Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Camping Adventure, Day 2


This was the Most Awesome, Crazy, Camping Day Ever.  

When I got up, we got dressed in the tent, and when we sent the kids out, they were all wearing their matching tie-dye shirts.  Then the Julius girls came out, and the funniest thing - they were all wearing matching tie-dye shirts too!  It was totally unplanned.  A great bonus, it made them all easy to spot, and mighty adorable playing together all day.  First, we started breakfast.  We opted not to start a fire first thing and use the camping stoves for breakfast.  Mike made fantastic eggs with onions, but as we were prepping, we realized we forgot to get bacon and  sausage.  Eric had the idea to cook up the last few brats that we hadn't eaten the night before. Technically its a sausage, so I thought, meh, ok.  Oh my word - brilliant! Brats for breakfast, who knew?!  So good.  

Jake was backing up to the smaller camp chairs just bumping into them with his little biscuits, and pretty happy when Kathleen helped him up into the seat.  He looked like such a big boy.  

After breaky, the kids started to go a little bonkers. We needed to Do Something.
I suggested going for a flower walk.  I wanted to go take a few pictures, practice shooting in manual, and explore a bit.  I put Jake on my back, and had 5/6 of the kids come with me.  Only Chris wasn't interested.  He's been on enough flower walks with me.  Emily was genuinely interested in flowers, and their names, and stuff, and it was interesting.  The little ones loved looking for flowers, birds, and butterflies for me to photograph.  It helps a lot to have helpers for nature spotting! 

The space where we were camping was called Jackpine.  So I snapped a picture of these pretty pine cones, that turned out pretty nice.  Not exactly a flower, but still lovely.  

Honeysuckle was in bloom.  
As soon as we entered the park the night before, we could smell it.  I drove with the windows rolled down, so I could smell that floral sweetness on the air.  I'd forgotten how lovely it was.  We don't have any around here.  I remember going on walks in Memphis with my Grandparents and pulling the buds off and slurping up the honey taste.  I didn't remember how funny the blossoms looked.  But the smell brought it all back.  

I taught Emily and Sam to sip the 'honey' from the flower.  Sam said he didn't get it. But Emily's eyes got really wide with excitement.  Later, we went on a geocache hike, and she dragged Kathleen over to get her to try it.  I kind of loved being able to share my love of Botany.  

As I said, we went on a geocaching hike.  Mike and Kathleen had gotten a GPS device, and it scoped out a couple geocaches in the park.  So we followed.  We got our shoes on and just Went.  Mike said it was 0.36 miles as the crow flies.  Well, flew.  It was not .36 miles for us.  It was longer than that, and down a rather steep hill near the beach area.  We were able to find a trail to follow. But with Jake on Eric's back, and my broken toe, a long hike was a rather serious undertaking.  The thought crossed our minds we might be having to send the boys back for cars to get us back to camp. 

Amazingly enough, we made it.  Mike figured out it was near the bridge.  So the kids all went looking for some "Treasure" near the bridge.  For the littles, we called Geocaching "Treasure Hunting" with Mike's special computer map.  I had heard sometimes there are rewards to share at the end, you pick a treat, and leave something for the next person.  I had a tube of glow in the dark bracelets to donate, but it wasn't necessary.  There was a tiny cannister with a folded strip of paper, with a list of names of those who had been there in 2011 was the most recent, I think.  But the paper was so wet and fragile there would have been no way for us to add to it.  Still, it was neat.  And we accomplished the mission.  I was amazed the kids handled it as well as they did.  They really wanted to find some real treasure.  But it was a pretty good hike, amazing that all 10 of us made it!   But then we had to go home....

Back up the hill we went.  We are Awesome.  I love this shot of my Boyz walking. 
We did it!  

It's hard to tell, but this was the abusively steep hillside trail we went down, and back up.  
Did I mention I did this with a broken toe?  
Sure, it's beautiful.  But Dang it was painful, clinging to the hill as I went down, with that stupid toe.  The way up wasn't as bad, it didn't kill the toe, only exhausted my leg muscles.

We were all hot and sweaty when we returned from geocaching, but before we were to go swimming, we decided to have lunch.  While lunch was getting put together, Mike broke out a bubble maker, and the kids got on their swimsuits to play in the bubbles.  Our logic being, if the kids got all sticky and slimy playing with bubbles right before we went swimming, who cares. 

Jacob loved watching the bubbles.  
He's seen them before, but not since he's become mobile.  He really liked them, and kept reaching for them.  I think he may have popped one or two.  

All my boyz playing in the bubbles. 

I couldn't think of a much better view than Up.  
These were the tall pine trees that surrounded our campsite, on that lovely sunny day as the bubbles flew away off into oblivion. Well, the couple bubbles that the kids didn't get a chance to pop.  They were bubble attackers!

After lunch of sandwiches and chips, it started to get Hot.  So we went down to the lake.  The temperature was perfectly cool, just right to cure what ailed us.  It had been starting to get really hot and humid.  I couldn't wait to chill my throbbing foot.  And that's just what the lake did.   The kids were so excited to get in and play.  

Chris just took off right into the lake.  He had fun finding seaweed Everywhere. 

The kids intially got in the water, and didn't worry about their life vests initially.  They didn't go to deep, and they were still able to have plenty of fun.  They did go back later and get the vests, and they had sand all up in them. 

It took Jake a while to warm up to the idea.  In fact, Daddy wasn't able to get him interested in the water.  He was perfectly content being held.  But when I sat down with him in the water, and demonstrated how to splash just like he does in the bathtub, and he was Sold!

Jacob began to enjoy the lake once he could see that splashing in it was just like splashing in the bathtub.  
And this boy loves his bathtub.  

We started to get some serious clouds.  
I could have sworn I heard thunder. 
The clouds got thicker and darker.  And we thought it might be getting some rain.  
When I thought I saw some lightning, that's when we headed back up to camp, so we could get into our tents and try to nap before dinner.  I thought maybe if we got a nice cooling rain, it might help our napping process. Naively. 

After much humid hot battling, the kids and I napped for a bit.  When we got up, the Daddies had started a great fire.  I call this picture, Daddy teaches Jacob to walk tall and carry a big stick. 
But the thunder was getting closer.  Apparently, they checked the weather and rain was coming.  A lot of it.  It was going to kill our fire.  We thought we wouldn't be able to cook our kabob dinner, or our s'mores.  So we decided to skip the dinner, we'd drive into town, and go ahead and do the s'mores first, get the experience.  It was a wise choise, because right as we were finishing our s'mores, it started to rain.  Downpour actually.  Luckily, we'd put away a lot of the stuff under the canopy, in the tent, to keep it dry, so we thought.  So we ate our marshmallowy goodness, and hopped into the cars, JUST as the downpour hit.  It was Big.  
We drove into Tell City, about 1/2 hour away, and had dinner at Chicago's pizza.  We were Soaked just going inside.  The kids were freaking out by the lightning and thunder, wondering if our tents would get sucked up in "tormatoes".  They didn't.  But after dinner, we went back, it was a little after 8when we got there, and still raining.  I was nursing Jake, while Eric took the big kids to the tent to get them in their jammies.  Only, all their stuff was wet. We had at least 4 places in the tent that we leaking.  Our sleeping bags were soaked, the mattress was soaked. Half their clothes were soaked.  The stuff we'd set on the porch was drenched.  I had set our mini-flashlights on a folding chair, and there was a puddle, and the lights totally submerged at the bottom of the puddle.  Poor Jacob's backpack carrier was flooded. I pulled out a diaper the size of a log, it was so supersaturated with water.  I could only cackly hysterically with laughter.  Because if I didn't laugh, I'd cry.  Mike volunteered for us to go crash at his parents, who were an hour away.  That scared me, and invasion of 10 is a lot of crazy.  Or we could find a hotel, but the nearest was 1/2 hour away.  I just wanted to go home, but 3 hours away was rough.  So we came up with a plan.  Stuff as much stuff into the body of the car (nothing on the roof, remember how badly travel had been with a tarp roof the day before) and take the highway home, only 3 hours, and we'd be in our own beds.  Then the next day, Eric could come back down with an empty van and put all the wet stuff in on Monday, since he had it off anyway.  It meant a lot of gas, but we would have spent that on a hotel, and still not been able to get all the stuff back home. 

So I drove us home.  We left at 9 p.m.  We didn't get home until 12:30.  It wasn't a bad ride.  The big boys were upset at being stuffed into a wet car, but I think they were more scared about the thunder and lightning than driving far again, with no ipad (because they'd drained it all on the way down).  I let them put in the Frozen Soundtrack and we hit the road.  They only griped a bit, because they were so tired, they all three fell asleep within an hour of taking off.  It was a much better/faster trip home than it had been down.  I think we might have bad karma at Lake Tipsaw.