I think we’re up to Thursday now! As I said, Thursday we wanted to hit the Cedar Creek Trail, the scenic overlooks, and the Bear Cave Trail. The boys had also been working on their Junior Explorer packets and wanted to finish those up with the park interpreter, and we needed to do our souvenir shopping.
While we were at the visitors’ center, we had to say hi to the statue of Petit Jean. We told the kids the story of how the park got its name and Margaret fell in love with Petit Jean and periodically informed us (often through tears) that she was sad Petit Jean had to die. She was thrilled to be able to give Petit Jean a hug.
The Cedar Creek Trail starts out next to the Pioneer Cabin, so we had to give that a look before we headed out.
Refreshed after yesterday and ready to set off!
This rock along the trail needed some propping up.
The kids found a lizard!
Running water was scarce during our visit — things were pretty dry. But look! We found some!
This trail was pretty rock, so Margaret had to pick her way carefully. Short legs can make things very difficult!
I loved this little bridge. I’ll bet it’s even prettier when the creek is closer to full.
Some hikers passing the opposite direction saw me taking pictures of Aaron and the kids on the bridge and asked if I’d like them to take a picture with me in it. Since those are few and far between on this trip, I was glad to take them up on it.
After we crossed the bridge, we could look back and see this rock shelter. Not nearly as big as the Rock House Cave, but the kids thought it was cool.
Mr. Long-Legs here had to stop and wait with me for the others to catch up. He’s clearly a state parks pro, with his Palo Duro shirt and his Crater of Diamonds hat. By the way, you may have noticed in the pictures from the Seven Hollows Trail that the hat went back and forth between Evan and Nathan quite a bit. That’s because Evan was sharing with Nathan. What a sweetheart!
More steep trail, with occasional steps added by the CCC. This trail was shorter than the Seven Hollows Trail, but I think it had a higher proportion of strenuous bits. At least the first half involved a lot of up and down and rocky areas.
Nathan’s turn to be goofy while waiting for Margaret to catch up.
And here she is, trucking along.
Did I mention there were some steep spots? As you can see from the trail markers (red), we had come from down there off to the right.
Yet again, imagine how pretty this would be with any significant amount of water in it!
The boys found a cool caterpillar. We forgot to ask BT about it and I haven’t tried to look it up online yet. Very pretty, though!
Did I mention it was rocky?
And some of those rocks were verrrry impressive. When we planned this trip I figured Crater of Diamonds would be great for learning geology and Petit Jean would just be for the hiking and scenery. Turns out the geology here was pretty cool too.
I just love all the little shelves of rock sticking out, and the moss and grass growing on them.
More creekbed, more rocks!
I think they stopped to wait for Margaret and me to catch up.
Margaret started to get tired of walking, but then I gave her the job of making sure I found the trail markers. She took it very seriously.
Scenic spot! It was really far down behind them. Scared-of-heights me had trouble setting up this photo (and no, they’re not as close to the edge as it looks like).
We decided we were about ready for lunch, so we stopped at a wide spot in the trail. Nathan and Margaret were excited to eat on the “Stone Table” since we had listened to The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe on the drive out.
After lunch we got back up feeling energized and ready to hit the trail again. Then we turned the corner and… there was the end of the trail! Oh well. Our picnic spot was lovely and shady.
I’m noticing that I take a lot of pictures. I’m about out of time for this morning, so next time we’ll see about those scenic overlooks.