Day 1: Woolum

Momma decided a few days prior that she wasn’t ready to rough it overnight, but agreed to come along with our littlest one and accompany me ‘n Bear Bait most of the first day.  Initial grand plans were to camp at Tyler Bend, but it was packed full by the time we got there.  One glance at the Gilbert rock bar and she had me driving them all into Harrison to find a hotel Friday night.  Stayed at this dive of a place right on the southern edge of the city.  Paper peeling off the walls, brown water from the sink, dead spiders on the bedspread . . . just a real righteous place.  The fact she was happy to be there is either a comment on how badly she viewed Gilbert or how grateful she was I didn’t try to talk her into sleeping on the rockbar.   Looked like fun to me, but you know how it goes.   When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and all that.

Saturday morning, woke up and drove down to Woolum.  It was as empty as Gilbert was packed.  Just a beautiful place.  We had one tent and five hammocks, so decided to set up camp at an area set aside for horse campers.  They had about six large posts spaced perfectly for a row of hammocks.  You just couldn’t ask for better.  Had four boys with us, aged 6, 6, 2, and 1.  Lathered them all up with sunscreen and played in the river all day long.  It was just a whole day of playing in the sun.  Momma hit the road with our littlest one before dark.  We spent the night listening to drunks get stuck in the rock bar coming off the river after dark.  Kat crawled out of his hammock and went down to watch the show.  Hearing him retell it made me wish he had brought me along.  I woke up only once around midnight.  The moon was just a few days past full and the whole wide-open area was lit up bright enough that you didn’t need a flashlight to see.  Sat up and just swayed a little in the hammock, listening to the cicadas sing like waves on the shore.  There was just enough of a breeze to keep the flies and mosquitoes away.  We were planning on a ten mile day on Sunday, or I would have stayed up longer just soaking it all in.

I soft-stepped over to check on Bear Bait and make sure he was comfortable.  I guess I’m still a little worried that he’ll wake up scared.  He still goes to sleep at home with either a flashlight or a night light on, but he’s fearless when it comes to sleeping in the woods.  Go figure.  I seriously doubt I was that brave at six years old, but then again I was almost out of my teens before anyone ever took me anyplace like this.  He’s been at it half his life.



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