We decided at the last minute to go camping this past weekend since Rich had Good Friday off of work. We did our meal planning and packing on Wednesday and Thursday and then headed out Thursday night right after Rich got home from work. We were planning to camp just over the Texas border in Oklahoma about 2 hours north of us. We tried to make it before dark to choose a sight and set up our tent but arrived about 20 minutes after sunset. There was an ugly haze over the sky as we drove.
Through a conversation with a friend on our cell phone, we learned that there were some wild fires out of control in West TX and also Oklahoma. The children were nervous and a little scared but we assured them that the fires were along ways away and that smoke can travel because of the wind. Did I mention that it was very windy? Rich told them that if the fires were anywhere near us, they would be shutting down the highways and evacuating the towns we were passing along the way.
We arrived at the campground only to discover it was closed due to the wild fires! Well, it was silent in the car. A van full of food, camping gear, and disappointed children, 2 hours from home at 8:30 at night is not a fun situation to be in. We decided to phone some friends who live in Norman, Oklahoma to see how far away they were and to ask if we could crash at their place for the night and regroup in the morning. Praise the Lord for good friends who aren't afraid to open up their home to 7 people, with an hour's notice! We didn't feel too badly barging in on them since we did come bearing food for breakfast and bedding already expecting to sleep on the floor anyway.
Oh, let me back up and say that when we went back to the freeway to travel the hour it would take to get to their place, the freeway was closed! They routed us onto a different highway and it was bumper to bumper traffic! Now the kids were really scared especially when we could see the fire above the trees off in the distance. Olivia was afraid since we weren't moving in the traffic that the fires would catch up to us.
The smoke had cleared up when we reached Norman and we were sure glad to see our friends, Jay and Amanda. The winds howled and the temperatures dropped to the 40's but we were snuggled safely in a nice warm house! I'm so glad we were not camping that night. I know our tent would have blown away!
Who is this cutie? Our friends, Jay and Amanda have a little girl, Anna, and she is only 2 weeks older than Micah.
We parents had fun introducing them to each other. They have only met once before but we're sure they don't remember.
Funny, babies at this age do not really play together. They just take each others toys and . . .
pull each others hair! Ouch!
We spent the morning catching up and having breakfast together and then decided to walk around a local nature preserve to get the feel of being outdoors like we had planned.
Micah just loves to reach out and touch faces. If he is close enough he will pull at your lips, nose or hair. We are trying to teach him the meaning of the word, "gentle". A very important element if we're going to allow him to do this.
This is my wonderful friend, Amanda and little Anna in the floppy hat.
Amanda comes from a family of 9 and was home schooled. She is one of the sweetest ladies I know. Her feathers were not at all ruffled by our family of 7 spontaneous arrival.
Once we got out in the sunshine, we realized the wind had died down and we began dreaming of camping again. We had all the stuff and had come all that way so why not? We found out that the campsite was open again and the weather looked good so within a few hours, we headed back to Turner Falls to pick a site.
This is Oklahoma terrain. Not really my opinion of beauty but it was nice to be out in the open air and camping again after a 2 year break.
Early in the morning when everyone was waking up, Rich decided to check the weather from his Blackberry since we knew rain was in the forecast. We were trying to figure out if we could stay a second night or not. By Micah's expression here I think his vote is no.
"let me see that. What does it say, Daddy?"
This is a goofy picture of Rich being just that, goofy! He was playing all the options for the different rings on his phone while dancing in bed.
A.J. really got into this and was entertaining us all!
Fun in the Lodi tent!
One happy girl!
A very happy boy! A.J. was in heaven because he loves to explore. He could not wait to hit the trails (or cliffs, I should say).
Ever try to light a propane stove with a baby on your back pulling on your ears?
I don't know who took this picture but I posted it to show how many times my heart fell out of my chest at this place. It was very rocky and steep in many spots. The kids just went for it but I kept wondering once we went down, how would we get back up?
Another "oh my! I can't look" moment. Rich was crawling in and out of these caves with Micah on his back. I was just sure he was going to hit his head!
Like Father like Son.
The boys really had a great time at this place! Boys and climbing just go together.
A.J. spent a good part of the day trying to reach this cave. He never did it because it was so steep. The girls were having fun playing in the water below, but the boys were spending all their efforts trying to meet the challenge of getting to that cave!
We were so sore after hiking around this place.
This is advertised as the highest waterfall in Oklahoma. It's a whopping 77 foot drop.
It sure is pretty.
Micah did so well, missing his naps and being flexible with our plans. He was happy the whole time and just glad to be outdoors.
Nothing more precious than a sleeping baby.
Well, I think that covers it. I've hit all the topics in my title. Wild fires, waterfalls, caves and camping. Thanks for looking at my little scrapbook of our weekend.
We did pack up that night and made it home just before a heavy thunderstorm hit and dumped tons of rain on us. We were sun burnt, wind chapped and very sore but so grateful for a hot shower and cozy bed. That really is the best thing about camping!