This morning I woke up without any thought of finding a carousel. Instead, the carousel found me. And this one wasn’t even on the map!
The continuous rain last night ruled out any hopes of climbing, at least for the first half of the day. My plans to swim across the Tennessee River in order to explore the mysterious Audubon Island were thwarted by Jeremy’s stories of a fast current and tangible pollution. Drexel threatened to end our relationship. I decided to make other plans.
Instead, we spent our afternoon petting puppies at the Humane Society, and on a whim, decided to check out the Chattanooga Zoo since it was directly across the street. We walked into the gift shop and passed through it in search of a bathroom. Somehow… we avoided having to pay an entry fee. And just when we thought about turning around, the unmistakable music of a carousel floated through the air.
Of course, Drexel immediately ran towards the sound, a giddy child-like grin on his face. I caught up to him at the gate and told him to take some deep breaths, to calm down, because the operator was looking at him apprehensively. The hardest part was choosing an animal. There were SO MANY to pick from! Fat manatees, motherly pandas, a jovial jumping kangaroo, stoic stationary elephants, two wolves, a zebra with a bird on its shoulder, a giant flat-backed sea turtle, a seal riding backwards on an orca, and even an entire school of fish! Our only competition was one little Asian boy, but luckily he had his eye on the wombat and no blood was shed.
Moving on to the rest of the zoo, we were amazed how many exhibits fit into this tiny little zoo seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Drexel fell in love with all the snakes and other creepy poisonous critters. I was overjoyed to find a family of Meerkats, as well as a pile of sleepy Fennec Foxes. We were astounded by the sloth who performed tricks (very slowly) in exchange for avocado treats. There was a petting zoo with goats, miniature ponies, a potbellied pig, and a puppy! We’d highly recommend this zoo, especially if you get in for free. 🙂
When our faces hurt from smiling and cooing at all the adorable animals, we figured it was time to return to rock climbing. We hiked into Middle creek with low expectations due to the heat and residual moisture. Drexel chalked and brushed one hold for maybe 40 minutes, and then had some really strong attempts on Deliverance (v10), but wasn’t able to send. Tomorrow, in cooler weather, we might return to this spot and/or hit up LRC so I can project a bit.