Smokies Day 3

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My alarm went off at 6:40. I got up and started coffee and moved some breakfast stuff around in the van. Then I got everyone else in and off we went, back to look for bears on the loop. The whole place was in a thick fog when we got started.

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We saw more deer and the landscape was really pretty.  IMG_0313

There were lots of bear droppings but we still didn’t see any bears.

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We looked through another old farmstead and an old gravesite on the drive and the kids ate poptarts and fruit.  This time the loop was not too crowded and we made it through pretty quick.

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Once back at camp Peanut got busy working on his ranger badge book and the rest of us packed up camp. We cleaned up the van and repacked everything. Peanut finished his book and we went off to get his badge.

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Then we hit the bathrooms and started our drive out of the park.

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We had a four and a half hour drive to Mamoth Cave National Park. Heath drove the first section and once we were all hungry we stopped at a rest stop right on the Kentucky border. We made ramon cup of soups and ate some fruit and other snacks.

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Every really liked their noodles and finished them all off. Just as we were finishing up lunch the sky got dark and it started to pour, we ran to the van just in time. I took over driving and took us the rest of the way. We went to the visitor center first and checked out the map and the programs and found out we switched time zones. We picked out a cave tour to do that started in about an hour and a half then we drove to the campsites and picked one out. We quickly unpacked our gear, set up our tent and loaded the kids with granola bars and prunes and other snacks.

Then we went back to the visitor center and went on our cave tour. Mammoth cave is over 400 miles long and is the 2nd oldest tourist attraction in US behind Niagara falls.

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It was a lot different then the caves we have been into in Missouri. It was totally dry and had really large rooms with no formations.

We had our arms full with the girls and the coats and didn’t take the good camera and only took a couple of cell phone shots so I borrowed the ones above. Here are ours.

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We had a good guide that was funny and had some good stories. Bean was restless and wanted to run around the cave but otherwise the kids did great. The tour lasted an hour and fifteen minutes and then we climbed our way out.

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Our dinner plan was kind of open. We were talking about getting some brauts or chicken breast or something good to grill at the camp store then cooking at camp. We headed to the store and they only had hot dogs and bacon so we decided to open up our tub of food and skip buying some meat.

Back at camp someone had left firewood in our site again so we got a fire going and got a similar dinner to the night before going. The kids played and rode bikes but they were pretty worn out and didn’t mind just relaxing.

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We had shells and cheese with black beans, cut up summer sausage and fritos. We ate the whole pot then got cleaned up. Bean was ready for bed so I started to get her ready and Heath took the big kids to a ranger campfire story.

Once I had Bean in the pack and play it started to thunder. Heath and the kids came back shortly later. Pumpkin had tried to jump from 1 bench to another and fell and hit her head. Heath took her to the store and got her some ice and had them help make sure she was alright. Some ice cream seemed to fix her up.

While she was recovering we cooked some smores and then it started to rain and we put away everything and got in the tent.  The kids watched Incredibles and Heath and I read books until bedtime. We listened to the rain as we fell asleep and it continued to pour all night long…

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