I put pictures on Facebook, but I will take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about our trip to Suwannee Springfest, a music festival that we went to last weekend. Raziya invited us to join her and Marley there, so the kids and I left on Thursday morning. It took us 5.5 hours to get there. Four and a half hours of driving time, plus two 30 minute stops. Lotus got bored a lot and kept asking to nurse. When we finally got there, it was so nice to get out of the car and explore the park a little bit, but finally I felt the need to find a campsite and set up before dark. At that point, Lotus finally fell asleep, so I was able to set up in peace! The park is really big, and you can camp anywhere, not just in designated sites, but finally I just picked a quiet spot in the woods walking distance to the river. As night fell, I saw two owls swooping and landing in trees, and Solana and I watched a racoon climb a tree.
Friday we walked down to the festival activities. We swung in hammocks, listened to music, met some people, went to the kids' tent, and then caught a ride back to our campsite from a nice man in a golf cart. Then we waited for Raziya and Marley to get there. It was so great to see them again after 7 months!
Saturday it poured. We went to the store in my van for bananas, oranges, and umbrellas. It was raining so hard I could barely see the road. But it stopped. We bought some firewood and went back to the festival. In the late afternoon, David arrived. We went for a walk to the river, made a fire, ate some food, went to listen to some awesome music, and sat around our fire.
Sunday we went back to the river beach. The sand was really fine, and the beach was very sloped. Quite different than the ocean. The water looked like it wasn't even moving, until you got in. There was a rope swing hanging from a tree on the other side and people were swinging and jumping off. I decided I couldn't miss this chance for an adrenaline rush. The part I was most nervous about was the coldness of the water. So once I started swimming across the river, that part was dealt with. It's called the Suwannee River, but it's hard to think of it as a river compared to the rivers in Peru. In the jungle, the rivers are wide, with visible currents, and in the mountains they are fast and rocky. This looked more like a canal to me. I say this just to explain that swimming "across the river" was no big deal at all. The only hard part was dealing with the current when I got to the other side, which got suddenly much stronger at the edge. But there were porous rocks to grab onto, with big hand holds. I climbed up to the rope, found a stick to reach the rope, and prepared to jump. By then I was shaking with cold and nerves, so I passed the rope to a guy that had just showed up. After he and his friend jumped and the crowd had stopped cheering (and looking!) at me, I jumped. I didn't want to do it while I was shaking because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hold on long enough to be over the water. As soon as I was swinging and letting go, my only thought was, "Again!" So I climbed up and jumped a second time and then swam back to my family. Pretty soon David decided to leave, but the kids and I stayed and played in the sand and water for a long time. Solana said it was the best day ever! Eventually we did have to leave, and headed out around 5:30. Got home at 10:45 after stopped 4 times. The trip home was mostly peaceful, punctuated by a couple loud, brief screaming sessions. Mostly having to do with using the potty (in the van) and having to smell the other kid's poop and hear the other kid's screams until I could pull over. I'm not a big fan of driving that long with no other adults, but it was worth it. It was great to be out in nature, with friends, and have new experiences.
I got a tick on my thigh, Lotus had two ticks, on her chest and neck, and Solana had two ticks, on her thigh and on her head. Lotus never knew about hers; we removed them while she was sleeping, but Solana found both hers herself. I removed the one on her thigh while she was awake, but I had to remove the one on her head while she was asleep. Hope we didn't get Lyme disease!
During the four days, we ate all raw food. It was actually quite convenient for camping. We didn't have to make fires or wash dishes. We ate about 40 bananas (mostly by Solana), carrots, cucumbers, spinach, celery, cabbage (from Dana's garden), about 2 dozen oranges and a dozen apples, nuts, raisins, dips I had made ahead of time out of nuts and veggies, dehydrated food that I had made such as trail mix bars, kale chips, granola, and fake meat (made from walnuts, mushrooms, zucchini, parsley, tamari and lemon juice.) I started out with ice in one of the coolers, but even though it melted after the first day, nothing spoiled. At meal time, I would open the coolers and spread a bunch of stuff out and Lotus and I would just sit there and eat with our hands. The most I had to do was peel and slice a few things on the cutting board. The cucumbers were so crunchy, I sliced them into circles and enjoyed them like chips. Lotus made forests out of carrot sticks in the dips. I had one made from almonds, one from cashews, and one from sesame seeds and zucchini. She liked all of them, and devoured the kale chips. She was very upset when the oranges ran out on the way home.
It was sad saying goodbye to Raziya and Marley, but they are planning to come visit us on their Spring Break in a couple weeks!!