Today's blogging challenge question: What's one of your favorite family vacation memories?
I wouldn't say we were poor growing up. We had food and clothes and solid little house. But I know my parents walked close to that line, we had enough but didn't have excess. So as far as family vacations go, I can only remember one official vacation when I was 7 or 8 for which we drove 20 hours to Disney World.
I don't remember much from the vacation at all. Which I am sure would be a bitter pill for my parents as they must have saved and saved to make that trip. I think when I was 12 or so we went to Washington DC. Again, I don't remember much.
What we did do, a lot, was go camping. I am not talking about park a camper in a camp ground and laze about camping. I am talking hike in several miles, carry your own tent and water and food camping. We camped from when I was very young, a baby really, until I was in my early teens.
One specific spot we went back to over and over again was the shut-ins at Hercules Glades in the Mark Twain National Forrest. The shut-ins was a spot in a small river where the ground suddenly dropped out from under the river and created a water fall (when the water was running). Our regular camping spot was above the bank just below the falls. There was a path down to the river where we did our dishes and skinny-dipped. And just next to the path, right at the edge over-hanging the water, was a large hollowed out tree.
The hollowed out bit was large enough for both my sister and I to climb into and if your shimmied your way up the hollow trunk, up to a spot where the tree bowed out over the water there was a bit of a ledge made by the bend and an old knothole that was like a wee window on the water below. It was awesome. At present day, I am not much of a magical thinker, but back then I was pretty convinced that this tree was clearly home to gnomes or fairies or some other magical being when we weren't around. Because it had to be, right? It was so perfect, a window! A crooked little door-like opening! Room enough to fit two little girls and all of their imagination!!
The last time I went to the shut-ins I was in my twenties and camping solo. It had been years since I had been down there, but I found "our" spot with ease. The gnome tree was gone, a ragged stump in its place. Surely a big storm or flood had taken it out. It was still beautiful, still amazing and relaxing, but the magic was just gone. Or maybe I just couldn't see it anymore.