Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Kickoff: Snooper's Rock and Our Almost Backpacking Trip

When Daniel and I were first married, one of the very first things we invested in was our backpacking gear. We spent many weekends hiking and sleeping under the stars those first years of marriage. When we moved to Charlotte, our backpacking trips became much less frequent – maybe a couple of times of year, if we were lucky. When we moved to Alabama, I think we made one backpacking trip. Then Jack came along and the whole idea of backpacking seemed like a lot of work. So we have had a 3 year hiatus. 

To kickoff summer this year, we had this wild idea that Jack was big enough for a (really short) backpacking trip. We took him car camping a year ago and he did great, so we figured it was time. 

Daniel requested two things: 1) a short hike and 2) a trail that was close to our house. He didn't want to drive a long way and have to ditch the trip because of a fussy toddler.

I did a little research and found that there was a backcountry camp site on the Cumberland Trail that could be accessed from a remote parking lot in Prentice Cooper. As an added bonus, the trail to the campsite also went to Snooper's Rock.

The plan was to do a very short section of the Mullins Cove Loop – we would take a picnic up to Snooper's Rock and then hike to the Hemlock Branch campsite to spend the night.

Not surprisingly, our plans did not mesh with our toddler. We should have known to call off our trip the minute Jack fell asleep on the couch before lunch. He didn't sleep that long and then refused to take an afternoon nap. We pushed through anyways.

We asked Jack if he wanted to go camping and he was very excited about this. We all went downstairs to pack our stuff. Jack even found a backpack he could carry. Since this was a short hike, we figured Daniel could carry most of the gear and I would carry the Deuter Kid Comfort Carrier. That way I could carry Jack if he didn't want to hike. I was also able to fill the extra compartments with a few things.

As we were getting ready to leave the house, Jack had an absolute meltdown. I convinced him to calm down or there would be no camping. He calmed down and we naively loaded our gear.

We drove to McAlisters to grab sandwiches for our picnic at Snooper's Rock before heading to our campsite. Of course on the drive to the trailhead Jack fell asleep. Not to be deterred, we drove down an ATV road to a parking lot that was practically at Snooper's Rock. Sleepy toddler equaled no pre-dinner hike for us.

Jack was not very excited to be woken up, but perked up a bit after we got out to the view and ate our sandwiches. It happened to be almost dusk, so while we ate we were all nibbled by mosquitoes. Jack was still in a bit of a mood and Daniel and I decided, maybe this wasn't the best night to backpack... so we ditched our plans, walked back to the car and drove home. 

Snooper's Rock had an amazing view and we had it all to ourselves. Not a bad way to kick off our summer, even if we didn't get to go backpacking. 

The rest of the weekend, thunderstorms kept popping up in the evening, so we still didn't get to go backpacking. Our bags are still packed and we hope to make a backpacking trip soon.


  1. Ya'll are awesome for trying! Most parents don't even attempt that. Plus it's great you get Jack outdoors as much as you can. Random fact: the survey marker you have pictured is named for a man I used to work with at TVA in the Surveying department. He has since passed away, but loved to hike. He got to choose where his marker went. Whenever someone in Surveying retires, they get a marker put out for them.
    Shannon Bennett

    1. That is really cool about the survey marker – I didn't know that. We are definitely big proponents of getting outside and fully intend to make sure Jack becomes as enamored with the outdoors as we are. Have a great trip to Hong Kong! When you get back, we will have to plan an outdoor outing with you, Shannon.

  2. It’s great to know that you and your husband share this hobby. Hiking is one of the finest things to do for outdoor enthusiasts. Just look at how Jack enjoyed this trip. It seems like he’ll grow up sharing your interest with outdoor activities. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Cheree. Have a great day!

    Garrett Frazier @ Greg Grainger Adventures

    1. Thanks for stopping by Garrett! I have found that getting older makes it harder and harder to do the things we love, but we just keep trying to carve out time. It is important for us to expose our boys to the outdoors and we hope they become enthusiasts like us.


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