The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a highlight of our yearly vacation. We’d set up our six-person tent, toast marshmallows, tell stories, fight a tide of rainwater in our tent during the night, launder our sleeping bags in Gatlinburg, and go hiking.
We always camped by a creek. I loved to watch the water striders on the pools along the bank. Their shadows had spots on the tips of the legs where they dented the surface tension.
After three days we were all grimy, sweaty, and bug-bitten. I always felt that this made me one with nature.