Sunday, April 18, 2004


posted by Michael Piwonka 10:54 PM
I took the kids camping this past weekend, leaving on Friday afternoon. We went to a campsite near Rutherfordton, NC, because it was the closest we could find to Chimney Rock Park. Chimney Rock is one of my favorite places within a couple hours of Charlotte.

While the campground wasn't the most scenic we've been to, the kids loved it, and it served its purpose. We had fun roasting marshmallows, and we enjoyed listening to the crickets at night.

One of the more humorous events involved a couple geese that "lived" at the campsite. They apparently were fed by campers often, and so were not afraid of people at all. But they also were somewhat aggressive, as geese often are.

Friday afternoon Mason was casually approaching them to get a closer look, and they turned on him, chasing and "honking" at him. He came running to me in tears, terrified of the geese. They immediately stopped when they saw me; evidently they would only attempt to attack someone close to their size.

We got a good laugh out of it, Mason included. But he never wanted to stray too far away if he knew the geese were about.

I had a somewhat scary moment during the trip. We keep our sleeping bags rolled up with bungy cords, and one of them whipped loose and the plastic hook on the end hit me on middle knuckle of my right index finger. I immediately let out a few expletives, but forgot about it within a few minutes. My knuckle was swollen, and slightly red, but I didn't give it a second thought.

The next morning I got up and immediately made a fire since the temperature was in the 40s. Then I noticed that my finger was cold and numb. When I looked at it, my knuckle was large and purple, and the rest of my finger below the knuckle was white (it actually looked like it was made of plastic). The first thing that popped into my head was that I had a blood clot that was preventing blood flow; I started having visions of gangrene and cutting off my finger.

I immediately starting flexing it and rubbing it, and within a few minutes it regained normal color and temperature. My entire finger is purple and swollen today, but appears to be fine.

After I got over that, we went to Chimney Rock Park and did some hiking around the mountain. We explored some new paths, and encountered a nondescript black snake. The kids are always fascinated by snakes, but I'd just as soon keep a distance from them.

After being cold overnight, it warmed up to around 80 in the day, which zapped the kids of energy (and me too). We would have hiked more if the temperature hadn't been so high.

The kids enjoyed harassing me at the campsite yesterday. It all started after they had been continually picking on each other, fighting about something; they were beginning to get on my nerves. After I yelled at them to behave, they both looked at me, started slowly backing up, then said in unison: "Back away from the angry man." (I think they had set me up, just waiting for me to yell at them so they could spring that line on me.)

They then proceeded to walk around the campsite, singing a little jingle they concocted to go with their cute new saying:

Back away from the angry man.....back away from the angry man....


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