My legs are sore, but in a good way. This weekend I took the family camping and hiking in Tunica Hills, north of St. Francisville. For someone used to living below sea level, the steep bluffs of Clark Creek Natural Area provide a welcome challenge. We belayed using vines to get to the base of a waterfall, we grabbed onto tree roots to pull ourselves up a ravine and we clambered over boulders in the creek’s bed. It was sweaty and muddy and a ton of fun. And we didn’t have a phone on us. Even my watch had run out of juice. We were device free. Heaven.
Until we took a break at a summit overlooking the spring forest, with a hawk circling below. At that moment I wished I could take a picture and expressed that thought. My husband, who has an extremely close relationship with his phone, but respected my personal rule of device detox while camping, smiled. We can come back tomorrow, he suggested, and take a few pictures then. We were riding high on endorphins and wholeheartedly agreed. We finished the loop and after three hours, the backpack was empty of snacks, the water bottles were empty and even my young dogs were walking slowly. The leisurely afternoon involved a hammock, then campfire dinner and s’mores, and we slept like rocks in our tiny tent.
Did we return to Clark Creek after breakfast with a cell phone in the pocket? You bet! Did we hike the full loop again? Nope. At one my point one of dogs started to whimper and lay down in protest. So we took a shortcut trail to one of the prettiest waterfalls and snapped some family photos there, then moseyed back to the campsite with the phone back in the pocket. No, electronic devices are not always evil. They’re pretty handy tools that can simplify or enhance our lives. And they can capture a memory to treasure long after our wobbly legs feel strong again.