I went digging through the photos from my phone and found some fun stuff that I don’t think I shared yet, so prepare for randomness!
This is the proper way to relax around the campsite in the evenings. I read The Martian during the first half of the trip, and Aaron read it when we got back. Since it was good, we’re going to see the movie this weekend. Date night!
This is what bedtime stories look like in a tent. Margaret is just out of the frame to the right — I couldn’t quite squeeze her into the shot.
Here we’re eating lunch at the Grotto on the Seven Hollows Trail. I think the area with all the ferns often has water in it.
Coming back to our camp site from the restrooms. We really did have the place to ourselves.
Margaret was very tired after the Seven Hollows Trail. Here she is with her bunnies waiting while Aaron cooks hot dogs for dinner.
This is what my kitchen sink looked like. Yes, the camp stove is part of it — that’s where the hot water comes from. :)
Here’s my refrigerator, looking a little empty toward the end of the week.
This is my kitchen cabinet.
And this is the pantry!
Here’s another look at bedtime — a little earlier than the last picture because everyone was so tired.
This was the view out of our bedroom window first thing in the morning.
For their junior explorer badge, the boys had to do a project. One option was to draw a picture. Nathan drew this one of our family in our campsite. I think that left to right it’s Daddy, Nathan, Mommy, Margaret, and Evan. But I could be wrong. You can see our campfire and our green tent, along with some trees and rocks.
This is Evan’s picture of the cottonmouth we saw on the Seven Hollows Trail. It’s next to a big grey rock, and I think Evan took advantage of artistic license to show a creek next to the trail. He made a few different efforts at this one, and this was the version he liked best.
Since the batteries on the good camera died at the CCC Overlook, this is what I’ve got that shows a little of the structure at the site.
Each of the kids got a little souvenir money for the trip. Nathan’s purchase at Petit Jean was this mug. He was excited to drink his hot cocoa out of it on our last morning.
Here’s Margaret with her cocoa.
And Evan with his. You can see his Crater of Diamonds hat that he purchased there.
We were just as glad we left when we did. On Thursday night, these folks moved in next door and across the street. The one on the right was huge. The A/C ran all night, and at 10 p.m. we went and knocked and asked them to please turn down their movie so that we couldn’t hear it at our campsite. I have to confess to wondering what the point of camping is when you do it that way. I might go for a pop-up or something, but who wants a TV on a camping trip?
The kids had to help roll the tent up again before we could leave.
Aside from Nathan’s mug and a magnet Margaret picked out, the souvenir of choice from Petit Jean was a bandanna printed with a map of the park. When we got in the car I gave each kid a few plastic army guys and they explored the park.
The first part of our drive home looked mostly like this. It was lovely and still felt like we were on vacation. Then suddenly we intersected with the interstate. Vacation over. Sigh.
When we left Petit Jean we drove straight to Allen to spend a night and a day with Dad Rhinehart. We got there a little before he got home from work, so we made ourselves at home and made use of the bathtub and shower. The next order of business after a week of eating out of a cooler was getting GREEN FOOD. We took Dad with us to the nearest Souper Salad, and it was delicious.
We spent Saturday with Dad and my brother Ben, and after dinner we hit the road for home. We got in around 10, if I remember right, and put the kids straight to bed then unloaded the car and went to bed ourselves.
And that, folks, was our vacation!