Well, we are home from our camping trip and for the most part, unpacked, repacked and put away. We have 5 camping boxes that hold tents, tarps, odd camping necessities such as lanterns and shovels and such, and other kitchen type items like the 2 burner stove and our cast iron stuff and plates,cups,utensils and such. Well, we had them all packed nice and neat and rumaged thru them for 6 days, they needed to be repacked, not to mention things that needed to be ran thru the dishwasher!!! We had a great trip, here is our week in review:
MONDAY: We were all up and ready to go way earlier than I thought we would be....we were on the road by 7:30 am -- but we made plenty of stops, so we stretched out our time and arrrived there pretty much right on schedule. We stopped and had breakfast at Cracker Barrel (yummm!!) and while we were there, we found the kiddos some 6 in 1 binoculars (they were cheap and cheezy, but we bought them anyway) the kiddos had fun with them and used them several time thru the week. After that stop, we stopped at a place called Ozark Trade Center Warehouse. We got to the campsite right at check-in time and set-up camp. After we got all set up, some friends of ours (Chris & Brit) came up and we helped them set up their camp. Chris, Brit, Rog and all the kids went down the very steep cliff to the river and played for a while. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out around a campfire and making smores and playing games. Right at dusk, we saw a family of deer, and not long after that, a skunk made an appearance. He was friendly and didn't bother anything, just rummaged around and found nothing, so he went on about his business. Not long after that, we crashed for the evening.
TUESDAY: Today was the day we floated!! After we had breakfast, we made lunches and set out to rent the canoes. We put in at Dillards Ferry, and floated 1.5 miles to Buffalo Point. Right past Buffalo Point, was our camp sight, where they had all played the night before. We docked there and the guys went up and got our lunches and we ate and played for a bit. From there, Chris & Brit and their kiddos and Rog, Riley and our niece Em all left and headed down river to Rush - 7.5 miles to the next take out. Yes, you read that right, me, my sister and Samantha did not continue on with the rest of them. Well, to start out, I was already nervous, as was Chelle, and it didn't help any that Samantha screamed every time we drug (the river was low and that happened quite a bit) or everytime we got turned around headed backwards (we did that alot also!). By the time we stopped for lunch, I was exhausted and didn't think I could go on and Chelle agreed that she didn't think she could either, so we bailed on them. Rog was none to happy, but I couldn't help it. The bus picked up at Rush at 2, 4, 6. Last year we barely made the 4 pick up, this year, they just missed the 4 pick up, so they had to wait there until 6 pm. We were starting to get worried about them when they pulled back up. Chris and Brit were leaving so we got them all packed up and then we had dinner and just hung out at the camp. There were no skunk visitors and we did see the family of deer again. Rog and the kids went to a presentation put on by the rangers called Things That Go Bump In The Night.
WEDENSDAY: Today we hung out at camp. Not too much went on, nothing that really jumps out in my mind really.
THURSDAY: We got up this morning and packed a pcinic lunch and headed to Blanchard Springs Caverns. It was about an hour drive. We went on a tour of the cave - about an hour long. It was mine and all the kiddos first time in a cave -- very neat...the kiddos loved it!! We hah lunch on the grounds and then headed back to camp. On the way back, we stopped at the Ranger Station and found out about the Jr. Ranger Program for the kiddos. They all got their 'assignments', and we spent some time searching the campgrounds for the answers to the BINGO game that they had to complete, and picking up trash.
FRIDAY: Rog and the kiddos went to a presentation called River Walk, that taught the kiddos how to look for water animals, and then we all went down to the river to swim. While we were down there, it started sprinkling rain, so Rog ran back up the hill to roll up car windows. The area we were swimming, there was a small current that was just deep enough for the kiddos to float down (in their lifejackets of course!) so they spent a lot of time floating down the small 'rapids'. While Rog was up at the camp, Chelle and I were sitting in the flow of the water where the kiddos were playing and we heard what sounded like rain. Well, up on the bluffs on either side, you could see trees rustling because of the wind, we just figured that was the noise we heard, then all of a sudden, it got lounder and we turned around and there was a downpour headed our way....all we could do was watch it come towards us, it poured on us for about 5 minutes, then we watched it move down the river. By the time Rog got back down, it was already gone. He cam e down the hill and saw three river otters playing, so we went back up stream a ways and watched them play. After our swim time, we went to another presentation by the Rangers and found out that there was a 'ceremony' that night, so we turned in their completed Jr. Ranger assignments and went and had dinner. That night, aftert dark, we saw a show on the history of the river. After that, 5 kiddos became 'offical Jr. Rangers' complete with a badge and a certificate. Since it was our last night at camp, we pulled out the smore stuff again and sat around eating and chatting.
SATURDAY: We woke up this morning to rain, but it wasn't much. It had stopped by the time we got up and started laoding the car. The funny thing was-- the minute we got the cars loaded and shut the doors, it started raining and it poured on us almost the entire drive home.
We are glad to be home and I am almost back on routine, just trying to conquer the mountain of laundry!!