Friday, July 12, 2013

Whitewater Wonderfulness!

So last Sunday I drove the four kids down to LaCrosse to meet my folks. (Brad had to work Sunday afternoon and Monday so he stayed back.) Grandma and Grandpa took Lincoln and Thea Belle back home (near Dubuque) with them, and the older boys and I headed back to Minnesota for an adventure. Just East of Rochester is Whitewater State Park. It is known for being a low-mosquito area -- not sure why, but it proved true. There were plenty of gnats and other bugs, but nary a mosquito and we never saw a tick (more amazing considering how many we pulled off ourselves after the Albert Lea State Park visit!! -- yuck!). The terrain was clear-shallow-trout-fishing-and-limestone-bluff-ey beautiful!!! One of the prettiest forests I've ever been in. And the boys were totally stoked from beginning to end -- even when Dietrich discovered I had forgotten the ketchup for the hotdogs. Even when there were spiders in the boys' bathroom. Even when Deke's crocs got wet. Even when they both fell into a mud slough and a creek with no change of clothes on hand. They loved it. And I loved it. And we had fun. And I rejoiced greatly. Thank you, God. Amen.

This was our view from our tent. A path led down to the creek. There was no other tents within sight of ours. Just woods and creek and sky (and the bathrooms were like 50 feet away down a small wooded slope behind us).

Hotdog (chips and green beans) dinner and s'mores for dessert.


They are trying to look sweet.

Some exploring after dinner...


There were about half a dozen fly fishermen who were so kind to the boys -- let them watch them work. It's a beautiful art.

I was there.



Around 8ish we started to lose light so we got in the tent and I read books to the boys for an hour. At one point we realized there were fireflies outside -- the boys have never seen them and were elated. We went out and caught some..perfect.

This was our view until I put the rain tarp up around 10 pm -- Brad (my favorite sexy and reliable weatherman) had said there was a chance of rain somewhere in the early morning. And it did rain -- started around 1am and continued on steady until 7am. Around 2:30 I woke the boys up and we slept in the van. When we got up for breakfast it was still slightly drizzling so we drove into the little town and had pancakes at the downtown diner. Wasn't the best experience but the kids got to sit on diner stools at the counter, our waitress was nice, and I got breakfast for three people (including orange juices for all of us, coffee for me and the 20% tip) for $14. Really. That's crazy. Then we headed back into the park for some more adventuring.

This was really Dietrich's un-staged reaction to Atticus getting stuck in a mudhole. They were laughing so hard. We saw deer tracks, raccoon tracks and -- for reals: bear tracks by a number of creek areas.

Mists over the creek...Fairyland


Horsetail -- everywhere. One of my favorite plants. You can pop the hollow segments apart. Neat design. Amazing plant.

If you look closely you can see that this is a horsetail grove of sorts. Everywhere.

Speaking of horsetails -- There was a lot (a lot!) of horse-ing around on our long hike. It was awesome to not have to make them stop or even tone it down. We never met another hiker the whole morning. Our own private woods.

Then we tackled this enormous climb up to the bluff top -- there were about 7-8 of these staircases -- all up, up steep. The boys only complained maybe 3 times. They were great!


And the top!!!

Out to the tip...

This drops down out of sight on both sides here -- I was so glad Lincoln wasn't with us -- I would have been having a heart attack. Atticus and Dietrich were so careful and brave and enthusiastic. Best combination.

And then my phone died. So the rest of our trek is only captured in our memories. We hiked for another hour, picnicked in a glade, drove into town, played at the town park (at the boys' request -- they made a friend and played ball-tag for quite awhile) while I read my Bible and wrote/drew. We made it home around 4:30 that afternoon. I can't believe how perfectly the whole adventure unfolded. Yay. And yay!

1 comment:

liz@carpeseason said...

Oh I'm so glad it went well!
I love the pictures of the two of them on the bridge, of them exploring in the river, and especially Deke's reaction to Atticus' fall. So great.

I'm just so glad they enjoyed it, allowing you to enjoy it! Way to be super mom and take 2 boys camping!