Archive for November, 2017

Best bottoms ever

It’s been about six weeks since we returned from our totally wonderful 3oth anniversary vacation. It was so amazing and delightful – literally, full of delight – that I wanted to blog about it, a) so I could always remember it, and of course, b) so my readers could enjoy the trip vicariously. I had planned to write a series of posts that would tell the story of our trip in sequential order. (Is that redundant?) To that end, I wrote the first post, “We should do this every thirty years,” and now, some five and-a-half long and involved posts later, we’ve barely even arrived in Townsend – boo-hoo – much less experienced ALL the great fun memories we made there. And meanwhile, life back here at home is zinging along in all its blog-worthy glory, and none of that is getting written either.  = {  So, while the logical, day by day story of our memorable time in and around Townsend surely deserves to be told, I have decided, with a deep sigh and some regret, to abandon the chronological approach and go topical. I figure it’s better to write something about our special places and activities, even if they’re out of order, than for so much water to go under the proverbial bridge that I run out of time, can’t remember the things that made this trip so special, and therefore never write about them at all. That would be maximally sad.

And so with that preamble, I hereby give you… Metcalf Bottoms!!! On Monday, our first day in Townsend, with our hammock still in the Durango and our bikes still on the rack from our cross-country trek, we packed stuff to make a picnic lunch and headed toward Laurel Falls, which was evidently a notable destination about 30 minutes from home, featuring a nice, “easy” (half-mile? paved?) walk to a lovely waterfall. Our plan was to put the lunch in a backpack and eat at the falls. Possibly with a lot of other tourists, but whatever. We’d make it work.

Our whole goal on this anniversary trip was to have fun. After all, it was just the two of us, and we could do whatever we wanted. We LOVE being outdoors in beautiful places, and the area around Townsend is one heck of a beautiful place. It also held some really precious memories. I could mention Mounds and tubing on the Little River. I could probably leave out the fact that thirty years later we still don’t agree on who locked the keys in the car in the middle of nowhere after 5 PM on a Friday night. I digress.

The route to Laurel Falls had us driving east on Little River Gorge Road, surely one of the most scenic stretches of pavement east of the Mississippi. Actually, we weren’t driving; Scott was. I was looking out the window, LOVING the views, and letting my soul be filled. Few things energize me quite like a rushing mountain stream perfectly back-lit by sunshine through millions of variegated green leaves.

The road hugged the writhing river with tight turns that, along with the incredible views, held us to about 25 mph, and every bend elicited more little gasps of pleasure and “Oh, LOOK!(s)” and “That’s so gorgeous!(es)” from Yours Truly. I was aching to take pictures, so Scott was constantly scanning for places to pull over. There were lots of small pull-outs that could accommodate a car or maybe three, but we were driving upstream with the river on our left, so they were all on the wrong side. And then there was also the matter of my bladder becoming uncomfortably full; I was getting desperate to find – or create! – a bathroom.

Just when I knew I had only about five minutes of margin max, our road merged away from the edge of the river for a short distance, and suddenly there was a paved road to the left marked “Metcalf Bottoms.” We didn’t know what a Metcalf Bottom was, but with a patch of woods between the road and the river large enough to potentially afford some privacy, we turned in. How very glad I am that we did! And not only because we found real, flushable bathrooms.  = )

Metcalf Bottoms was a large, lovely, mostly empty picnic area right along the Little River. WOW! What could be better when you’re hungry and looking for a photo-op? Maybe we could just go ahead and eat there and then go on to Laurel Falls later. So in true Roberts fashion we first drove around and scoped the entire area, noting the picturesque (my dad always says “picture-skew”) wooden bridge over the river, the many well-situated tables (some in shade, some in sun), and of course, the conveniently located bathrooms. After an almost painstakingly detailed analysis of our options, we picked a table, unloaded our stuff, and chowed down on a delicious lunch of sandwiches topped with with red onion and homegrown tomato, funner crunchies than we get at home, and two colors of grapes (thirty years being insufficient time for either of us to compromise on brands of toothpaste or colors of grapes) while playing a casual card game called Minus Five. The river gurgled past us just a few yards away, and as a bonus, the weather was absolutely perfect.

After lunch, Scott hauled out our MASSIVE hammock frame (the pipes are more than six feet long!) and set it up right at the water’s edge. With our big, green two-person pillow for comfort, my trusty walking stick for rocking, and dappled sunlight on the water for making us smile, we settled in to listen to the next installment of our Eric Liddell audio book. Ahhh, this was the life! However, I have been told by a reliable source that just a few minutes into the book I fell asleep, and that’s probably true since I seemed to have missed part of the story…

To be continued.