffside Overlook. It seemed to keep getting better and better. We let the dogs out to explore and they were spellbound. They had no idea what to do or think! We took a TON of pictures (see previous post for slideshow).
After a few more hairpin turns, we were on our way to the very top of the mountain, The Top Shop to be exact. This is where they had the store, info center, restrooms, and of course, the Mile High Swinging Bridge. THIS, I was excited to see! Murphy and Harley in tow, we proceeded with climbing the awkward 50 stairs. (yes, 50!) Once up the stairs you could immediately see the bridge and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. I had to stop to soak it in. Did I really want to cross it? Could I? Hell yes I could, and DID, with Murphy right beside me. Rich was behind me with Harley. We stopped midway on the bridge for a few pictures and then proceeded to finish crossing the bridge. It creaked, it swayed, it hummed. None of that bothered me, but I think it would for some. I'm also not that afraid of heights, but if YOU are, just DON'T LOOK DOWN! Seriously! Once we crossed to the other side, something very, very strangely frightening happened...
We cleared the bridge and made our way to the far right corner to get out of others' way and stopped. I had Murphy on my left and Rich was to my right with Harley. I glanced over to Rich to acknowledge the beauty we were both a part of and then, *tug*. I had instinctively pulled down on Murphy's head collar because I felt him jolt ahead rather quickly and in that split second I realized that Murphy's hind legs were OFF the ground and damn near OVER the rock wall separating the bridge path from the thousands of feet of mountainous terrain below us.... MY HEART ALMOST JUMPED OUT OF MY CHEST! Because he started to "jump" while my head was turned looking at Rich, I didn't see it, but the other people in the area said he was almost OVER the wall before I had pulled him back. My dog almost committed doggie suicide! Everyone was panicking, sighing over the fact that I had "saved my dogs life". It happened so quickly. I couldn't believe it. We had just finished crossing the bridge, moved over to the side, and then I look at Rich, and TUG. It was that quick. We think that Murphy was just excited to "keep going" and he thought we were getting ready to "climb another stair". What a goofy, LUCKY dog! I don't even want to think of what would've happened if I hadn't pulled back on his leash. OK... enough about that.
With TWO dogs safely with us, we went slightly down the hill to the Black Rock Nature Trail entrance. Rich had read about it online and thought we should give it a try. It said 'Moderate', but honestly, we had no real idea what that meant. This was a great time to break out the good 'ole thermos and eat our chili. Wouldn't you know that it was STILL piping hot! Yup. My hubby's a genius! Now full of proteins, we were ready for it!
About .2 miles into the 1 mile (2 miles r/t) trail I wanted to turn around. Honestly. Not because I was tired, but because I didn't think the dogs could do it, or would do it safely with ME, and not kill klutzy me! It was rocky, hilly, had tons of large boulders, HUGE tree roots, and it was through the woods... Moderate? I guess so, but for me it was HARD! But you know what? I DID IT! And so did the dogs, well, Murphy more than Harley; poor thing held Rich back. However, with her following "the pack" (Murphy and Me!) she did A-OK! A little banged and bruised, but OK. Murphy was outstanding! I had never seen him like his, so in his element! He guided me up and down and through like he had done this before. He knew the short and easy ways, he knew when to be slow and when to speed up... he was my miracle! After what felt like forever, we made it to the end only to find that the "destination" was a huge rock/boulder we had to climb up and on to get the views, but with the dogs we couldn't do it, so turn around and go back we did. At this point, yes... I was getting tired. But, once again, Murphy pulled me through. You should all know that I didn't once think about a wild animal encounter while on the trail. Not once. And let me tell you, they WERE out there! ;)
It was closing time, so back to the campsite we went for night # 2. We got back a little too late to make our full dinner we had planned, so we just snacked and drank beer. Not a bad combo, right? We were a little colder on night # 2, so we prepped some hot chocolate! YUM! Hot chocolate, snacks, TWO healthy dogs, the toasty campfire, SMORES, and my wonderful husband by my side keeping all the critters away... life was good!
After having an eventful day we decided to turn in early and this time, I had my headphones! With Murphy and Harley in their doggie corner, LED lantern on low, and all bundled and cuddled up in the double sleeping bag with headphones in TIGHT, it was time to sleep the night away without a care in the world...