William’s great grandfather, with a large group of friends and acquaintances, purchased 3,000 acres of remote land in Jackson County the 1920s – for hunting, fishing, and investment. Somehow he, and then his descendents, were able to hold onto about 300 of those acres, which we call Tuckaseegee, through the Great Depression and all the change that happens in the economy and families over time. So the extended family can still enjoy the property today. And, they really enjoy it. This place is special to them. They have had their favorite memories and most fun times here, as well as their saddest times (2 uncles died here). William absolutely loves this place of river playing, trout fishing, waterfalls, remote hiking, and relaxing meadows. And, we decided to spend our fall break (or at least most of it) here.
At their new school, the girls have one week off for fall break, and we packed up and headed to Tuckaseegee last Tuesday. And by packing up, I mean that you need to bring nearly everything but the kitchen sink to this remote mountain cabin (old lumber camp): all your food, linens, towels, clothes for all weather, games, toys, firewood, blankets, soaps, toiletries, etc. This place is at least 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store (and has no phone or cell service and no internet), so you don’t want to forget anything. I am a perpetual under-packer and William, an over-packer, so when we go to Tuckaseegee it usually works out well for us. At this beginning of the week, temperatures got to 80 and by the end of the week it was in the low 30s in the morning. I was unprepared for the cold, but William had packed all the kids’ winter coats so we got by. Evva, for the second time this year, forgot to bring her shoes. Luckily, we invited friends to join us for the weekend and they brought extra shoes.
We hiked on the muddy flats of a drained lake, fished, canoed, did a little dunking before the cold weather came, had campfires, and played games. Then, our friends came for the weekend. Playing with friends is one of my favorite things to do at Tuckaseegee (my very favorite is sitting quietly in the meadow reading a book). Having friends to talk and laugh with, friends for the children (and us) to play games, explore, and splash in the river with – it is great fun. There were some great musicians among the friends and family who joined us, and I loved hearing the old time and Irish music while I cooked for the crowd, washed up, or put kids to bed. The kids also had a couple of fun games of real musical chairs.
This weekend also marked my absolute resignation to the coming of fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall – the colors, the coolness, crisp days, blue skies, apples and pumpkins, and all that. But, I also love summer and I will miss it – green trees, flowers, warmth, playing in water, vacation, less clothing, fresh melons, tomatoes, corn, etc. But, I gave up on summer when the weather turned cold and we got our first frost and trees were undeniably not-all-green. I am accepting the beauty of the red and gold on the mountains, the crystal clear blue skies and cooler temps, and mentally preparing for the colder season ahead.
This trip was a great way to welcome fall, and say good-bye to summer.