We've been wanting to take our family to Turkey Run to do some hiking for quite some time now. We finally said "let's just plan this trip", mentioned it to some friends, and they wanted to join us. After mentioning it to another family, we decided to invite lots of people, so our family trip turned into a trip of 56 people and 10 dogs. :) It was wonderful!!!
The plan was to have a long weekend, do a lot of hiking, and enjoy the time of fellowship. That was certainly accomplished. We arrived on Thursday and left late afternoon on Sunday and filled the time with some splendid memories with one another.
Thursday, after getting our tents set up, Jonathon took a hike to pick up a friend's van, along with some of the children. I'm sure I was finishing set up, like getting sleeping bags arranged and putting clothes bags where they go. It was nice having my mom along, who shared food prep with me and brought along lots of gear to save me the packing.
That night several of the families didn't have the best of sleeping night. The raccoons were terrible in this park, and we didn't prepare for that very well. They got into our totes and fought over and ate 2 bags of our tortilla chips. We could hear them out there in our trailer getting into our stuff. Finally, Jonathon went out to scare them away and put our food in the van. There were 7 coons in the trailer. He came back to bed and shortly after that we heard chip bags crinkling again and more vicious fighting, so I asked him to please go out and put everything in the van and get the bags that they are fighting over. Nasty little critters!!! We weren 't the only ones who lost food that night or later nights. The rest of the nights were much better sleep for us as we made sure all totes and cooler were safely put away in the van before the sun went down.
The next day, the whole group (well most of the group) headed for trail #3, the most adventurous of trails. We all had a splendid time! Here's some photos from that hike.
This is actually the start of it. To get to a lot of the trails, you have to cross this suspension bridge. Such beautiful scenery.
The Brothers crew
The Lepley children
My parents did great! Their hiking poles helped. I believe my mom felt quite accomplished when the hike was over. Great job, Mom!
This trail beautiful and so much fun to go on.
These are all the children in our group....minus the babies who were in packs.
And the adults who went hiking. We did leave some adults back at camp, so this isn't all of them who were part of the camping.
She was such a happy hiker.
We all appreciated having this resting spot at the top of a stair climb to get some water and snacks.
We finally arrived at the ladders that you have to go on to continue on the trail. The area was al ittle congested and with our large group, it made it very tricky to get through. We did it, and the dogs did too. Some of us went ahead of the others that were helping dogs, so after the ladder section, we kind of split up, but joined back up at the end where there was a nature center.
Look at my momma go!
Since we got separated, we ended up with a lot of children. We had some tired kiddos, so I created a little song to keep them going, "Back to the bridge, back to the van, back to the camp, with our clan. Keep walking." The littler ones kept asking me to sing it, but the older ones were getting a little annoyed. I even sang it to a teenage boy passing by who stopped for a rest. He jumped up, thanked me for the motivation and kept going. Haha, it was pretty cute.
We spotted this broad headed skink. It's a lizard.
Back at camp to end our evening. There was lots of 4 square that got played. Fun, fun!
We met some people along the trail who have similar beliefs than we do. We invited them back to our camp that evening, and we all enjoyed their sweet fellowship with us. Love meeting others and learning about their walk and being an encouragement to them along the way.
After we each had our own supper fixins, we gathered at one camp site for music, fellowship and relaxation to bring in the Sabbath. Nothing better than just chillin with our friends.
The next day it rained and rained. We spent most of the rainy time under friend's awnings and keeping track of the weather. Some went on hiking in the rain, while others stayed put and waited for it to pass. We even spent some time in the tent and took long, rainy day naps. We both agreed that there is something enjoyable about a nap in the tent when it's raining, and there's nothing else to do but sleep the rain away and rest. It was most fitting with it being on the Sabbath. The rain finally cleared and after talking with others still around camp, we decided to try out another trail. My parents and Diella headed for one trail, and we went with 2 other families to trail #2. It was a very different landscape than trail #3, but still very beautiful with a waterfall. It wasn't too difficult until we went off trail unknowingly and lost some in the mud. Good thing mud washes out. :)
My Dad and Diella heading for their trail. Glad my mom captured some pictures too.
Us on trail #2 with the waterfall in the background. It was a lovely area.
That hike was just a nice little walk and we headed back to camp. The rest of the evening was clear weather and filled with fellowship. We brought our food together for a fellowship meal, ate together, children played 4 square, and we made it a relaxed time of hanging out. Two of the other couples ended up leaving when the rain cleared, so the 4 square game moved from the middle of the road, to the empty camp site, which really worked out nicely for the children.
We woke up Sunday knowing that we needed to pack up and leave on this day, but a nice treat was that check out time wasn't until 5:00pm. Since the girls' tent was wet inside from the rains the day before, we wanted to make sure we got everything out to fully dry. My hubby has made it a necessity to pack fence posts and a big tarp to cover our tent, so we stayed nice and dry. But it was nice to have a windy, sunny day to get everything dried out before packing up.
We got some stuff put away, a line ran to put wet things on to dry, and we headed for another trail with a few other families. Things didn't work out for us to hike together but we snagged one of their girls to come along with us and our family took off. Trail # 9 was rugged, beautiful, and tiring. We were all tired when we were done, but it was great to get one more hike in before jumping in the van to ride home.
The children did a little climbing, but not too much off trailing as we wanted to keep moving and get back to camp to eat lunch, finishing packing tents and sleeping bags away and get on the road by 2:00pm. We managed to get left by 3:00, so that wasn't too far off.
More beautiful scenery.
This hike contained the sights of really large trees, which we all enjoyed looking at. His creation is so marvelous and amazing! We marvel at it and soak it all in as something He created for us to enjoy.
The highlight to many of our weeks was seeing the Pileated Woodpeckers. We were so blessed to have a nest of babies within the campground right next to the road that we traveled in and out of camp on. So, on our way out of the campground to go home, we stopped so Alegra could take some pictures and the children could listen to their noises. The pictures aren't very good, but you can kind of see them. It doesn't do it justice of what really seeing and hearing them was like.
The following pictures are ones that my mom took throughout the weekend. She captured some moments that happened quite often and some special ones.
There were a total of 10 dogs within our camp. It was quite common for the children to take turns walking the dogs around the circle. I think the dogs and children both enjoyed that.
My parents hiking and accomplishing great things!
Jonathon doesn't go camping without his guitar. There's always music to sing. This weekend we didn't do as much as usual, but that's okay as we made other memories and enjoyed the visiting and encouraging that took place.
Benaiah chopped wood for us on Friday, so it wouldn't have to be done on Saturday morning, waking up the campers. :) He did a great job and stuck with the job quite well. My boy learning to be a young man.
With the hiking that we've been taking this spring with my parents, we always give the map to Saphira. She pretends she reads it and leads the way. My mom decided that she wanted to have a treasure hunt for her where there would actually be treasure at the end of the trail. I helped her make the map and the route that the little adventurers should go on. Callie Smith had a birthday while we were there, so for her birthday, we decided that the girls 5 and under would have a treasure hunt. It was perfect for them! We walked around the circle, into the woods, to the playground, through the swings, down the slide, over the balance beam, and to the 5th rock along the road, and there were treasure bags. The girls were so excited! They loved it!!
Along the hunt.
They found the treasure!
The first day there, some boys from another camp site came over to the open grass area near our camp. They had a kick ball. I'm not sure how it all came about, but next thing we knew all our children were over there and they were all playing a big game of kick ball. The next day it happened again as the boys came over with ball in hand, all of our children left what they were doing and met them in the playing field. It was great to see them all playing together with other children and all having a wonderful time doing it!
Our little camp site. This was during the rain. The camp looks pretty quiet, but when the rain stopped, it buzzed with people out of hiding.
So, despite the nasty coons and the rainy day, we had a wonderful time and are still expressing what a great time we all had. Can't wait for Sukkot and another camping trip with our dear Mishpacha.