Day two of our Cloudland Canyon hiking/camping adventure was the best and worst day of the trip. Ryan had some of my favorite things up his sleeve still (swimming and great views), but sadly it was the last day of playing in nature before heading back to our urban homestead.
The morning started slow with adorable moments provided by Eleanor who had made her way between Ryan and I after returning from her bathroom break. Right as I was finding myself dozing back off to sleep, I was awakened by the morning breath that Ellie was blowing in my face with every exhale.
That precious little mouth was too much for me and before much longer the whole tent was alert and longing for a morning up of coffee. Ryan had us caffeinated in no time thanks to simple instant Starbucks packets, and we were able to slowly pack up camp while our oatmeal cooked. I can’t decide what I love more, dinner by the campfire or the sight of morning coffee after a night under the stars. It’s a tough call.
With camp officially packed up, we took one last look around to ensure nothing was left behind and headed back to the truck. I might have made a few sad puppy dog faces on the way out. If only we could camp one more night…
First on the agenda was to knock out one last hike around Cloudland Canyon, the 5 mile West Rim Loop Trail. Like the Waterfalls Trail, within a 5 minute drive we were at the trail head. Keeping up with Cloudland theme, we were greeted by expansive views right off the bat.
Overall the hike was easy and there was something to see at nearly every turn. The heat is what was killing us, so we soaked up the last few views and skipped out on the extended 2 miles of the trail to head back to the car. Watermelon was calling my name (I can’t get enough of the stuff lately), and we had one more very important stop to make before heading home.
From the Cloudland West Rim Loop Trail, we drove an hour south to Little River Canyon Falls in Alabama. I love my husband for planning this swimming venture. He knows just how to make my day. Not only do I seek water hikes from the time temperatures start to rise every year, but I had been yearning to feel weightless in a pool of water ever since our little bean (aka baby girl) really started popping out.
It was fairly easy to find the parking for the Little River Falls, but we struggled to actually reach the water. We tried following the directions that we printed off and got lost in the woods. We even started to follow another visitor who had his family take a roughly cut path that looked to be more worn by locals. Somehow we lost track of them and couldn’t find where the trail was going. We had enough of the overgrow trail and were feeling the crunch of time. Frustrated with the lack of direction, we chose to stay atop the falls and swim in the smaller pools of water.
It was quite some time after we made the call that we finally saw the man we met and his family getting in at the bottom of the falls. It all worked out for us. We were able to swim with ease and Eleanor got to take a dip for the very first time. First time camping and swimming back-to-back? The girl was having the time of her life.
They say all good things must come to an end, and this trip was no exception. Ryan and I have more adventures we plan to squeeze in before we bring home a baby. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep these memories in my pocket and sport a big cheesy grin over them.