Monday, September 8, 2014

Anna and Isaac visit - Dismals canyon

Anna and her son Issac are some of our good friends from Canada. We were so happy they could come down and stay with us for a week. We had some chill days where we stayed home mostly and experimented with some fun Southern-Style recipes like blackened catfish, potato salad, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, chipotle cranberry chicken, creamy collard greens and others.  We had other days where we got out and explored some new local-ish places. We walked around the boardwalks at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, and went swimming at Lake Tiak O'Khata:

We toyed with the idea of driving down to the gulf coast for a night and doing the whole beach thing, since Issac has never swam in the beach before, but we all got a little sunburned at the lake. We decided instead to go 2 hours North East to Dismals Canyon in Alabama. It was this really quaint and other-worldly river ravine/canyon in the middle of rural Alabama. It was very beautiful, and a bit pricey, but hey its not like we're going to go there all that often. We got there a bit late and with a misunderstanding of their hours we only had 30 min to explore the canyon before they closed it. I liked how at each special little spot along the canyon floors there was a name for it and on our paper we could read a paragraph about the history of it. Some places were famous hide-outs for bandits, or the location of Native American ceremonies. Really interesting stuff. I wish I was steadier with my camera to have taken better pictures, but we were kind of pressed for time. 

We had also paid for the 9:15pm night tour, and found ourselves with almost 2 hours to kill in the parking lot/little store area. It wasn't completely terrible.  I got to take pictures of these cute kiddos and we enjoyed watching the fireflies.

Eventually night fell and we sat around some tables outside the store playing "Big Booty" and "I spy." Gwen had starting having melt downs around 8:30 and we decided we needed to buy 'energy' for our hike. We let each of the kids pick out a treat in the store. That little Gwen can be so motivated by food and treats...just like her mama. The kids ate some of their energy while Chris told a Sam the Suit story. (one of his longstanding made up characters). He is such a good story teller. Frederick was amazingly wide-awake but luckily he was mostly content to be in the hiking backpack as long as I kept walking around.  

Finally our turn for the tour came and the kids excited grabbed their flashlights and one of our hands and we followed the guide back down into the canyon floor in the black night. We stopped in two rocky caverns and turned off all the lights. It took a little bit of time for our eyes to adjust to seriously pitch black darkness. I was reminded of the darkness that fell upon the America's for 3 days after the death of Jesus Christ and talked with the kids about it a bit. Once our eyes did adjust the guide told us where to look to see the little glowing worms along the rock walls. Apparently they're one of the only two kinds of glowing worms in the world (the others are in Australia). The guide called them 'Dismalites' but I forget their scientific name. It was really fun to see them and the kids enjoyed finding them.  

At the second cavern the dismalites were low enough and close enough that we could find a specific one while it was completely dark and get real close, then turn a flashlight onto that spot to see what they look like in the light...they looked just like an inch long, skinny seam (just a strand really) of sparkly rock.  Pretty cool. Climbing through the dark tight spaces with Frederick on my back in a big hiking backpack could have been a little tricky at times, but I got mad skills, so it wasn't a problem. :)

It was really fun to experience new things and see new places with Anna and Isaac. We had lots of time to chit chat and we enjoyed playing games and watching shows after the kids went to bed. Anna was always good to play games with the kids, (she probably played Labyrinth like 20 times in a 24 hour period)  Gwen seemed to get really attached to her! Isaac and 'the brothers' as Gwen and I often call Alec and Charlie got along well. I'm so glad they could come visit!

1 comment:

Amy said...

I'm so glad you guys go to go to Dismals Canyon!!!