special needs blog, summer getaway

Campers Have S’more Fun!

Last week was filled with camping adventures. Our first stop was in Suches, Georgia where we stayed in a Getaway Cabin out in the middle of the forest. The modernized and revamped boxcar had huge windows, so it felt like we were sleeping under the stars. We hiked to Sea Creek Falls, made s’mores, and created some fun forever memories.

The hike to Sea Creek Falls was really muddy. Hopey kept getting her shoes stuck in the mud, and we’d have to get on our knees to dig them out. But she was a trooper. She trudged along, sloshing in mud that sucked her shoes right off her feet, until we made it to the waterfall. Charlie, who wasn’t as fond of the mud, ended up being piggy-backed most of the way. When you’re a little guy, I guess that’s one of the benefits.

Losing shoes and ending up with kids who were muddy from head to toe led to a gorgeous hidden waterfall surrounded by smooth flat rocks in all sorts of colors. The water at the base of the falls, for the most part, was either ankle or knee deep. It was ice cold and perfect for wading. Surrounded by trees and vegetation, the area was completely shaded, so we spent a couple of hours there. Charlie must’ve inspected one-hundred stones. He picked them up, rubbed them with his fingers, and then threw them back into the water to go searching for another. Hopey sat on a rock and let the moving water rush over her feet and legs. This hike is a must for all travelers who stay in the Suches area.

The second part of our week was spent camping in a 1960’s camper named Winnie Jane Bago, and boy howdy, she was fun. We were stuffed inside that camper like sardines, bulging at the seams even, but we had a blast. With no television or internet, our time was spent in utter togetherness.

Winnie Jane sits on a gorgeous farm in Grandview, TN. When visiting, every guest gets the opportunity to meet Herbert, the 180 lb. pig, Poncho and Lefty, the two rescued donkeys, and a chicken who will follow you wherever you go, nipping at your toes. Two swings hang from the tall branches of a good old-fashioned shade tree … and a picnic table welcomes you to have breakfast outside in the cool shade. The paths are wide and the hills are gentle. It’s a perfect spot for taking long walks.

While there, we took a hike to Piney Falls. It takes about ten minutes to get to the trailhead from the camper. It’s a beautiful area, and the hike is worth the time.

Hope and Charlie made friends with all of the animals during our stay at Winnie Jane Bago, and they loved how our beds were connected in the camper. It was definitely like a slumber party, because they giggled all night long. But sleep is overrated, right? haha.

Is it easy to camp and hike with two special needs kiddos? I get asked that A LOT! No, it’s never easy. When Hopey decides she’s had enough hiking, she plops herself on the ground and refuses to budge. To attempt to nudge her along would be futile, so we have to sit down and wait her out. While walking a mile might take the average person twenty minutes, it can take Hopey an hour. Sometimes longer. Patience, indeed, is a virtue.

And Charlie. Until you’ve seen him stomp his foot to declare his general unhappiness, you haven’t seen the cutest thing in the whole world. He actually thinks he’s taking a stand with such angry fervor, while in actuality he’s just this little fella kicking his foot around. You know how a horse paws the ground? That’s what it looks like when Charlie stomps his foot. He does it OFTEN when hiking. And when you ignore it, he lies down on the ground and creates a puddle of tears. Hence the piggy back rides.

Every time Charlie manages to shimmy up a rock … or when Hopey balances on a log to cross a creek, I’m quickly reminded of how the effort is worth it. When they dig their nails into the bark of a tree, dip their toes into a rushing stream, pick a flower, throw a rock, gather sticks, or get up off the ground and choose to walk a few more steps even when their legs feel worn to a frazzle, they are growing.

And as I participate, I’m growing too. Patience is a learned skill. Appreciating fifteen years of tiny baby steps requires intention. And hoping for the best … continuing to have faith that Hope and Charlie will find a way to effectively communicate and will eventually be able to utilize self care … that’s the most challenging part of the growth.

God. He’s ironic in the most magnificent way. Indeed, he uses the weak to lead/teach the strong.

“My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9)

You can book a Getaway cabin here: https://getaway.house

You can book a place to stay on Lemon Lane Farm here: https://www.lemonlanefarm.com

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