Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lula Lake Land Trust

This fall weather absolutely could not be more perfect. I was so happy to wake up yesterday to the temperature being in the 40's. It had definitely been long awaited. One reason I love the cooler weather is because it's our favorite time to pick back up on our hiking. It's a little too hot for us to do a whole lot of hiking in the summer. And I cannot stand the amount of ticks out in the warmer months. I am not a fan of picking them off of Dexter. Gross.

Needless to say, yesterday morning was a first of many that we will be exploring new terrain. We first heard of Lula Lake from a friend earlier this year. We've been waiting to go ever since. The area is only open to the public twice a month, on the first and last Saturday of each month.

We ended up using the provided trail map, which really was not much help. I'm sure it was for most people. However, we were easily distracted. More than once we walked right past specific trails we were trying to find. It worked out better for us in the end though. We found a great overlook and ended up on the Adventure Trail. It was just the type of trail Cagney likes, full of terrain and elevation change.

There were around six miles of trails to hike. We didn't make it to all the trails and never made it to the lake. They were having some type of event at the lake for their 20th anniversary. We thought it would be best to stay on the road less traveled so Dexter wouldn't have to be on the leash. He doesn't want to be on his leash. He's a wild animal.

We did make it to the falls. It was a beautiful sight to see. And Dexter couldn't have been happier to see water, even if it was freezing. Which we can attest to because Dexter thinks it's fun to shake cold water on us. It is not.

It was a great morning to a great weekend. I just love days like these. We hope the weather next weekend is just as nice so we can hike it up first thing Saturday morning. Although, I know the forecast isn't looking so good. A girl can hope.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pool Party!

Once again one of our favorite days of the year has surpassed us, Doggie Paddle Pool Party! No matter how many years in a row we go, we never lose any amount of excitement. It's hard not be happy when you see that smile on Dexter's face.

Dexter wasted no time jumping in the pool this year. He by no means launches in like some of the other dogs; but, he is improving. At least he isn't hesitating anymore. And we didn't have any bleeding like last year.

We cannot say the same thing about our abilities to get him out of the pool though. No improvements whatsoever. Short of getting him to use the stairs or overcrowded ramp, I'm starting to believe there isn't an easy way to get Dexter's 80 pound butt out of the pool.

Dexter was very possessive of his tennis balls yesterday. He would just about race any dog so that he was the first one to it. And then he refused to give it up once he got out of the pool. I'm sure we looked like fools running around after him trying to get his ball.

The only downside to this day, if there even was one, was the weather. For the past three years, the weather hasn't been great on this day. Yesterday was the coldest day of them all. Although you probably couldn't tell from our photos. We weren't going to let a little fall weather ruin our afternoon!

We have to admit we're sad that this will be our last pool party here in Chattanooga, as we'll be moving next year after Cagney graduates. We're hoping we can find something like this back home in South Carolina. And if we can't, we may just have to come back and visit on this very special weekend.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Katie Visits TN!

My little sister has come and gone. She was here visiting for the past week. I was so happy to have her here. Dexter was happy to have her visiting too. He loves his Aunt Katie! It had been a year since we saw her last. And it's been ages since we've got together just the two of us. Last time she visited me by herself was back when I was living in Northern California. It was nice for the two of us to visit again and get some quality sister time in. We had a fun filled week with little downtime; there was no rest for the weary.

We started off her first morning here with a hike at Stringer's Ridge. Dexter led us astray down the wrong trail. It is safe to say it was a trail less traveled based on the number of spiders/spider webs we ran into. That's what I get for following him.

On Thursday, we hit up the local jump park. This was Katie's first visit to a trampoline place. She's much more adventurous than I am, but I am making progress. It's only a matter of time before I'm doing back flips. Or breaking my neck.

We went paddle boarding on Friday and had a blast. I learned that Katie isn't used to lake water. She is a California girl and loves the beach. She didn't exactly want to be in the lake in fear that the fish may eat her alive. She may have also asked me if there were alligators in the lake. Of course there is.

Saturday morning we drank coffee at Velo Coffee Roasters. We thought we knew a thing or two about coffee. We were wrong. Apparently we don't know a thing about it. We then spent the rest of the day working out at the park and relaxing by the pool. A little relaxation is always needed when you are on vacation.

A visit to Chattanooga wouldn't be the same without a whitewater rafting trip. So that's just what we did on Sunday! Cagney made it home this weekend just in time to join us too. Per my request, we only rafted the Middle Ocoee. I was too chicken to go all in. Not anymore though. I'm all ready for the full trip now. Thank you to our wonderful neighbor for making it all happen!

Katie's trip ended with a memorable camping trip (if you can call it that) at Fall Creek Falls. Our night ended up being cut short because of the torrential down pour that was amongst us. We tried to wait it out, only to discover that our tent was not water proof. It was no fun packing up muddy camping gear in the rain.

The best highlight from Katie's visit included her literally almost dying as she screamed and ran/tripped/fell away from what she thought was a yellow jacket. It was probably a fly. I absolutely wish I had it on film. I'm just happy she didn't hurt herself. It was definitely a close call.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getaway @ Edisto Island

This past weekend we were blessed with the opportunity to spend the weekend at Edisto Island with Cagney's family. They rented a beach house for the week. We weren't fortunate enough to stay the whole week due to school and work obligations, but we're happy we got to go at all.

Our trip started out bumpy on Friday. Our original plan was to board Dexter; however, upon arrival we found out they'd changed some of their policies. I was not a happy mom and wasn't having it. So we left the kennel, Dexter in tow, and drove back home. We had to repack the whole truck to accommodate Dexter. I can't imagine letting him ride in the truck bed for 4 hours. After a late start, we finally hit the road! To top everything off, we ran into bad traffic after a short while. Our 4 hour trip quickly turned into a 5+ hour drive. And to no availability, it stormed when we arrived at Edisto. No beaching for us on Friday!

We were actually quite ecstatic to bring Dexter along because he's never been tot he beach before! We were excited to see how he'd react because he's such a water lover. We were up bright and early on Saturday morning to beat the crowd and break the leash laws. Only to realize Dexter was afraid of the waves. We should've known. Nonetheless, he had fun. We all did!

The weather was perfect the rest of the day. We got plenty of beach time - soaking up the sun, skim boarding, and boogie boarding. Cagney spent most of the time in the water, while I mostly relaxed. Because let's face it, I don't like feeling the bottom of the ocean. I did manage to get in the water for a bit though. It's hard to say no to Kaylin when she continues to say, "Aunt Julie, come play with me!"

We were sad to have to say goodbye to everyone. We definitely wish we could've come down earlier. We feel like our time was so short, but that's because it was. Either way, any time is better than no time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Camping at Tims Ford Lake

On a whim we decided to go camping this past weekend at Tims Ford Lake. We didn't actually camp at the main campground, but rather at the Fairview campground. A lake front campsite is a requirement when choosing the perfect location and that wasn't something the main campground offered. Both campgrounds were full of campers, something we aren't really fond of. Luckily, we chose a stretch of sites that were designated for tent camping only. Even though we technically are "car" campers, we still truly enjoy the outdoors and the peacefulness it brings.

Without a doubt we can tell your Dexter had the most fun of the three of us. His fun began the moment we pulled into our site - he jumped out of the truck window and ran into the lake. Thank you, Dexter, for giving us time to get out and open your door for you. Not. He literally could not contain his excitement. And that is why a lake front campsite is a necessity.

Dexter swam his little heart out while Cagney and I got everything set up. It wasn't long before I joined Dexter in the lake - on my floaty. I don't dare swim in the water. There are fish in there. I have chosen the perfect floaty that guards my body from all living creatures in the lake, with the exception of an 80 pound furry fish. Why yes, this floaty is big enough for two. Always.

After hours of swimming (and a nice hike at Tims Ford State Park), we were all starved. Cagney went to gather us some wood. He always does. The he proceeded to teach me how to build a fire because I can't remember from all the times he told me before. We ate typical camping food: hot dogs and potatoes. We're still figuring out works for us. Next time we're thinking we'll go with a stew. Pretend we're living in the olden days and cook it in a cast iron cauldron.

Our night was finished off with smores and ghost stories. I have officially decided I don't like smores of any type. I don't know what it is, I'm just not a fan. I do love me some plain ol' toasted marshmallows though. I eat them right up. 

The last time we went camping we bought a book about real ghost stories in South Carolina. We only bring it out when camping. We try to read a story that happened close to were we are camping to multiply the scariness. Of course that doesn't really work when your camping in Tennessee.

Early to bed, early to rise. Or as Dexter says: early to bed, early to swim. You bet he had us all up and awake as soon as the sun peaked over the trees. He was well rested and ready to go.

We soon stumbled out of the tent to make coffee, which didn't work. Thanks Pinterest. Not having coffee in the morning is just unacceptable; thus, we are now on the hunt for a camping french press. At least our breakfast was delicious.

There was once a time (years ago) when we thought we wanted to be back country camping type of people. We quickly learned that we really weren't cut out for that. We like being comfortable and clean. And we really like eating good food.