Saturday, January 09, 2010
Over Labor Day, we went down to the SE corner of the state to a state park that apparently no one ever goes to, except for people out of state. We had a wonderful time, just camping and being together as the 5 of us. We left early on Friday morning, as the campsites are first come, first serve, and we wanted to be sure and get a good one. We ended up not 50 yards from the river - perfect! The kids loved being able to go throw rocks any time they wanted, plus we always had visitors - the river flowed down to us from the boat shack upstream. I lost count on how many tubers/canoers/kayaks we saw.
The weather was great the whole time we were there too - got a little chilly at night, but nothing to worry about. The water in the river was another matter - we tried to go to the swimming beach and lasted less than 30 minutes. That was COLD! We had a few storms pop up that got close, but managed to swing around us and not interrupt our activities. The great thing was that where we were staying was a river just below another state park where the dam was, creating a huge lake. The list of things to do were endless!
We drove around one day and looked at the lay of everything, and got out to walk around at some interesting spots. We also hiked up a mountain one afternoon - not quite our intention when we started out, but we thought the trail looked fun. After following all the blue diamonds outlined in white on the trees, it ended up being a 5-mile trail from start to finish. Everyone finished it, which was fun, but tiring. We did get a great picture up at the top though!
It was such a nice time, just to be together and outdoors in God's world as a family. The only real world thing we did was to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe outside on the big screen with the ranger one night. The kids had never seen it, and AZ3 and I had worked on reading it together over the summer, so that was fun. Plus, they had a huge nice grassy area for us to stretch out on next to the office. It was fun sitting there, counting lightning bugs while we waited, and we could hear the owls in the cages near the office (they are all for educational classes and are injured) hooting to the wild owls in the forests nearby.
On Sunday, we drove into Arkansas and up to Ft. Smith. We stayed one night and had a blast there too. The kids really enjoyed looking at all of the historical buildings and recreations and exhibits around there - I was impressed. I think they would enjoy a trip like that to the East Coast sometime also - seeing Revolutionary and Civil War places. The most moving part for my husband and I was the national cemetary there - it is 1 of only 2 in the nation to have Confederate and Union soldiers in the same cemetary. We were very moved to see those graves, plus the most recent ones from soldiers giving their all in the current wars, plus the WWI and WWII markers. A good reminder that Freedom is not free.