Finally--we got to go CAMPING!! This weekend was just the third time we've had our camper out, and we hit the road for Roaring River State Park in Missouri. I used to go there a lot as a kid--and it seems like we camped there. I have also made several day-trips there over the years, and even hikes maybe a half mile on some of the trailz--before I was a runner.
Our intent of getting there before dark fell short, and a mere 10 miles from the campground, I had a blowout in the front passenger tire on an unmarked but paved narrow farm road. Siri told me to take the road, cuz she knows I like the shortest way. I didn't know where my jack was, but a couple of older men stopped and offered advice which was greatly appreciated. They told me how to unlock my spare--I didn't know it was locked in--and stayed and held flashlights while I changed the flat. They also told me where I could get it fixed, the next day, and I ended up buying a whole set of tires at a good price. These men were a Godsend.
So we stumbled around at the campground trying to find a good spot, and set up camp with no problems. The picture above is actually where we stayed the second night as the place we landed was right by the main road into the park, and the non-stop cars during the day was too much noise.
With our camper, we always wake up at daybreak.
There's no blackout shades and I really like to get up as soon as it's light so we have more time to play!
I especially liked that my phone had no signal.
No Facebook, no phone ringing, no texts.
But playtime could not happen until I got the tire thing fixed, and this left Dana and Jake by themselves until I got back.
Ball and Prier Tire was awesome, but really busy and a little slow. SO, leaving at 8:30, I did not get back until a little after noon.
Jake seemed a little bored and annoyed, but he got his share of running in.
We hit the Pibern Trail first. This was a short loop, but what it lacked in length, it made up for in elevation and rocks.
It started out nice and wide, with just a few river rocks....
....but soon turned into the river--a dry stream-bed. But then the climbing began.
Dana walked. I walked. It was a power-hike at best.
Jake was huffing and puffing too.
Most of the hiking trailz here seem to be a "connect-the-dots" route between interesting rock formations and small caves. Jake and I checked therm all out.
The only group picture with Dana and I turned out really yellow with the green in the foliage and the mustard yellow in my shirt, so I made a b/w pic.
The decent on the Pibern was rocky, rooty, and technical. A good place to twist an ankle, but I waited until the next day to roll mine, and on a nice dirt trail. No real damage though.
What a poser. Jake hams it up for the camera while waiting for Mom to catch up.
Next was the Devil's Kitchen. With a name like this, we thought we were in for a tough one, but it was easier and more scenic than the Pibern.
Parts of this trail reminded me of the FlatRock trailz. This one led up to a cave--actually a room formed by a huge rock sliding over two others making a ceiling. It would be a good hideout for outlaws, and I believe there are local tales of just that.
This big loop took us by several amazing rock formations, and winded it's way very near the trout hatchery, but we opted to skip the fish farm and head back to camp for dinner.
Sunday, the plan was to do the Eagle Rock Trail, which included climbing the highest hill in the park, and then doing the Fore Tower Trail, which was the longest trail ion the park. I had checked the trail map and had the whole trip etched in my mind--not always the best idea. The start of the trip consisted of a mile trek on paved roads to the trail head, but we dropped down and ran through a long park area to keep Jakers away from the cars. (Yes, he was leashed while near the road.)
The Eagle Rock trail led us alongside Roaring River downstream from the hatchery. This trail climbed gradually for about a half mile. and then switched back to the north (I think--I was turned around on directions the whole time.)
We climbed a little over 400 feet in the first mile of the trail. Not runable going up at all. How's this for a couple of posers?
The descent was brutal--almost straight down on loose rocks. It would have been a very tough ascent going the other way! But it leveled out and we had a mile of gradual downhill with a few flats to end the loop. Nice.
I had looked at the map wrong though. I thought we could get to the Fire Tower trail not far from the Eagle Rock trail head, but the place we needed to be was a mile and a half down a narrow and heavily used highway. We could have got on at another place, but o could have only done a small part of the loop without doing a long out-and-back, so we just decided to head back to camp for lunch and to pack things up.
We could have taken the bridge across, but stream crossings are so much more fun.
No frowny face on Dana. The super cold water felt good on our feet.
Jake had zero complaints about the cold water though. He got in several swims.
We had a great time here--wish we could have had another day or two though. Did not visit the hatchery--been there done that. I'm sure people will think it crazy that we did not fish. Oh well. Next time, we'll tackle the trailz we missed, and with good planning, we could probably get them all ran in one day. This was good training for FlatRock--lots of loose rocks. It was also good Arkansas Traveller training with long seemingly unending climbs.
My favorite pic of the day--Dana running an uphill on the Eagle Rock Trail. Good times!