I have really, really missed my camping buddy. My sister, Gwen, and I used to go camping regularly when we lived in South Carolina. Since we've moved here, I haven't been camping at all. So sad, I know.
But I got lucky. Gwen has moved to the north side of Dallas. That's just a few hours from here.
Once Gwen got settled in, the first item of business was for us to plan a camping trip somewhere half-way between Dallas and Oklahoma City. Turner Falls is close to halfway, but it was kind of expensive to camp at the park, so I looked a little further. That's when I found it. Lake Murray State Park. For a minute I actually wondered if I was in the wrong state. I could have sworn Lake Murray was in South Carolina...
There is apparently more than one.
So now that we had a location, we needed a date. When to do it? The best time for both of us was Halloween night, and since the kids got to have "Halloween" at the church the Saturday before and stock up on some candy, it didn't seem like much of a hardship to them to miss the neighborhood trick or treating to go camping with their cool Aunt Gwen and Uncle Richard.
It was absolutely gorgeous. The scenery, the weather, you name it. Lows in the mid-50's; highs in the mid-70's! That's what I call perfect camping weather. I will never understand those crazy people that go camping in the summer. I'd rather have my air conditioning.
So, on to the pictures. This one sums up camping with a 12-month old pretty well:
Honestly, there's just no way to keep the baby clean. And I'm okay with that. A good soaking in the tub when we get home takes care of all those germs under the fingernails. But I drew my line at the worm. He was not going to eat that, which meant he couldn't play with it at all. He wasn't thrilled.
Overall, though, it was a great trip. We camped at Tipps Point, which is a small peninsula in the lake. Our campsite was close to the water, but not so close that Maddox could fall in.
What you don't see, however, is the 6-foot cliff along the edge of our site. It led down to this rocky stretch of coast:
Maddox loved walking to the edge of the cliff. Constantly.
And where were the other kids? Where else? They were by the water.
Throwing in rocks.
Fortunately, Aunt Gwen took watched Maddox like a hawk while I was setting up our tent. He wasn't going over the edge on her watch.
Since the kids were missing Halloween festivities at home, Gwen and Richard brought Halloween to the campsite: decorations and goody bags for the kids. The girls had a blast putting up the decorations. This guy totally creeped me out.
The girls dubbed him "Creepio", which I think is funny since they aren't Star Wars fans (much to my shame and Ben's disappointment). I'm not really sure where they came up with the name.
For dinner the grown-ups had fabulous foil dinners cooked by the Firemaster (aka Richard), and the kids roasted hot dogs on the fire.
Olivia got pretty good at cooking over the fire, but Kelsey has this terror of food catching fire (bad marshmallow experience once), so in the end Richard cooked her dinner, too.
And a few other pictures worth posting here...
A gorgeous sunrise
Gorgeous blue lake
The obligatory pose on top of a rock
Tiny shells found by the water
The one thing that we really wanted to do was go to Tucker Tower where the nature center is housed. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovations and we missed it. I guess we'll just have to head back in the spring for another trip!
With any luck, Maddox will have grown out of his cliff-diving obsession.