A Better Place

My fellow camp host’s young daughter, Daisy, made the world a better place yesterday.

The pup in the picture to the left is a stray, wandering the roads around our campground and surrounding neighborhood for at least the last two months.  No one has been able to get within a hundred feet of him.  As soon as he spotted you, he would take off with lightning speed.  It was remarkable how fast he could run on his tiny legs, especially since one of them appeared to be injured, giving him a sorry limp when he wasn’t flying.

We wondered what his story might be.  Had he been abandoned?  Had he been abused, causing such absolute rejection of all friendly outreach, including bacon and other goodies offered by campers?  Maybe he had been born feral and never knew human touch, loving or otherwise.

Yesterday our head maintenance man found him inside the pool enclosure.  He closed a gate so the pup could not get out, then hung out around the fence line, occasionally trying to get closer to the frightened little captive, who maintained as much distance between them as the fencing allowed.

Enter Daisy.

Daisy and her mother saw the pup in the pool area and asked the maintenance man if Daisy could give it a try.  He let her into the gate.  She sat down.  The pup immediately came over and climbed into her lap.

The world’s measure of good and bad tipped ever so lovingly to the good side at that moment.

FullSizeRender-1537I could not have imagined the kind of transformation that took place before our eyes.  The pup, whom Daisy named Scrappy, melted into her arms as she carried him back to the campground.  He let people pet him without flinching.  He accepted being dunked in a big tub and scrubbed by Daisy’s parents until his fleas abandoned ship and drowned in Dawn dish detergent (Daisy’s mom knows all sorts of handy things).  He politely accepted a new purple collar and leash and proceeded to hop along on his three good legs as Daisy walked him through the campground.

We canvassed the campers and camp staff.  We searched our own hearts and household situations.  There did not seem to be a viable adopter on site for little Scrappy.  So we called a local rescue organization, Forgotten Angels.  Polly Rogers, their director, came over in person.  She took Scrappy to the vet right away.  The limp is the result of an old injury, including a broken pelvis bone that healed over.  He has skin irritation from fleas.  Otherwise, he looks to be in pretty good shape considering his recent lifestyle!

FullSizeRender-1541The vet also scanned Scrappy for chip information and discovered that he had been adopted out of a shelter as a puppy two years ago.  When that family was contacted, they claimed they had given him away to someone else after a year.  Due diligence done in establishing there was not a loving home in search of their lost dog, Polly will take good care of Scrappy until she finds his forever-family.

And that world scale?  It tipped a little bit more towards the light.

(Here is a link to Forgotten Angels for anyone looking to adopt a wonderful pet from the east Tennessee area:  http://forgottenangels.petfinder.com.  You can also find them by searching on Facebook for Forgotten Angels, Greeneville, TN.  If you are unable to adopt, please consider making a donation to an animal shelter or rescue organization close to your heart or home.  Donations to Forgotten Angels, a 501C3 organization, are tax deductible.)


Dawny and I have broken out of our rut and have taken a few day trips–some with friends!–into east Tennessee and far southwest Virginia these past couple of weeks.  This post shares some gems we have found for fellow campers interested in this area.  I put links to the parks at the end of the post for the convenience of interested readers.

First, we finally made it to the little campground in the mountains that we have been wanting to see since we arrived in Tennessee back in June.  Rock Creek Park Recreation Area is located in the Cherokee National Forest a few miles outside of Erwin, Tennessee.  The day-use area has a swimming hole carved into a hollow where the creek naturally flows, and there are nice hiking trails throughout the park.  Camping sites are thickly shaded and have electrical hookups.  Potable water is available from a shared spigot and there is a dump station.  Three campground loops contain a total of about three dozen camping sites.  They are on gravel pads, very roomy, and mostly level.  Sites are non-reservable and are rented on a first come, first served basis.  At just $20 per night, I would call Rock Creek a charmer of a deal.

FullSizeRender-1542For more primitive types (not meant as a personal crack but aimed at campers seeking a more natural experience with few amenities), the Horse Creek and Paint Creek Recreation Areas have small campgrounds with no hookups for just $10 per night.  Also located in the Cherokee National Forest, they lie south of Greeneville, Tennessee.  They provide gorgeous spots for picnicking, hiking, and creek swimming/wading.  Like Rock Creek, these campgrounds are also first come, first served.  Modest sized RV’s can fit on many of the sites, but they are heavily treed and hilly so the longer, taller rigs might find navigating and parking challenging, if not impossible.  In addition to there being no electrical or water hookups, there is no dump station.  For the more adventurous, minimalist camper, however, Horse Creek and Paint Creek are absolutely lovely.

FullSizeRender-886East of Greeneville is a state park campground attractive for history buffs and fans of Fess Parker alike.  Cue music…  Davy, Davy Crockett…  Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park in Limestone, Tennessee is unusual for state parks in this neck of the woods because it offers full hookups (Electric/Water/Sewer) as well as pull-through sites.  Perched on the banks of the Nolichucky River, the park boasts some nice hiking paths, picnic areas, a small boat ramp, and a pool.  A replica of the cabin Davy was born in and a visitors center/museum round out the experience.  Camping sites range from $13.50 for tent sites, $22.50 for E/W hookup (suitable for smaller RVs), and $27.50 for full hookup sites that can accommodate larger rigs.

Cautionary note:  Tennessee is so very, very proud of dear Davy that they actually have not one, but two state parks bearing his name.  The other one is David Crockett State Park in central Tennessee.  I don’t know if state authorities are just messing with our heads or they simply lack imagination.  In either case, take care to pick the one you actually want if you make reservations.

Heading northeast towards Virginia, Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport, Tennessee is very convenient to I-81 and about 20 miles from the Virginia border.  For RV campers, sites with E/W hookup run just $20 per night.  There are two dump stations.  Sites vary in size, with some suitable for smaller campers and others big enough for larger rigs.  Although the campground is cut into the side of a hill, most sites are fairly level with a good mix of sun and shade.  The campground is situated above the Patrick Henry Reservoir on the Holston River and offers loads of activities, including boating, hiking, picnicking, and fishing, with a pool, a golf course, and riding stables nearby.

Since we are so close, let’s make one stop in good old Virginia.  It’s a sweet one, trust me.  North of Kingsport, cross into Virginia on I-26/23 and head towards Big Stone Gap.  On the way, you will stumble upon Natural Tunnel State Park (Duffield, Virginia).  As is the case with all Virginia state parks, the camping fees are on the steep side ($35 for E/W for non-Virginia residents, $30 for residents), but it is a unique and beautiful place.  There are two campground loops on top of a mountain.  Sites are spacious and pretty level; some are shadier than others.  They also have rental cabins and a pool.

FullSizeRender-1535About halfway down the mountain is the Natural Tunnel day-use area and visitors center.  Several trails branch out from there, including a couple that go up the mountain and one that goes down.  One of the upper trails leads to Lovers Leap, the final launching point of a couple of Native American Romeo & Juliet types (alas for boundless, timeless–but not weightless–ill fated love).

For $4.00, a chairlift will take you safely to the bottom, but I did not trust that Dawny wouldn’t kill us both by hurtling over the lap-bar should they even let us on the thing in the first place.  So we took the trail.  At the bottom we met a cheerful little river (actually, now it is just a big creek) that worked together with ground water to carve a massive tunnel over 850 feet long, up to 100 feet high, and 200 feet wide through the guts of this mountain range over a million years ago.  Stuff like this just boggles my mind…  I love it!  In the late 19th century, entrepreneurs and engineers laid a railway line that accompanies the creek through the tunnel.  It is still in operation.

That ends today’s tour through this little patch of America.  Whether you be one of those sturdy tent-camping types or you pull a 40-foot fifth-wheel trailer, I hope you found something worthwhile.  Below are direct links to the parks I mentioned so that you can easily investigate details specific to your interests and situation.  Happy trails!

Rock Creek Park Recreation Area:


Horse Creek Recreation Area:


Paint Creek Recreation Area:


Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park:


Warriors Path State Park:


Natural Tunnel State Park:






I am happy to report that I have written and published a second ebook.

Billy:  A Campground Chronicles Short Story” is now available on Amazon’s ebooks for $1.49.  Here is a direct link to the story on Amazon’s ebooks site if you are interested:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KNDV0FM.

Anyone who has been following this blog recently knows that it has been a bit of a struggle workamping for such a long stretch at the same place and, as an introvert, dealing with so many people–a few of them quite difficult–as part of the job.  Well, the bright side to all of that is that it has given me time and material for this short story.  I have also gained fresh appreciation for the connections that tie us together.

Despite the challenges of the job, there are so many things I love about my stay here in Tennessee.  I have grown especially fond of the people.  You see, I am a city girl for the most part.  To sit for a spell in the countryside where people visit with a stranger until they discover just when and how they know each other’s people was quite foreign to me.  Heck, even though no one here is likely to ever discover a link with “my people,” I have been accepted and loved.  I suppose that makes me the first of my people in this neck of the woods.

But let’s get back to Billy.  Billy and his family also came to this campground without having local roots and branches.  They came with a very large family to camp for a couple of weeks while the parents went off during the day to… well, I don’t know for certain, but I always guessed it was to look for a livelihood somewhere in the surrounding community.  Perhaps they were looking to plant some roots in this rich soil.

Billy himself was a delight and a challenge, a devil and an angel.  As a camp host, I did my best to deal with him directly, as well as with the campers with whom he made contact.  It wasn’t always easy, but in the end it was totally worthwhile.

This short story is an attempt to convey to the reader how we connect with one another in our daily lives.  It is also a reminder to take care.  Take care how we treat each other, take care with our assumptions and our judgements, and take care of our own little worlds and those in our orbit.  Finally, take care to be open to precious gifts when and where you least expect to find them.

I hope some of you will give this story a try and, if you enjoy it, please consider giving it a review on Amazon’s ebooks site.  Positive reviews are very helpful to an aspiring author’s endeavors and enable future readers to find the book more easily.

Thanks, and happy reading!

(Link to my Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/author/carolevans.)