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Author Sara L. Foust graciously agreed to share with us today.
Our favorite campground is Frozen Head State Park. One of the most memorable trips is the very first time we visited this lovely, secluded park. We didn’t know what to expect since we’d never even driven by.
To get to Frozen Head, we drove toward Washburn and took a right at the sign for the park, and the prison (I must admit that made me nervous the first visit or two). At the end of the road, we turned right 90 degrees and rounded a curve. It was like we had entered another world. A beautiful tunnel of ancient trees with limbs chock-full of their springtime leaves encircled our vehicle. The road wound around several more sharp curves, a clear, shallow creek following our progress. We turned left over an old-style wooden bridge and up a short hill.
The campground of twenty-some-odd sites rested in shade with patches of sunlight filtering through the trees and playing on the leafy ground. We picked a site, set up our tent and other sparse gear, and started a fire. Soon my brother and his best friend and my cousin and her German shepherd joined us. I don’t really remember much about the evening, but the morning is unforgettable.
We got up super early to cook breakfast before my husband had to leave and drive into town for an exam for a potential job with the Knoxville Fire Department. A chorus of barred owls, at least six in different trees, greeted us along with the smell of frying sausage.
None of us thought to look up. If we had, we would have noticed the lack of stars. Midway through cooking, a torrential downpour opened like a giant faucet from the sky. It took seconds to fill our pan with enough water to ruin the sausage. My poor husband got a quick hug and a “good luck” from me as I dove for cover. He left for his exam and I took a nap with our dogs in the cozy tent and listened to the steady drip overhead. My brother and my cousin ended up riding out the storm in their vehicles and later told us how uncomfortable and hot they had been.
At the time, we were simply too exhausted to be happy. But now, thirteen years later, I understand why people tell you it’s memories like these you’ll never forget.
Frozen Head has played a big part in my adult life. We camp there nearly every year and I’ve watched my children grow up in the pictures of our trips. We’ve lost pets that appeared in those early pictures, but gained children. We’ve changed to a camper most years, but I miss that tent.
It was an easy setting to choose for my first novel, Callum’s Compass, since the entire park is so near and dear to my heart. I’ve hiked the Debord Falls and Emory Gap trail many times.
If you haven’t joined my newsletter friends group, I would love to have you. I give away a digital scrapbook I created that has pictures of some of the real-life locations that inspired scenes in Callum’s Compass for signing up, including a few from Frozen Head! You can sign up here.