On our second day, we decided to try a more adventurous hike, though in the great scheme of hikes, it was still pretty tame and easy.
So we started off, with the little girls under their own power.
There was a nice view on the way to the main view.
But, then the little girls got tired. And recently, when they (well, L.) get tired, they cry. Loudly. Without stopping. No matter what anyone does. B. was pretty sure he lost a bit of hearing by the end.
H. did pretty well. She stuck close to J. on our hike the day before, so I took charge of her for most of this one. But since J. is the far more favored parent at the moment, this did not make her entirely happy. She would tell me she was hot and tired, to which I said that was too bad and encouraged her along the path. H. would then ask me where her daddy was. I said he was on the path somewhere (we were pretty spread out at this point), and H. took this to mean J. was ahead of us. So, despite her hotness and tiredness, she would bolt ahead of me , leaping over tree roots in her quest to find the favored parent. We repeated this little sequence of events more than a few times.
Eventually we reached our vista. I'm happy to report that no one fell off the edge of the cliff. No doubt because of my nervous warnings to stay back from the edge.
There was a great frog pond near the trail head. My frog loving girl was in heaven and announced that this is where she wants to live someday. The pond had duckweed! Imagine.
Shhhh! The frog hunter is in action. Or inaction as the case may be.
The next day it was time to pack up and head home. We decided that really, a camping trip should be at least four or five days long. It seems to take that long for everyone to relax and get in their camping groove. Plus there were still many things that we wished we could have done. Next year.
On the way home, we decided to stop off at the cypress swamp that is in the park. There was a really nice visitor center. It had a snake! (I don't really have girly-girls, can you tell?) H. even decided the snake was OK, though that was not her initial reaction.
We walked around a small wetland in back of the visitor center. It was a bit anti-climatic because southern Illinois is in the midst of a drought, so the wetland wasn't too wet. Plus, the temperature had soared and it was pretty hot outside. G. decided that she didn't really feel like walking.
In search of a real cypress swamp we got in the car and drove some more. We did find it.
Our children, on the other hand, were not convinced that they really needed to see it. TM brought his battery powered fan along in protest of the heat.
The duck weed was fun to play in, though.
And put on your face. (You will need to click on this picture to make it larger to really appreciate the green stripes on L.'s face.)
We then force marched our children to see the 1000 year old tree that is in the swamp. Here it is:
I think they were all expecting something a bit grander... along the lines of a redwood, I think... because they were all quite underwhelmed.
The wild blackberries we found along the trail back to the car made up a little bit for the heat and unexciting tree.
Then it was time to load up the van and start the drive home. A good camping trip, I think.