It was nice to wake up in a bed.  I set my alarm clock for 5:30, because I wanted to have time to get the laundry done before we met with our friends.  I wrang out all of the clothes that had been soaking overnight, trying not to gag from the smell of the dirty, brown water. 

Laundry was underway.  Hotels in hiker towns can be extremely interesting places.  I’m not quite sure what possesses someone to walk through a hotel in not much more than a handtowel covering their bodies, but apparently that is what a hiker does when they only have one change of clothes and want to wash them.  Apparently, 5:30 wasn’t early enough.  Haha!  I ate a quick bite for breakfast, and attempted to write some posts to update the blog  while I waited to change the loads. 

Eventually, Ryan and the kids made their way down to the dining area.  Ravenous hikers were chowing down on bagels and waffles, and drinking copious amounts of caffeine.  It is so entertaining.  I would love to be a constant fly on the wall… so long as I had no sense of smell.  

Ms. Janet drove in to pick up a group of hikers that were going to be slack packing their way through some of the terrain.  What a novel idea… hike without packs and return to a warm, dry place to sleep for the night. Love it!

Pigpen and Shutterbug were in the van, with loaded water guns… At 8:30 in the morning a water gun fight ensued just outside the main lobby doors.  Grown adults shooting eachother with water guns, hilarious!  The hikers all left, we finished up laundry, and waited for our friends Danny and Kathryn to arrive. 

When they showed up at about 10:45, we helped them rearrange their van, as to make it possible to transport our family and bags over to the Nolichucky Gorge Campground, where we would be spending time later in the afternoon with our friend, Jamie.   It was so awesome to see familiar faces again!  

We managed to get all of our belongings and people over to the campground… unloaded everything into the cabin, and left for lunch.  Our friend, Everest, had told us about this little BBQ place, so we HAD to check it out. 

Authentic BBQ is hard to find where we are from.  This was a real treat!!!  Enjoying this treat with Danny and Kathryn, simply splendid.  This sweet couple is on staff with Cadence International.  They are missionaries to the military community worldwide.  They ministered to our family when we were stationed at Fort Bragg.  To have them join us for even a few short hours, while we are out here, was a blessing.  

We had some candid conversations.  I value Kathryn’s discernment, conviction and passion.  It was so good to be able to sit and visit with a friend, who longs to see life change in each of us.   Ryan and Danny played a game for a while with the kids, and then spent sometime talking afterward.  Before they left, we came together as couples to pray.  Soul food, heart food, good food… the time, though short, was perfect, and perfectly needed. 

Please pray for Danny and Kathryn.  Please pray for them as they pour our into the lives of the military community in and around Fort Bragg.  Please pray for their four sons.  Currently, three of the four are overseas, one of them in a combat zone.  Their fourth son will be joining the military after he finishes his schooling.  

After hugs and farewells… Ryan took the kids and Belle down to the river for a swim.  The water was freezing, but the air was somewhere around 90 degrees, so it was super refreshing for all of them. 

While they were down there, they found a whole bunch of butterflies hanging out together.  I have never seen anything quite like it… it was absolutely amazing. 

Seriously, isn’t that crazy!?!?!

It wasn’t too much longer until Jamie, his son, Samuel, and Samuels friend, Levi, all showed up.  We ate pizza until we were completely stuffed to the brim, built a fire and hung out until late. 

Note about pictures:  When I am having a great time… I usually forget to take out the camera… it is a fatal flaw really, but I like to be a part of the memory making process! 

We made final plans for our white water rafting escapade, and headed off of bed.  Ryan and I even got to sleep in our very own cabin!!!  Thanks Dunlap family. 

Happy Trails ~ The Thru Crew

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