“Staycation” 2020

We had this grand plan in mind for our vacation this year. Reservations were made, days were claimed to be taken off, and tents were being bought in preparation for the journey. The plan was that we would drive out to Yellowstone National Park and camp at one of their campgrounds, then stay at an Airbnb closer to Grand Teton National Park for another few days, then circle down through Colorado and see Brooke’s cousin.

Well, we all know how that turned out, right?

The kids and I still needed to get out of the house though, and Brooke has an innate need to go on a road trip every year, so we decided to knock a few more state parks off our list and head out to Pilot Knob, MO, where we could stay in a motel (with a swimming pool), and hit up 3 state parks while we were in one central area. Pilot Knob is pretty close to Elephant Rocks State Park, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, so we’d be able to spend part of the day at each one while we went for an extended weekend. We actually drove through Onandoga Cave State Park, but because they weren’t doing cave tours, we figured we should just go back there when all of this is finally over…

So yeah, because we’ve got a whole other thread of posts for state park visits, I’m going to make separate posts about those. Here, I’m going to speak more broadly about the trip.

Pilot Knob is about 4.5 hrs from Marshall, and luckily for us, St. James, MO is on the way, so we stopped off at our favorite winery in the state, Heinrichshaus, to pick up some bottles. While we were there, we had a picnic lunch and enjoyed being out of the car for a bit. It was a pretty short stop, but it had been a few years since we were last there (Meg and I stopped in last Spring on the return trip from an excursion with my Biology students,, but we didn’t exactly “stock up”).

That afternoon, we stopped off at the Huzzah Conservation Area to play in the water for a bit. Really, it was just an excuse for Brooke and I to relax with our feet in the water and let the kids mess around in a fast-moving float trip river.

We only stayed for an hour or so, but the kids could have done that all afternoon. They’d float their bodies while their hands kinda shuffled them along with the current, and then they’d do it again, and again, and again. It was like sledding.

There weren’t many options for where to stay in Pilot Knob or Ironton (which is practically attached…), and we weren’t thrilled with the prospect of camping in late-July humidity, so Brooke booked us a room at the Fort Davidson Hotel. It has an attached restaurant with a nice patio, it had exterior access to the room, and it had an outdoor pool, so we figured it was a relatively safe bet. The place turned out to be pretty nice, all things considered! We had an issue with the toilet constantly running, but the owner of the hotel came right over and took care of it for us. That night, I went out to Casey’s to get pizza, so the kids were more than satisfied.

The next morning, we went to Elephant Rocks (more on that in another post), and thankfully, it wasn’t all that crowded. More folks kept showing up and, as we were being responsible human beings, we tried avoiding others to the best of our ability, so it was good that we went relatively early so we could leave before the crowds got really bad.

That afternoon was mostly spent out by the pool! The kids were pretty proud of themselves swimming in the 11 ft deep end of the pool for much of the time. Meg was able to get diving sticks from the very bottom, though it took her some practice to get there. Calvin touched the bottom a few times, but again, he hadn’t really done that before, so diving from the surface was tough!

That night, we ate at the attached restaurant. We had the option of eating inside or outside, but the patio was nice enough and the weather wasn’t too bad, so we were comfortable. The kids got some Fitz’s soft drinks and their beer selection was surprisingly decent, considering how far Pilot Knob is from….er….anywhere… And my fried catfish was spectacular.

Across the street from the restaurant sits the namesake of the hotel: Fort Davidson. It was my first “earthen fort” that I’d ever visited, so there wasn’t really all that much to see aside from a hill with grass on it in the shape of a square. Apparently, the Union were holding the fort and then lost a battle with the Confederacy, who then subsequently took over.

So yeah, it was a nice evening stroll after eating way too much. An excuse to walk around a bit like normal people for a change. ūüôā

The next morning, we went to Taum Sauk Mountain, and that afternoon, we went to Johnson’s Shut-Ins. Again, I’ll have separate posts about those, but here, I’ll point out that Taum Sauk was a nice little hike where we got to sit and enjoy some small waterfalls, but Johnson’s Shut-Ins was a madhouse. We figured on a Sunday afternoon, the “St. Louis Crowd” would have waned a bit as they were all heading back home, but nope…totally wrong on that one… We had to park almost a mile away from the main area of the park, and it was very difficult to maintain any form of social distancing, let alone 6 ft. We only stayed for an hour or so, and while the kids would have liked to have stayed a little more (and seen more of the park), we just didn’t feel comfortable.

So we went back to the hotel and swam there again! ūüôā

That evening, we went to a Mexican restaurant in Ironton called Checo’s that was pretty good. Not a lot of good mask-wearing in that building either, but we were seated relatively far from anyone else, so we felt at least okay about it.

In the evenings, we played some games that we brought alone. The first night, we played Skip-Bo, which is a family favorite. The second night, we played a family edition of Trivial Pursuit that actually worked shockingly well. The kids get their own set of cards separate from the adult-level cards, and we think they did a good job of getting that mix right.

Monday morning, we decided to hit up Meremec Caverns on our return trip home, as Onandoga Cave was closed and we had played up how cool caves can be (literally and figuratively).

The kids definitely enjoyed it! I’m not sure I’ve ever been there, though I’ve been to others in the state like Mark Twain Cave, Bridal Cave, and Jacob’s Cave. Like those, this one is definitely a tourist trap, but again, it provided a bit of “spectacle” for the kids to experience. Hopefully they’ll remember it!

We were wearing masks, but very few others in our tour group was. Our tour guide did, but most of the folks with us weren’t doing their part. When we passed other tour groups, it looked like there were others there wearing them, but the majority of the visitors didn’t have them on. Definitely disconcerting.

Again, I think the kids enjoyed it quite a bit, and they did a great job of following directions and listening to the tour guide as he pointed out various aspects of the cave. They also very much enjoyed when they turned all the lights out, just how dark it gets in there. Of course, as we were vacationing in southern Missouri in late-July, we didn’t have jackets with us…..so next time, we should try to remember to bring long sleeves. Calving got a little chilly after being in there for an hour, but overall, they did a good job!

After we finished at Meremec Caverns, we continued home via Highway 50! Mostly, it’s because that was a different route than we took to get home (it also rained quite a bit on our return trip, so that was lovely…..), but the real reason was that we would pass through Jefferson City a little after lunch time:

For the record, Brooke did not eat that entire banana split. Meg did eat the mint chocolate chip sundae in its entirety, though. And she didn’t throw up, for the record.

That’s it! We had a ton of laundry to do after this, but for an extended weekend trip, it was “good enough” to tide us over until next year. We’ll have to double back and get to Yellowstone eventually, but assuming things get better in time, next year’s plan is a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway ending at Disneyland!

State Park #10: Harry S Truman State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

We’ve been feeling pretty cooped up these past few weeks, largely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so with the weather being really good this weekend, we opted to go for a picnic lunch and hike at Harry S Truman State Park, which is a little over an hour south of us in Warsaw, MO.

Getting to the park wasn’t really all that difficult, though it was a bit further off the highway than we anticipated. We had to drive through Warsaw to get there, which was a nice diversion. They seem to be big enough for fast food and grocery stores, so if we were to go down there for an extended camping trip, we’d be all set. Unfortunately, all of the camp grounds in the state parks are closed for the time-being (more on that later…), so that wasn’t really an option this weekend, anyway.

By the time we got down there, it was a little after 11:00, so we opted to eat first before finding our hiking trail. Because of the way Truman Lake bobs and weaves into and out of the land surrounding it, we thought we were in a place close to the hiking trail we were looking for, but upon further examination (and the distinct lack of a trail head), we figured out we had to drive about 10 minutes through the park to get there.

Unfortunately, the trail we wanted (that was something like 2 miles long) was located far back into the camping area of the park. Further unfortunately, said campground was closed, so we couldn’t even drive to it. We could have parked at the Park Office, but we’d have to walk on the road at least a mile just to get to the trail head, making it a 4 mile day. Calvin has improved a lot in the last few years, but 4 miles isn’t something I’m prepared to get him to do just yet……

Instead, we found a trail that we could access, but it was only about 0.9 miles long. It was a decent trail and was well-maintained, but it was a bit muddy in spots (it had rained recently). There were definitely some nice vistas off the trail where you could see Truman Dam off in the distance.

So yeah, this is a weird one, under the circumstances! There’s a beach down there that would probably be good to visit, as well as a pretty massive boat area (that had tons of vehicles parked, so lots of folks were out on Truman Lake, it looked like). We assume the Park Offices had some educational displays, but they weren’t open. There were playgrounds, but they were all roped off. Apparently there are hiking trails, but you can’t get to most of them!

I guess we’ll just have to go back sometime after this situation is all over!!

State Park #9: Knob Noster State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Brooke reminded me that we actually went to another State Park last October and I totally forgot to post about it!

Knob Noster State Park is out near Warrensburg, MO, so it’s a relatively short drive for us. We were looking for a quick hiking trip on a nice day where we could see some pretty Fall leaves, so we made the trip for the afternoon.

Honestly, we didn’t do a whole lot and there wasn’t a ton to see, at least not that I remember. There was a trail that we used to hike around a pretty late, so the bulk of our time there was spent hiking. Calvin was able to get around the whole lake, but he wasn’t particularly speedy…

The aforementioned lake seemed nice and would probably be good for fishing and kayaking, but as we didn’t bring any of that equipment along, we couldn’t make use of it. There’s a campground associated with the park, of course, but we didn’t check it out. It seemed like there were quite a few people there on that particular day, including some groups getting pictures taken with the lake in the background.

Really, the most fun we had was crossing a shallow part of the lake that had some neat rocks for the kids to jump across. Pretty sure we spent 15 minutes just walking across them, back and forth, back and forth…

So yeah, there are a lot of trails there and it’s probably worth revisiting sometime, but hiking and fishing seem to be the biggest attraction to that particular state park. It’s close, at least, so maybe we’ll camp there sometime, but I bet we’ll keep on hitting the other state parks instead!

State Park #8: Watkins Mill State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

We had a free weekend and Brooke told the kids that some hiking was in order. I poked around and found a state park about an hour and a half away from us, so we decided to make a picnic afternoon of it.

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park is close-ish to Kansas City and is technically next to a state historic site of the same name. The mill is a 19th century textile mill that still has the original equipment intact, and apparently it’s the only one in the country set up like this.

But first, we should probably start with the picnic. Nothing terribly exciting, but we were definitely ready to eat something by the time we got there. The picnic area is next to a nice lake, along with a 3 mile paved walkway set up for walking and biking.

The lake actually looked really nice! We didn’t see the campground, but we saw plenty of people there fishing and boating. Now that we have a few kayaks, we could see us spending a decent amount of time boating across the lake on a nice afternoon.

We ended up walking about 1.5 miles around the lake, as it was a bit on the warm side that day. Still, we met some nice people as we traveled around and found some well-placed benches for Calvin to sit on.

After we were done hiking, we hopped back in the car for some welcome A/C and headed off to see the rest of the mill.

We next visited the National Historic Site, which had a nice visitor center with some exhibits showing off life in the 1870s. We have seen plenty of these kinds of exhibits in other places around the state, so it wasn’t anything particularly new, however the giant loom they had was pretty cool. They also had a miniature version available for the kids to try their hand at.

Seeing them work on it for a few minutes, I’m not convinced they’ll be next-level textile makers, but it was still an interesting and entertaining experience.

After leaving the visitor center, we walked down toward the mill and the accompanying mansion. You have to pay extra to visit those two spaces, and after spending plenty of time walking around the lake and eating lunch, we just wanted to see the building without actually going inside. It’s probably an interesting tour (they had period-appropriate women waiting outside each building to walk you through it), but maybe next time.

Anyway, we had a good visit. That lake would probably make a weekend camping trip worth it, but the historic site likely doesn’t take all that much longer than we spent that day.

Afterward, we stopped in Lexington, MO for the return trip and grabbed some ice cream. Again, it was a hot day! We’ll keep Watkins Mill in mind for a camping weekend at some point, as it’s a relatively short drive from here, but we’ve probably seen most of the historic material we need to.

State Park #7: Prairie State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Prairie for as far as the eye can see.
Prairie for as far as the eye can see.

We returned from Pittsburg, KS from Taylore’s wedding back in August of 2016 and, at Brooke’s suggestion, we looked for a Missouri State Park near that region that we otherwise wouldn’t visit for a very, very long time. ¬†She ran across Prairie State Park, which happened to be just over the Kansas/Missouri border.

In all honesty, it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much to do there. ¬†They’ve got multiple hiking trails, including one we went on that, literally, involved walking through a field. ¬†There are some backpacking trails that are a bit longer and further out, but again, given the terrain, I’m not sure that it would be all that “hilly” or otherwise difficult to make good time on a long trail. ¬†Shade was certainly at a premium out there…

...the boy was very slow...
…the boy was very slow…

The “claim to fame,” at least so far as we could tell in our limited time there, was that this open field we were hiking through also contains bison and elk. ¬†When we first drove in, the sign informed us that there were free roaming elk and bison moving through the area and, while we didn’t see any, unfortunately, we did see signs of them…

Ew...
Ew…

…but with multiple buffalo patties around, it was clear that large animals move through the area frequently. ¬†They were easily identified by their similarity to their other bovine brethren (and the fact that we saw tons of the elk variety in Colorado and it looks nothing like this).

A nest for something...big...
A nest for something…big…

We also saw multiple spots in the grass that clearly used to bed some kind of large animal. ¬†It wasn’t obvious to us whether we were seeing elk or buffalo “beds,” but they must have been recent, as the grass looked like it would pop back up given enough time.

"You may experience bison/elk"...is that a combination organism?!
“You may experience bison/elk”…is that a hybrid organism?!

Overall, it was a nice, brief little stop. ¬†They’ve got camping, but we didn’t see much of a shower house available: only a single in-ground outhouse near the picnic area. ¬†It looked like mostly primitive camp sites and, although they actually looked pretty nice and spacious, only one was reserved for the coming days. ¬†I suppose August isn’t exactly prime camping season.

We want to go back and see some bison up close, though!  Perhaps another time, when we happen to be down in southwestern Missouri!

State Park #6: Pershing State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Back in May of 2016, we went camping at Pershing State Park. It was named for Gen. John J. Pershing, who grew up in the area and explored it as a kid. It’s located in the north-central part of the State, so Brooke and I had visited the park back when we were in college, so we thought it’d be cool to check it out with our kids.

DSC_0057

The campsite we stayed at was just a short walk to a small pond. Calvin and Meg weren’t particularly great at fishing, but they still had fun! If I remember right, the kids got their lines stuck in branches a few times and didn’t catch anything, but oh well – it killed some time.

DSC_0006

The campsites were pretty flat and covered in trees. It was easy enough for them to entertain themselves around the campground. We were there in mid-May, so the temperature was pretty reasonable: chilly at night, nice during the day, not many mosquitoes yet. There was plenty of wood around to make a fire with, and that’s always entertaining to 2- and 5-year-old kids.

DSC_0028

We didn’t do a ton of hiking, but Pershing has a pretty cool walking trail through some tall grasses. There wasn’t much wildlife aside from birds we could see, but the kids enjoyed hiding from each other, darting around corners behind brush. The boardwalk pictured above is a short loop within walking distance from the campsite. We did our best not to carry Calvin all that much, but we didn’t have much of a choice unless we wanted to sleep on the trail forever…

There was also a cool observation deck where you could watch for water fowl in the marsh. The kids took their sweet time climbing up to the top, despite the fact it wasn’t even really that tall. Remember, Calvin is among the slowest people on the planet and it was even worse when he was 2…

DSC_0038

Overall, we had a great time! It was also a relatively short drive for us, which is always appreciated. I don’t remember there being a playground all that close to our campsite, which would have been nice, but our kids were of the age where they could “make their own fun” so it wasn’t a big deal.

We’d go back! It’s definitely worth the return trip someday!

State Park #5: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

So, I last posted about State Parks last May. For real, this time, I’m going to get a few more in the virtual can. It’s on my “Christmas Break list” and Brooke keeps reminding me to work on them.

We last visited Rock Bridge Memorial State Park near Columbia in April 2017, though Meg first visited back in 2012, before Calvin was born. As close as we live, and as often as we’re in Columbia, you’d think we’d go more often, but alas.

The proverbial “rock bridge.”

The park gets its name from an unusual rock formation carved out by a creek over many years. Growing up, we used to be able to actually walk through the bridge, but a few years ago, they removed the wooden walkway. To be fair, they’d have to close the walkway any time the creek flooded, so perhaps it’s for the best.

Meg was a bit smaller back then…

Brooke and I both went to the park growing up, actually. Mom and Dad took my sister and I and we both went on school trips relatively frequently. I never got to go down in the “Devil’s Icebox” cave, but Brooke got to back in high school. I also participated in an orienteering activity there in 8th grade, which Mom fondly remembers.

Some relatively light hiking around the park

The hiking around the park can be as strenuous or as simple as you want, with many trails set up on wooden slats, and other portions being traditional dirt trails. The park is pretty big and has campsites, but I don’t remember ever camping there. My experience is mostly just the hiking around the park, but even with that, I never really went all that far.

That kid…

The aforementioned Devil’s Icebox cave is somewhat popular among amateur spelunkers. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d even gone down as far as these pictures here indicate. The kids found it pretty awesome to be down in a cave by the rushing water. We didn’t get all that wet, but they did go out in the middle of the water out on some slippery rocks.

We’re in a cave!

We may end up camping there at some point, but for the time being, we’ll probably just visit when we get some time in Columbia. It’s a fun and easy park to walk around in so we’ll definitely head back…but we have quite a few other parks to hit, too!

State Park #4: Van Meter State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Hey, remember when I said I was going to make blog posts about all the State Parks we’ve visited??¬† Yeah, back in 2016?¬† I suppose I should get back to that.

Incidentally, we went camping at Van Meter last weekend, but I’ll put that in a separate post.¬†¬†Before I do that, perhaps I should share some of our “greatest hits” from previous years.

IMAG2113
Remember this kid??

Van Meter State Park is the closest state park to Marshall, so it’s the one we’ve visited the most since we moved here in 2014.¬† There’s a small playground and a campground (that we only recently camped at!), and a few relatively light hiking trails that hit various parts of the park.

IMG_20150411_115651
Hiking has gotten…faster…over the years…

A few of the trails head down into wetland areas, and for short legs, they’re pretty easy to handle.¬† We’ve probably visited those most often, as we could put Calvin down and let him roam mostly freely (albeit slowly).¬† The other trail we’ve visited with relative frequency is the Lakeview Trail that (spoiler alert) goes around Lake Wooldridge.

IMG_20150411_120846392
The Lake is one of the best parts of Van Meter!

The lake is especially nice because you¬†can get close to it, but you don’t have to.¬† The kids get some interesting scenery to check out, and we get a halfway decent hike.¬† That trail gets “spider webby” as the Summer goes on, so it’s definitely better in the late Spring/early Summer months.

IMAG2103
Picnicking on our very first visit.

The other interesting note about Van Meter is that a series of Native American mound structures are present on the site.¬† The¬†Missouri American Indian Cultural Center is on the park grounds and has a few displays to explain this history to visitors.¬† The mounds found at Van Meter aren’t as large as those found in Cahokia, but have similar features.

IMG_20160101_152929396_HDR
One of our multiple New Years’ hikes!

One tradition we’ve tried starting for New Year’s Day is to go hiking.¬† This year proved a tad chilly for that (high of 11 F, low of -8 F), so we put off our hike a few days (but still went!). Typically, we’re the only visitors at that time (because duh…), so it’s nice being out in the new year with a fresh, nature-esque perspective.

IMG_20160101_152206956

Again, I can’t emphasize how slow Calvin is.¬† Seriously.¬† He’s the slowest hiker ever.

Anyway, Van Meter is a fun park to visit.¬† I’m not sure it’s a “destination state park,” but the camping experience was near perfect and the hiking is relatively simple for kids and adults, alike.

State Park #3: Trail of Tears State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

DSC_0002

It’s about time for another one of these posts, right?

Back in early June, 2015, we went on another camping trip with the Montgomerys and tried to find a place somewhat “halfway” between Marshall and the Memphis, TN area. ¬†We tried Trail of Tears State Park near Jackson, MO.

In general, we weren’t all that pleased with this park. ¬†Not that it was¬†bad, per se, but the area wasn’t quite as well arrange for families as the last place. ¬†The sites we selected were near each other, but much more forested than St. Francois from the previous year. ¬†That also meant that Calvin, who wasn’t a great “walker” quite yet, found it much easier to trip on tree roots and rocks, and wander out into poison ivy with relative ease. ¬†Also, we effectively had two separate camp sites, as the map we’d looked at wasn’t exactly clear on the position of the two locations, ultimately putting our tents about as far from each other as possible.

There was a very limited playground, but it wasn’t within walking distance. ¬†There weren’t really other activities available either, aside from hiking, but again, when you’ve got small kids, that isn’t a great option. ¬†At Calvin’s and Meg’s age¬†now, we’d probably have a better time, but back then, it wasn’t ideal.

DSC_0039

I should note that we¬†did have fun visiting! ¬†This state park just wasn’t our favorite, I suppose. ¬†Early June was a little on the warm side, but not unbearable. ¬†Being deeper in the woods meant that the breeze wasn’t exactly…er…breezy…but we got something.

Anyway, we’d probably go back someday, but it isn’t all that close to our house (Jackson is mostly off the highway, but we have to drive a very round-about way to get there from here), so it will probably be awhile before we’re back in that area of the state.

State Park #2: St. Francois State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

DSC_0116
A brisk morning…

We visited St. Francois State Park way back in April of 2013. ¬†Meg had recently turned 3-years-old and this was among her first camping trips (though not her first, because we went to Minnesota about 7 months before this), and probably our second time using our massive “new” Coleman tent.

We took this trip with the Montgomerys, from church, and another couple they knew from work. ¬†It’s been awhile, so I’m thinking back on this particular camping trip and I remember it being quite cold! ¬†Meg, Brooke and I were there alone for Friday night and it dropped to near freezing. ¬†I remember reaching into the second room to make sure Meg was breathing and warm multiple times during the night, so we didn’t sleep all that well. ¬†The second night was markedly warmer, though the other folks who joined us for the trip complained about being cold. ¬†We’d already seen the worst of it, so Saturday night was relatively balmy for us!

With regards to the park itself, they had a healthy number of nice hiking trails that suited our abilities well. ¬†We had Meg strapped to our backs, but thankfully, the trail we went on was mostly level, so it wasn’t all that strenuous. ¬†It also went along a creek for a good portion, so that provided Meg with something interesting to look at while we were moving about the park.

One of my all-time favorite shots...
One of my all-time favorite shots…

The park also had a pretty good playground close to where we were camping, at least within walking distance.  Most of the facilities were close to our camping site too, and everything was clean and accessible.  Meg was potty trained by this point, but we were still having to work with her a bit on sitting on an actual toilet, rather than sitting in an outhouse.

We didn’t really take advantage of any nature talks, at least not that I remember. ¬†I’m sure they were offered, but we were likely busy enough trying to wrangle Meg that we didn’t pay much attention to them. ¬†Firewood was easily accessible, so we’d have to go on some field trips to either buy or find some.

DSC_0113
That Saturday morning was cooooooooold!

Another nice thing about this park was the open areas near the camp site. ¬†With some other places we’ve stayed, the camp sites were deeper into the forest, leaving little “play areas” for young kids to run around without tripping over tree roots or rocks. ¬†The location for the camp site had a nice, open, grassy area across from the tents, so it was easy for the kids to kick a ball or run around the tents. ¬†The adults could also see the kids from a substantial distance, so they couldn’t go hiding behind a tree or anything without us noticing.

One of the other things Brooke and I remember about this park was that Meg, Latham and Ellis played in our tent for¬†hours on Saturday afternoon. ¬†The sun was out, the weather was nice, and the tent had a door that the kids could open on their own. ¬†They’d run around it, move toys in and out of the screened-in area, and they’d be yelling and screaming with delight. ¬†Sure, it got kinda annoying for us (and dirt on our sleeping bags…), but they entertained¬†themselves for a lot of this trip, giving us a nice reprieve from our normal weekend activities.

Meg and Latham playing in the tent.
Meg and Latham playing in the tent.

Overall, we have fond memories of this park. ¬†Compared with some others we’ve attended, this one seemed particularly well-suited to young kids, something we probably didn’t appreciate until we went to some other state parks that weren’t as well organized for such things.