Vacationing

We went on vacation, and we all fell in love.  The plan was to keep close to home, while exploring somewhere we’d never been.  So we headed to Arkansas.  I was hopeful, but I kept my expectations in check.  I hoped we’d have a good time.  I hoped the kids weren’t bored. I hoped it would be nice enough that we’d be comfortable.  I hope to find it “ok”.  Well folks, it was more than “ok”.  It was fantastic!

Petit Jean State Park is a jewel in the Arkansas Park system.  The first state park in Arkansas, many of the buildings at the park are stone structures built by the depression era Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. This includes Mather Lodge where we stayed.  Entering the breezeway of Mather Lodge is like stepping through a frame into a picture.

The hiking was amazing.  Some hikes were easy.  Some hikes were challenging.  All of them were beautiful. It’s so wonderful to see your kids outdoors!  Scrambling across rocks and running toward their next adventure.

We hiked down to the base of Cedar Falls. Unfortunately, the state is in the middle of a brutal drought, and the water was only a trickle as it reached the edge. If you look very closely, you can see it.

The kids were undaunted and declared the water cold and wonderful.  We’ve vowed to return when we can see the falls in full glory.

We explored and went swimming and feasted on hamburgers with an appalling frequency.

It was exactly what a vacation should be.

We bickered and laughed and argued and teased and told each other “I love you” at least one hundred times each.

Memories are made of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch and Release

Last week was Spring Break for my kiddos.  We didn’t plan a trip or family vacation, but we did a little “stay-cationing”. We were looking for something to do on Friday and decided to check out the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.  Yes, I know, sexy right?  Not so much, but it was actually pretty cool.  I had expected a freshwater aquarium. I had heard that there was a pond where this kids could fish, but I didn’t realize that they had developed a small wetlands trail and preserve.

Or that they encourage wild life habitat as part of the preserve

It was beautiful and unexpected. And even though I did expect lots and lots of catfish.  I don’t know that I was prepared for these guys!

or these

You could buy fish food from a small vending machine for a quarter and it created quite the frenzy.  I had to coax the kids to go back over after they got splashed by some pretty fishy fish water. You actually did find yourself a little worried about the probability of fish obesity and the heart-health implications of the constant food….

But then when you get down to brass tacks, it’s really all about activities that, although not great for fish well-being, are all cosmic reminders of the interspecies food chain…Right?….Maybe not.

This was an awesome little “catch and release” pond situated in the middle of the center. Apparently, the fish were biting right up until we dropped our lines in the water… 🙂  Note to self: One has to catch in order to release.

Have a great weekend! Check out some of the natural beauty that may be around the corner in your neck of the woods.