Saturday, September 27, 2014

Starved Rock

Ah, camping. We had it on our bucket list all summer, but after being in Utah for nearly a month and then Ryan traveling for most of the second half, it obviously didn't happen. 

So, we marked our calendars to go with some friends the night of September 5th...and then had a conflict. Thank goodness, because the night of September 5th just happened to include a torrential rainstorm. Seriously epic. And the night of September 26th, when we finally ended up going, did not

In fact, September 26th was one of those glorious yes-we-know-it's-fall-but-here's-one-last-awesome-glimpse-of-summer kind of nights. 

We chose Starved Rock State Park in Illinois and had a great time with the Johansen family. If you ever want to go camping with people who will be prepared for anything, this family is your guy. Plus, they're fun to boot. So, win-win. 

We roasted hot dogs for dinner and s'mores (with nutella instead of chocolate) for dessert. Our brand new dutch oven was inaugurated with some seriously delicious peach cobbler for a late night snack. Kate was entertained by the flashlight and glowsticks until it was time for bed. Both girls went to bed peacefully, willingly and quickly (which was a complete 180 for Kate from last year) and we all slept soundly through the night. Really, we did!

We woke in the morning, played a bit on the camp playground, ate french toast and breakfast casserole, packed up and went on a beautiful hike. 

The hike was supposed to be to a waterfall, but since there was no water falling, it was just a hike through a beautiful canyon right along the shore of the Illinois River. I rocked the backpack while Kate only whined a little, and Ryan and Leah walked tandem for 3 of the 4 miles (and Leah on his shoulders/in his arms for the other mile). Leah seriously killed it on this hike. And my quads were killing after climbing all those stairs with Kate riding on my back.

We finished off the day with a picnic lunch on the beach of the river, basking in the sunshine and enjoying our company. 

It really was a picture perfect weekend. So much so, that we determined right then and there we would come back next year for two nights. Here's to hoping that no matter what day we choose, we get September 26th kind of weather. 

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