Arkansas Hike

So just a warning, this post contains a lot of photos…spending time with my family is so special to me and I just want to capture everything! Sorry in advance 😂.

Justin does so good at planning and executing family vacations for us, even when I may not be 100% on board with some of his ideas.  He has been wanting to take us on an overnight hike for quite sometime now and with the promise of letting me rent an awesome camera lens and his parents tagging along, I was in, hesitant, but in.  I think I love and appreciate these experiences more when I am on the end side of them and get to enjoy the memories and photos I took (and also sleep in my comfy bed). But in all honesty, this was such a fun trip and absolutely beautiful. The hike he planned for us was part of one he did before with some friends from KS. I think he said they hiked 26 miles in a few days and we did 5-6 miles in two. It was hard work especially with the kids, but they were amazing.

It took us a little bit to get out of Dallas with having to pick up my 35mm 1.4 lens I rented and also stopping at REI. I think we are all set to live outside, if it ever came to be!

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He was on a mission and so excited to get there. I love how much he loves being outside.

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We didn’t arrive until after dark on Friday evening, but luckily Justin’s dad met us in the parking lot and showed us to the campsite. We didn’t have phone service so we were just hoping to find them. We didn’t have to go far the first night and went to bed pretty early. The first thing the kids had to do the next morning was explore the creek. Lots of rock throwing went down.

“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them the daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. . . . Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged form the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.” Mary Oliver

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And then it was finally breakfast time! Justin’s mom has a yummy oatmeal mix we always make and it is usually a big hit with the kids.  Julianna was the biggest fan this time!

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We played around the campsite for a bit and then packed everything up so we could start the hike.

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Pouting about getting in trouble…this occurred many other time this trip and it is the cutest pout ever!

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Packing her carrier with leaves, because apparently she wasn’t enough weight for me to carry. 🙄

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Umm this light right here was heavenly!

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Ready to go!

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We first had to cross this little creek…looks easy right!?! Well the spot where we had to cross was actually over the water so we had to walk across a log. I wasn’t quite acclimated to the weight of my pack yet,  plus I was carrying my camera and a trekking pole, and I may have lost balance.  Julianna and I went down. Luckily it was like the second step I took and I was able to fall onto land and not in the water. I banged up my elbow a bit, but I was so thankful Julianna didn’t get hurt and nothing got wet.

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If you look right in the middle of this image, you can see a deer. We saw four of them in this area and they were so pretty.

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Our first snack break and Justin recording our trip on his topo map. He had to write in the spot where I  “almost” fell in. 😂day-2-48-copy

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Break number 2 called for dipping our toes in the water

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The hike in was about 2.5 miles and we had to cross another river to get there…I may have been a little scared, but we made it!

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More pouting

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Her daddy can’t even say no to her without this happening and it is so hard for me to keep a straight face.

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The kids loved playing in the water right by our campsite. There were lots of people there swimming in it, but it was pretty cold! The guys got the tents set up while we played and then we had lunch which consisted of couscous, summer sausage and crackers. Justin also added some salmon pouches to the kids and his couscous.

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Nap time! I tried laying down with Julianna, but woke up to her unzipping the tent and trying to escape. I left and she finally went to sleep and Justin passed out too!

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The rest of the day, we pretty much played in the water and explored around the area. Mammaw and the kids found a “bear” cave and they of course thought it was awesome!

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Justin wanted me to take a photo of the river using a slow shutter speed

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and fast shutter speed…fun to see the difference!

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The scenery in this spot was so pretty

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This girl got brave and got all the way in the water and even put her face under.

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We bought the prepackaged meals from REI for dinner. The kids had mac n cheese, but the big hit was the chicken and dumplings!

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And no camping experience is complete without roasting marshmallows!

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The girls slept in the tent with me and the baby was up at 6 am. Somehow I always end up in the tent with the kid who doesn’t want to sleep great. Next time I’m going to just have to claim the big kids, because the littles listen best to Dad. We got up the next morning, had breakfast, did a little more playing in the river, and then got packed up to hike back to the car. I’m not sure I’ve ever walked so quickly 😂

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When you are up at 6 AM, you need a early morning nap. Don’t worry Julianna, I got you!

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I may have smiled really big here  😉 So close to air conditioning and clean clothes!

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This photo makes me giggle…I’m looking pretty rough, but we needed to capture our successful hike!

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I put together this little video of our last day  ❤

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