Thursday Heather worked half the day from home and I left my office early. We were mostly packed just needed to load the van and once ready we headed to Topeka.
The ladies dropped me off at the newish KCUR extension office I had an hour of work to do and they went over to a playground and hung out with an old friend of ours from college. After work I walked over to the park and then we headed to dinner at our favorite Topeka spot, the Blind Tiger.
bonus it was nice out and the deck was shaded.
At dinner Heath tried to adjust Pumpkins terribly out of shape glasses.
But they snapped right down the middle. We also realized we forgot a few things at home so we rushed to Walmart. Heath got a great deal on some new frames and with Pumpkin and Bean and I ran around and loaded up on extra gear. Then off we went.
I had downloaded some kids audio stories to listen too and put them on. They were terrible and the kids and I passed out immediately. We woke up just outside of Wilson, KS as we went into a massive storm. Heath had to pull over and the van was rocking back and forth in the wind and we could barely hear each other over the rain. Then it started to hail and we were worried about denting our new van or breaking a window. Eventually it let up and we got back on the road and back to sleep. Heath saw several semis off the road. She pulled off in Oakley and I took over driving the rest of the way. We got to the sand dunes a bit before the sun did and cruised around some.
Normally on these sorts of trips we would rush up the dunes as soon as everyone was up but we didn’t have a campsite and needed 2 of them and it was Memorial Day weekend. SO we had a nice quick breakfast in a picnic area.
And looked at the sand from afar.
Then headed to the campground to find people leaving. We lucked out and found 2 sites across the street from eachother, next to a little creek with folks checking out today. The folks were still packing up so we reserved the site, parked and went for a hike up in the hills.
We wondered around and tried to avoid the cactus and thick brush.
We made our way off the hill and back into the campsites and found 1 of the sites was open so we set up the tent and unpacked some. Then our friends showed up and we were ready to play on the dunes.
Our friends had rented a couple sand sleds so we took them with us.
and crossed the little creak to the dunes.
We found a nice big hill and rubbed the boards with wax.
Then took turns cruising off down the hill.
It was really fun and a really nice day but it was also a really windy day. And we were a bit eager to get out of the sand and wind. We went back to camp and discovered our site was okay but our friends site had someone else’s tent and gear in it. Even though we had paid and reserved it someone moved in.
Mark and I set up our campsite and talked with the Rangers while the girls headed to the visitor center for a ranger program.
We ended up moving our friends to the handycap campsite right next to us and then getting both sites all setup and ready. We relaxed a bit around camp,
Then we went for a hike.
The hike ended at the Zapata falls.
The water coming out is really cold and hard to get back in far enough to see the falls without getting in but that did not stop Pumpkin and I.
You end up in a really tall crack in the rocks with several levels of water crashing down and it’s pretty dark and cold. We went back to camp and had dinner and everyone was ready for bed early. In the morning we cooked up a big breakfast and then headed to the crocodile farm.
yeah that little guy is alive.
We did all sorts of fun stuff and fed lots of reptiles and stuff.
Then we headed to the hot spring pool just down the road.
The air was cold, the wind was strong, the clouds were scary but the water was nice and warm and felt great.
The kids had a slide.
The Adults had an adult only greenhouse.
The clouds eventually rolled in and we rolled out. We went back to camp and started a fire. I don’t think it ever rained.
We had mexican dinner.
Then made smores.
In the morning we made breakfast, packed up camp and got back in the van.
We drove 2 hours and stopped at our next campsite at Lake Isabel.
We got there just in time to make lunch.
Then we hiked a bit.
and checked out the lake,
and tossed rocks in the creek.
Then our friends headed home. Heath and I set up our camp
and the girls built a fort.
I went for a little trail run and then we made dinner.
After dinner we made some dessert but didn’t cook or eat it. We also bundled up, got everything ready for bed and then at dusk started a night hike.
We mostly followed the lake but had a few detours and got some pre dessert fudge.
We had a blast on the hike and went a long way. It took a long time to get real dark.
The last part of the hike was on the road with flashlights and the girls throught it was so cool to be hiking so late.
We had left our dessert on the coals and it was all cooked when we got back.
It was a mix of apples and cinamon and stuff that had gotten a bit too cooked on the long hike. It was a cool night but we were warm and snug in our bags.
In the morning we had hot coco and coffee to warm us up with our breakfast.
The girls helped pack up camp and played in their fort some.
Then we all did a little day hike.
We didn’t stay long because we had work the next day and a long drive.
On the way home we saw something crazy off the highway.
It was a place called Bishops Castle and super cool fun free place to climb.
Being the climbers we are, we headed right up.
It was a bit scary
but really interesting.
Eventually we made our way down and rushed home. We hit up a new to us Brewery in Hays KS on the way.
It had great food and beer and was the perfect spot to break up the drive home.