As our vacation was coming to an end, we decided to spend another morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time, we were going to hike 1.3 miles up to Laurel Falls. We'd be done by lunch and would relax by the pool later that day.
No problem, right??
Are you kidding me? This is how it really played out...
(It is long, sorry.)
JJ is safely in the baby backpack, on H's back of course. We have the diaper bag with waters and the Epi-pens, gym shoes on, and a camera. What more could we need.
We made it about 1/3 of the way up path and the older kids climbed a rock for a photo moment. I got a great picture. They then decided to climb a few feet higher because that would be even better right? No it was not! PT's foot rested on a tree and it disturbed a beehive. Bees swarmed L and PT. They began schreeching at insane decibels as they slide down the rock to me. They were trashing about as they continued to be stung. The added danger of falling off the mountain path during this trashing was enough to send us all into a panic. We quickly moved down the mountain a few yards to assess the damage and try to keep all 6 of us safely on the path.
Are you kidding me?
Poor L kept sobbing and yelling, "I can still hear it buzzing." I began swatting at her hair to find one attached to her neck and one entangled in her thick hair. There was also a large stinger sticking out of her ear too. She had been stung 3 times :(
"Give me a credit card." I bark at poor H who is carrying JJ on his back and trying to calm poor PT.
(Just so you know, if you are stung by a bee you use a credit card to sweep the stinger out. Pinching or tweezing will release more of the venom into the skin.)
"I am trying, honey." he responded. I know he was resisting the urge to tell me off for barking at him, which would have been justified. I couldn't help it, I was like mama bear and manners were not considered necessary at the moment. (Sorry honey.)
Meanwhile, a couple without kids in their late 20's or early 30's, proceeded to run past us, avoiding eye contact, as they headed down the mountain. Not so much as a, "Do you need us to get a ranger?" or "Do you need help?" We weren't even around the bees anymore at this time.
JERKS! Are you kidding me?
Then onto assess PT. This guy was stung 6 times and was beside himself. I just kept thinking, where is our epinephrine, just in case. As far as we knew, they were not allergic to bee stings but who knows how the body will react to multiple stings.
Long story shorter, I gave them each a dose of Benadryl for the itching and swelling. A nice woman appeared from further down the mountain with Neosporin spray. She must have went down a bit to get it and climbed back up to us. SWEETIE!
H and I made a decision to make it up that cotton-pickin' mountain. We didn't want this to be the only memory they had of this hike and of being outdoors. Keep in mind, we are basically faking it with the kids. H and I are not outdoorsy to begin with, but we want the kids to value it...and this is what happens. Oh well, we must continue on!!
We made it to the falls while continuously, encouraging and comforting the kids. This also included holding onto the older ones, especially PT who would jump back dangerously near the edge of the mountain path anytime he saw, or though he saw something flying by or if he saw a big rock.
"AHHH! IT'S A BEE!!" he'd cry out.
Once we made it, PT's Benadryl kicked in and he was in a semi-zombie state. He even sat in my lap as I held him. I jokingly told H that we needed to try Benadryl more often just so I could get the snuggles I need and deserve. We splashed and played in the cool water. This is why we came.
By the time we made it back down the mountain (and avoiding falls off the mountain), I was feeling a little cocky. "Wanna go ahead and drive to the top elevation? It is only a 1/2 mile walk up from where we park." I say to H. After all, our vacation was almost over. H agreed. We gave the kids a small snack and planned for a late lunch.
We drove for miles up the mountain, all the while, completely distracted by the unbelievable scenery. Seriously people, you have got to check it out sometime if you are in the Gatlinburg area. Then we hear, "Bing." Yep, that was the gas light turning on in the car. We still had 6 more miles to go before reaching our destination. Are you kidding me?
H's face was priceless. It said, "Oh crap!" He looked at me and said, "We've got to turn around and get out of the park to find a gas station."
With quiet disappointment and worry, we made our way back down the mountain.
All of a sudden, J woke up and began crying and yelling about having to go to the bathroom. "We are not stopping this car right now. You need to hold it." H replies. She keeps going in her someone-woke-a-bear kind of way. In desperation, I throw a dum-dum at her just to distract her. The other kids start whining because I only have one. "I don't want her to poop her pant guys. You can wait!" I add.
Are you kidding me?
In the middle of all of this, traffic slows, a cyclist gets in the way of progress, AND we hear JJ throw up. L, who is next to her, is completely disgusted and we are unable to do much about it at the moment. Now I just plain feel like I am being "punked" or something.
Are you kidding me?
We made it to the bottom of the mountain...made it out of the park...to the nearest gas station. H filled the car up with the most gas we have ever needed. We were on fumed, seriously. J, L, and I make it to the lovely gas station restroom just in time for J to have the largest poop that any 4 year old should safely have. I wiped JJ off a bit. We ran through a drive-thru and took our trans-fats home to our cabin.
We finally laugh.
We made it. Not how we planned. We never did make it back up to the top. We compromised and drove to the outlook spot for the 2nd highest elevation (Newfoundland Gap) the next day. We took a few pictures and headed home.
J put it best when she said, "I was outside all day yesterday, and I am NOT doing that again."
I guess that was her way of saying, "Are you kidding me?"