Monday, October 31, 2016

Our camping trip~Petit Jean 2016

I was so thankful when we FINALLY got to the campground.  We had a rough time leaving Memphis, because of a bike rack issue.  When we thought we had finally gotten it resolved, the part that held the rack on Todd's truck snapped, and two bikes flew off into the interstate, and the other two stayed on, dragging on the road.  Out of the four bikes, three are trash.

I cried, I confess.  The bikes represented their childhood years to me, and it just seemed like the end of an era.  Not that we won't replace Jonah's and Noah's~we will.  But Graham and Drew don't even want replacement bikes.  Graham's has been broken for a long time and he was using Todd's, and that is the one bike that can be fixed.  Once I finally got over that, I was better and God gave us a spectacular view for the remainder of our trip.

We arrived before dark and got the tent set up while the sun was still out.  This was not our tent, but look how cute!

So, let me tell you about this trip and how we got started and who all went.  (There were a bunch of us!)  Our neighbors (Alex's aunt and uncle) have been friends with these families since they were in the young married class at their church.  Their kids all grew up together and now all their kids are grown with kids of their own.  Three years ago, they invited Jonah and Noah to come along on the trip, and once they got to know them, they decided to invite the rest of our family the following year.  So we were a late add-on, really, all because of our relationship with Alex, and they invite us back each year.  I feel so honored to be added into this mix of wonderful people, and they treat us like their own family.  They love our boys and us well, and vice versa.  The families that go are the Hansens, the Jamesons, the Stubblefields (and their kids and grands, the Baldridges), and the Laughters and their daughter Melinda.  There were twenty two of us there, total.  We arrived Thursday around dinner time, and the Baldridges and Melinda arrived around the same time the next night.

On Friday, we stayed at the campsite.  Some people played dominoes, I read, and we all just relaxed after the HUGE breakfast we ate.

On Saturday after breakfast, we loaded up and went up to a nearby lodge (Mather's Lodge) and some of the group hiked down to a waterfall.  The rest of us stayed up at the lodge and left at one point to go to the overlook to watch for them.

Todd entertained Carson for a bit while we were at the overlook.

After this, we went back to the campground and got started on dinner.  We eat REALLY well on this trip.  Our first night we had each brought our own meat, and we also ate baked potatoes and salad.  We had huge breakfasts, small lunches and the second night ate hamburgers and hot dogs.  Our last night was my favorite: hot dogs, chili and potato soup.  Before we ate dinner, we went to Petit Jean's gravesite and overlook to watch the sunset.

(The little girl with Todd is Ruby, a little thief of hearts.  She is PRECIOUS and was enamored with Jonah the entire trip.)

The next morning, we had cereal for breakfast, packed up and left, ate lunch at Wendy's nearby and headed home.

Here are all the kiddos on the trip.

It was a great weekend, and even in spite of the lost bikes, fun was had by my boys.  The Hansens were gracious to let them use their bikes the whole time, and they just took turns.

This was our first camping trip as a family in two years, and I am so thankful we had the chance to go.

Love to all!  I am off to do the mountains of laundry.

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