When DC first mentioned caverns last month, a little smile rose up inside of me. You have caverns out here I asked? As a child I was able to go on a mile walk (after hundreds of stairs down) through mammoth caves. At the time, my brother and I wanted to do the intensive six hour, crawl through the mud tour. However, our grandmother was also with us on that adventure. If I recall correctly, she couldn’t take the stairs down and used an elevator instead.

I found it odd that we had to walk down the steps if there was an elevator available.

Today, I was offered the elevator ride. Today, I wished- briefly- that I could take the stairs, then I enjoyed the elevator ride. Better than the ride I suppose, was the courtesy before hand. I had stopped at the information booth upon arriving at the caverns. I had a few questions about their pass program, camping fees (at their established campgrounds,) and the dispersed camping guidelines for the area.

Sadly, other than strongly recommending the annual pass for the day use fee savings, the first ranger was less than helpful, and directed me towards another ranger at the counter across the lobby. I can pull off a pretty good real drunken sailer impression now, and I gave it my best as I crossed the way- with that next ranger smiling and watching me walk over.

I skipped the camping quesions, as there is no camping allowed at this park and hoping they would know information about the rest of the parks seemed to confuse them. I asked about the annual pass, and it’s savings on camping fees. Fifty percent discount, and waives the entrance fees in whole too (up to fifteen a day, depending on the park.) And finally, the cost of the annual pass.

He looked at me firmly, a young asian man, and smiled the pass is eighty dollars he said, and we also offer a lifetime pass for free to disabled persons. He paused, waiting for my response.

Well, I suppose I’m not that good of a drunken sailor. I just got caught by shore patrol. I have no idea what passes for ‘officially’ disabled and I told him I don’t carry any paperwork on that. None needed he said.

“In fact, I can’t even ask what your disability might be.”

A smooth smile and backed right out of spotting my limp. Nice guy, I smiled brightly, reflecting his own, and thanked him.

“If you’d like, we also have elevators right over there.” as he gestured past the guarded velvet rope.

I really, I really did wish I could have taken the stairs. Yet, whether disabled or just a little gimpy, I was very happy in an elevator that measured in feet instead of floors.

What a day. After coming into Chosa Campground after dark last night, I had no idea what I was in for this morning when I woke at seven am- mountains! The view wasn’t that close, yet it was that stunning to me. I sat and enjoyed the view for a while, then remembered that I hadn’t gone to sleep last night until after four am.

Realizing I had nothing if I didn’t have time to nap if I wanted, I prompt rolled over and dozed of a few more hours.

Sometime after eleven I woke again and began to plan my day. Well, I started by thinking of where I wanted to sleep. The Chosa Campground is slightly over billed. I wouldn’t call it a campground at all, well, other than yes, you can camp there.

It is a large square rough gravel parking lot. With a dumpster. A dumpster in the corner where I parked.

Glad I did some business at Walmart last night, I really wasn’t in a rush at all this morning. Yet, I know my morning routine well enough that I want a restroom nearby when I wake. Google suggested a vault toilet at Brantly Lake State Park. Yes, you can search google maps for toilets.

I was torn for a while. I wanted to get to a permanent camp site asap and I also wanted to see the caverns. I played through a few what if scenarios in my mind. What would happen if I got to a campsite late? Sleep in car again, maybe. What if I never made it back to see the caverns, well, then I wouldn’t see the caverns. I was not okay with that. DC’s voice in my head again, “why would you come this close..”

Finally, to end tonight story with another shaking my head moment.

I have a mouse. In my house. And my house at the moment is my car. Yeah, a mouse. In my car.

It happened last night at I went to sleep. I thought I heard a scurry and a scratch.

I thought, then I stared at the dark for an hour, heard nothing and went to sleep.

Tonight though, now at the State park dispersed camping area. Also a rough gravel parking lot, yet with a vault toilet. And I heard it again, so I leaned over and moved some things. Nothing. Weird wind noises in my mind.

Then I heard it again, moved some things, nothing. Repeat about five times. In the end, it was all in my mind.

Until the last time I moved something, and the slittle dude came out and locked eyes with me.

He was startled and frozen, then jarred, he scurried. A mouse.

I am still processing this information. Tomorrow is extermination day.

Well, eviction day. He is a cute fellow. Maybe I could just get a little cage for him.

Time to rest.

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