Heath and I woke up first surprised it was so comfortable in our tent so long after sunrise. As we saw the sunlight hit the top of our tent we knew it would not last long and started packing up the insides of the tent. We heard a little grunt and saw Pumpkin next door standing on her tip toes and trying to jump to something in the pocket at the top of the tent a good foot taller then her fingers. We finished the insides of our tent then braved the bugs we could see through the mesh of our tent. We piled stuff on the picnic table and dropped our tent and folded it and put it away. Heath headed over to the real bathroom and I joined the kids in their tent and helped Peanut fold everything. Then we all worked together to drop and fold their tent as quick as we could. Then we headed to the van with as much as we could carry. We left the gear near the trail head and walked the rest of the way to the van.
Then we drove to the trail head and I ran over to get the rest of the stuff and Heath loaded up the van. We filled out water bottles and then went to look for a place with no bugs to cook breakfast and figure out the rest of our day. After a bit of searching we found a really nice spot and decided to cook cheesy shells, black beans, green beans and tuna as it was about 11am.
On our hike out of the campsite the bugs had gotten all of us but Pumpkin was the most obvious.
I tried to get her to wear a mosquito net while cooking but she would not. Peanut wore one while working on his Jr. Ranger Badge.
The bugs were not terrible but still annoying at the picnic area so we tried to use a tub lid as a fan to keep them blown away from the kids. Brunch was tasty and eaten super quick so we could get back in the van.
We felt like we had not gotten to enjoy much of the park and were hoping to hop on a train and ride it thought the park. We didn’t want to be around the heat or bugs anymore and this seemed like a perfect solution. We checked the schedule and we would need to drive super-fast to the other end of the park to catch the train and then we would be stuck ridding it until late in the afternoon before we could get back to the van. We decided to skip it and get an early start on the drive home. We picked out a few things on the way out that may be fun and inside but they didn’t really work out either so we just stopped at a visitor information center and finished off the Jr. Ranger badge then head out.
We started the 13.5 hour drive home. Nothing to crazy, everyone did pretty good driving though the day and I was surprised. We got Hardees to go for lunch plus some fruit and cheese for Pumpkin and then stopped at a Longhorn for a mediocre dinner and a driving break.
We drove on though the night listening to This American Life. Around 1:30 I pulled into the driveway to find Tony, Felicia, Stephen and Jon waiting to celebrate our return and playing some sort of odd game with a balloon and box fan. We carried the kiddos in the house and put them in bed. I think Heath changed clothes and crashed. I’d been drinking some caffeine and was alert from driving so I joined the group for a couple beers in the driveway before we all headed to bed.
…and the trip was over