This week is our Fall break, and our junior girls were begging for a trip. They originally wanted a beach trip, but that is not quite affordable, so we decided on a camping trip. We weren't quite sure how it would all turn out, but looking back on it now, these girls amazed me! Most of them had camped before, but three of them were newbies. Please forgive the amount of pictures you are about to see. I'll try to keep it as short as two days spent in the great outdoors and nine teenage girls will allow.
We decided on Natchez Trace State Park because it's beautiful and it's only about an hour and a half away.
The leaves were changing, so our timing was perfect! This was on a trail nearby our campsite. While driving through the park en route to our campground, one of the teenage girls *might* have had her stuck out the window the whole time screaming at the top of her lungs. (Ahem, Emma Elaine.)
The girls who went were Hannah, Nancy, Rachel, Emma, Abigail, Nicole, Erin, Kathryn and Katie. Also, let it be known that Vera Bradley went camping with us. Never in my life have I seen so much luggage for a two night camping trip! They are such princesses. (Of COURSE they are.)
We got to our campground after turning around only twice, and we immediately settled down for lunch. We were hungry!
We got our tents set up (thanks to the amazing hands who were so helpful) and we got all set up for our bedtime that night, and we just sat and relaxed.
This was my view while I was kicked back in a zero gravity chair. Holy amazingness! I need some of those.
The girls decided to go exploring and ended up on a beach and swimming lake. I joined them when I started hearing the screams and squeals.
These girls! I love them so much. Left to right are Emma, Abigail, Katie, Rachel and Nicole. Nancy was off taking pictures and Kathryn, Eryn and Hannah were on a playground. Katie (in the middle) thought it would be funny to kick water on all of us and bless Abigail for chasing her down to retaliate. What ended up happening, though, is that right after I took this picture, Abigail pulled Katie down in the water and they ended up going for an accidental swim. At lease they weren't hot anymore! This lake had a sandy bottom, so they felt nasty for the rest of the night.
This totally counts as their beach trip, right? I think it should. They had fun burying each other in the sand.
When we all got back to the campsite it was close to dinner time, so we started roasting our hot dogs over the fire. It's a good thing we started early and got the food all put away, because some torrential rain caught all of us by surprise. We *might* have screamed like crazy people when we started to get wet.
Then, because we couldn't think of what to do, a bunch of us just went to the bathroom.
These were our unamused faces. Nicole and Eryn played cards and the rest of us sang Christmas carols while waiting on the rain to stop.
Except that it never did.
We got stuck outside under a tree and under my huge umbrella. Emma made the mistake of shining her flashlight on the tree trunk, and lo and behold, she was leaning up against a trunk covered in the biggest ants known to mankind. We had to go back to the bathroom and one *might* have crawled out of her shorts. We finally were forced into cars and tents. Emma, Hannah, Abigail and Katie slept in my car (and ATE all the night long) and I crawled into the tent with Lori, Missy and Nancy. Nancy and Lori ended up sleeping in Lori's van, so Missy and I ended up alone in my huge tent. Lori and Nancy were forced out because it was sprinkling in the tent. In all the tents, actually. We laughed until we cried and we talked and talked and talked until I fell asleep (in the rain puddles and with a wet pillow).
When we woke up the rain was gone, we had a hot mess of rainwater all over EVERYTHING and it was freezing!
It must have been in the forties. Thank the good Lord for hot coffee and chocolate! It warmed up quickly, though, and after breakfast, Emma, Rachel, Eryn, Kathryn, Hannah, Nicole, and Abigail went on a hike. They probably walked about three miles that morning and were starving when they got back! Katie, Nancy, Lori, Missy and I stayed behind and played Phase 10.
Nancy was off taking pictures during this part of our day.
Lori watched television on her phone.
We had a yummy lunch and afterward, Hannah, Nicole, Eryn and Abigail left for another hike. Close to three hours later, Hannah wanted to know how long the trail was, because it was taking forever. Thanks to The Google, we discovered, much to our horror, that it was FORTY MILES LONG. The girls stopped and tried to make their way to a road they had just passed so Lori and Emma could pick them up. Except that wrong directions were given and then Lori and Emma got turned around. Missy ended up being their rescuer and Lori and Emma made it safely back to our campground.
All in all, I would say these girls probably walked close to fifteen miles on Tuesday.
The Lost Girls! We served them dinner and they had the rights to those amazing chairs. Thank the good Lord for His protection (and for Advil and Tylenol)!
That could have been very scary for them. Never have we been so glad to see someone!
That night for dinner we ate taco soup. It was DELICIOUS. And it got very cold very quickly, so we were thankful for something hot. We roasted s'mores for dessert.
I made some soup on Sunday and froze it overnight and another mom made some as well, so on Tuesday around three, we put it all into crock pots and heated it up for that night's dinner. Seriously. It was amazing.
We stayed up till ten and sang and talked and laughed and had a sweet devotion around the campfire and we all pretty much fell into our tents, exhausted. Except that Missy and I ended up having the party tent and stayed up until almost midnight. I adore her! She is one of my people.
We woke up by seven the next morning and had breakfast and dressed and got ready to come home. The girls talked us into Chick Fil A, because SOMEBODY (ahem, Emma Elaine) didn't want to eat the whole time. So they circled up around her to pray that her appetite would come back.
We took goodbye pictures and "we survived" pictures.
And "WOW" pictures.
I must post one picture out of over a hundred that THIS girl took on my phone.
I do love Abigail so much, and it's a good thing! ;)
We circled up and thanked God for the amazing trip we'd had, I cried, they all hugged me and we left.
It was absolutely an amazing time and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, even the rain! (Well, maybe not the rain.) I adore these girls and I am so thankful for our time away, together.
Love to all.