It was Friday, finally, and we were very excited to be going camping for the weekend. This camping trip was a little more planned than any of our usual trips, or so we thought. We were invited by a few of our friends to camp through the weekend with them in their home state of Alabama on Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama.
We did forget a few things that morning, but we decided to put as many miles between us and home as we could before stopping to get supplies. Driving the scenic highways we realized there were no grocery stores, at least that we could find. We spotted a Piggly Wiggly grocery store coming up in a small town somewhere in Alabama. I have been inside a Piggly Wiggly before as a child but Kyle has not... We quickly gathered the items we needed and were a little dazed that this Piggly Wiggly did not sell alcohol. Just another thing on the list because of course if you're going camping in the south, you need cold beers. Last stop was a small gas station, being lovers of Stella Artois (ask our dog, Stella) we decided that's what we would get. After enjoying the walk-in cooler the beer was kept in, Kyle went to check out. The two older southern ladies running the store had never heard of the beer, and because it was not in their catalog, Kyle returned to the van with a case of Stella for eight dollars! After fueling up just in time to get stuck behind a fertilizer crew driving a steady 15 mpg with a "No Passing" sign for six miles, we were ready to get to Cheaha Mountain, find a camping spot, and enjoy a cold one.
We had finally reached Mount Cheaha. Our destination was Cheaha State Park at the very top of the mountain. We followed highway 281 over the mountains and through the Talladega National Forest. On the way up we passed three lookout spots, we wanted to stop and enjoy the view but time was not our friend at that moment. We arrived at the park, next on the list was to find a camping spot. The lady at the gate told us that we had to go inside the office to pick a spot sight unseen to then drive around to look at other spots. We chose a primitive camping site, payed, got our papers, and headed into the state park. They gave Kyle a printed black and white map of the different camping options incase we wanted to change. The park had a hotel, cabins, hiking, a pool, and also a restaurant that looked out over the mountain. It was also very busy around the park, but keep in mind it was the weekend. We drove to our first spot, yikes. They had gave us a spot that was maybe five feet from the main road, had no room for Stella to run or play, and so steep, the van could barely park on the hill. We called the office back for a more reasonable spot, and they told us we could drive around and find a spot then come back to the office and switch it. We ended up in a "glamping" campground that had air conditioned bathrooms, electricity hookups, water, but most importantly a level surface and some space. Our camp site was across the street from one of the bath houses, so we parked Steely with his side door facing the woods so we still had our privacy.
As we finished settling into our campsite we heard a familiar rumble coming into the campground. By the noise of the vehicle we assumed it was our friend Grant arriving in his jeep. We parked the jeep next to Steely, opened some beers and started to talk away about our lives. As we rambled on we noticed the campground began to fill up. We had some neighbors camping in the spot next to us, two men and three children. We've never really camped next to children, so it was pretty amusing. Setting up camp directly behind us happened to be Boy Scouts, who also enjoyed walking through our camp site. It was pretty ironic that we were surrounded by kids the whole weekend. It wasn't so bad until two young boys camping across the campground decided to ride their golf cart from dusk to dawn every single day of the weekend. You could tell that even the children next to us wanted the two boys to do something other than ride that golf cart around.
Cheaha Moutain was a beautiful mountain, and we enjoyed our time and the views. The campground may have been a bit more youthfully active from what we're use to but we didn't let it stop us from having a great weekend. Stella was more than amused to watch all the children play. We were pleased to finally catch up with some distant friends and take a break from the real world.