What Not to Wear

Despite the fact that we "city folk" could have been spotted a mile away, wearing our sundresses and flip flops....our excursion to the Rattlesnake Saloon went off without a hitch! I have a history of dressing erroneously in relation to the activity for which I am preparing to embark upon. Like for instance, when Will and I honeymooned in St. Lucia. I was delighted when we shuffled to the front desk of our beautiful, beachfront all-inclusive resort, with the intentions of planning one of our last activities for the week.  Everything had been picture perfect during our stay....sunset horseback rides on the sandy beaches bordering the calm Caribbean Sea, whale & dolphin watching in the vast, blue ocean, overshadowed by the natural beauty of the magnificent Pitons, basking in the cool, fresh water of the scenic Sault Falls....now nearing the end of our trip, we just had to choose between a tour of the volcano or the rainforest. After some careful deliberation, we decided to "take a tour through St. Lucia's National Rain Forest".

Now, I love clothes. And I love to get dressed up. So, I had painstakingly packed every kind of island gear I could get my hands on....sensible wetsuits and skimpy swimsuits, linen pants and breezy tops, and sundresses of almost every color.  When we decided to visit the rain forest, I opted to wear a black linen dress, a floppy straw hat, and some really cute wedge sandals. I reasoned that the linen would be cool, and the hat would shade me from the sun that would likely be peeking through the thicket of trees, and the wedges? I'm not sure why I picked those. No cognizant reason, that's for sure. Probably just because they were cute.

Well, we set out to see the sights, and I should have sensed that the expedition wouldn't turn out well. Our transportation was an old truck with makeshift benches attached to the bed, lined on both sides with two-by-fours, presumably to contain us tourists from falling to our death. We were expected to squeeze in the truck bed with 6 other couples, a tour guide, and a cooler full of drinks.  As I teetered into the dilapidated old truck, I casually noticed that the other girls weren't dressed like me. In fact, they were wearing t-shirts and shorts. And tennis shoes! I pretended not to sweat it, as Will tried to read my silent thoughts. Then before I could even assess the situation, we were off....bumping along the uneven, unpaved roads of St. Lucia, deep into the rainforest.  About 15 minutes in, I realized this "rainforest tour" wasn't what I was expecting. Thirty minutes after that, I had a horrible, mounting case of motion sickness.  And one horrible hour after that, we finally arrived at the rainforest. The tour guide proceeded to show us to the beginning of the trail, and things just got worse from there. I was hiking across uneven terrain, nearly dangling from precarious cliffs, and slipping through caves in these wretched 3 inch wedge sandals, all while trying to contain a repulsive feeling of nausea. I turned my ankle on a sharp, slippery rock, as we careened through a cave that was filled with water. My toe was sliced open, and I proceeded to bleed profusely. All I could imagine was that my foot would soon be encompassed with flesh eating parasites that I had contracted in the cave water of the West Indies. And I still had to ride 2 hours back to the resort on that bumbling truck.  Needless to say, I was inappropriately dressed for the situation. And for five fabulous years, Will has laughed about my poor choice in wardrobe. And now I can laugh with him, because I escaped relatively unharmed. Yes, I do have a scar on my toe that I will forever attribute to the St. Lucian Rain Forest, but I did not obtain the dreaded flesh eating parasites, and I left that island with more magnificent memories than I could have asked for.

You would think I would have learned my lesson about what not to wear.....

When one of our neighbors mentioned that he had taken his son out to a little place called Rattlesnake Saloon, we asked him all about it. He told us it would be great to take Hudson; a neat place, off the beaten path, with lots of animals and things to see.  Our friends, and neighbors, Josh & Lisa, shared our enthusiasm for visiting the saloon. We packed up our respective cars, loaded up our little boys (Hudson and Landon who you saw here), and set off for adventure in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Rattlesnake Saloon is located on the grounds of Seven Springs Lodge in Tuscumbia, Alabama. On the property, you can enjoy the beautiful, natural wilderness by exploring one of the many trails throughout the site. You can experience the trails on foot, by mountain bike, or even by horse. Sounds good, huh?  Well, considering between us we had two babies under the age of 2, there wasn't much for us to do. Sure, jumping on a horse and riding into the sunset sounds like a blast! Unfortunately, you can't do that with a baby.  At least little Landon was big enough to sit on a horse....and what a cute picture! Will, Hudson, and I just looked on from our seat at the saloon, which by the way was pretty neat.

When we arrived, we probably looked like fish out of water.  Lisa and I in our sundresses, pushing strollers containing our sweet babies....her Landon dressed in Polo and my Hudson dressed in a seersucker bubble suit. We were definitely out of place among the Harley riders, horse wranglers, and good ol' country folk, as we scurried down the dusty, dirt paths.

We were strolling happily along our way, when a big truck (not unlike the one in my St. Lucia Rain Forest story, folks) pulled up and offered us a ride, touting a treacherous path ahead to the Saloon. So we crawled in, strollers and all, held on, a cruised down the mountain into a sanctuary of leafy trees and shadows. There, perched under a humongous rock overhang was the Rattlesnake Saloon. At first glance, I was a bit disappointed that the waterfall that had been shown on the internet was merely just a few measly drops of water in a bucket. But, alas, it was cool under that rock, and the six of us sat down and enjoyed a lunch of prairie fingers and haystacks.....chicken fingers and fries for those of you not in the know. And after a snack, we opted to push those strollers back up the trail, and do a little sight seeing along the trail that overlooks the Saloon. Another discovery....walking that trail isn't easy with two strollers, two babies, two husbands who don't like taking millions of photographs, camera bags, purses, diaper bags, and lastly, Lisa and I, dressed in open toed shoes. But you know what? We may not have been dressed appropriately for a day of roughing it, and we may not have been able to enjoy the experience to the full extent, but we had FUN. And I learned that even when things don't work out the way you've planned....enjoy yourself....because that's when the best memories are made.

{down the trail...}

{....to the Rattlesnake Saloon}

{enjoying some lunch....}

{....as we listened to the trickle of a 'want-to-be' waterfall}

{pretty horse}

{Landon having a fun photo op}

{"Wish I was big enough to ride a horse."}

{cave dwelling}

{"Are we having fun yet?"}

{"Yes, Dad! We're on an adventure!"}

{Little Mommies with Sweet Babies}

{Lisa contemplating in the cavern}


{The Saloon's Namesake- Mother Rattlesnake and 12 Babies found in the cave. Yikes!}

{the trail we traveled}

{big smiles for family fun}

{Beginning our trek. This is when Lisa said...."Have y'all ever seen that movie Wrong Turn?"}

{"Enough with the pictures, Mom!"}

{Love my sweet boy}

{Checking out the sights, as the Newbern Family explores}

{memories of a fabulous day}


Jeannie said...

Good story and what great pictures. Hudson looks like he is ready to get back to the city!!!

abehel said...

WOW! Awesome waterfall. I am sure nobody noticed the six city slickers in their midst. Seriously, that will be fun to look back on in the future. Looks like a neat place to hike.

Joey Biber said...

If only those tours came with a dress code for us to be better prepared for the trip. Your dress was better off worn in another occasion, but I'm sure there are fashionable hiking gears out there.