Monday, June 27, 2011

Cruising Down the River - Family Field Trip #2

Cruising down the river
on a "Saturday" afternoon . .. .
ok, so we definitely weren't cruising. It was more like drifting down the river, into rocks and into tree branches. But, fun was had in the process. Early Saturday morning, we packed up the van with lunches, about 40 bottles of water, towels, and three sleepy kids. We headed towards the metropolis of Yellville, Arkansas to Buffalo River Float Service where three canoes were waiting for us. (That was along with a bus full of about forty other people getting on the river at the same time, and that doesn't account for the three busses of people from Wild Bill's Outfitters going to the same place!)

Our float trip would begin at Maumee North and go ten miles down river to Dillard's Ferry (at the Hwy 14 bridge). The trip is slated to take 5 1/2 hours. I think it took us about 7 hours.

My sister, Ann, and her husband, David, went with us for the day. They are like master canoeists - never steering off course and zooming down the river. John and I both had difficulty several times, especially when it was windy. We'd get blown to one side of the river and then not be able to easily get back into the main current. We stopped several times to get in the water and cool off. Did I mention that it was really hot? The kids loved swimming and floating in the current. I liked it too. Until I went down a section of water with large boulders (that I should have noticed and didn't) and banged myself all up. My knee hurt the rest of the day, and I have some colorful bruises as souvenirs. We especially liked stopping at Spring Creek, which flows into the Buffalo, because the water is very cold.

Below are some pictures of our day:

Ann, Hannah, and I in the lead canoe

Samuel learning to paddle

Doesn't David look like a professional?

Samuel floating down the river

I had to swim over and pull Hannah back to right side of the river.

Screaming to death COLD!!!

Master canoeists (is that a word?)

Beautiful scenery

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Family Field Trip

So, here goes another blog. I know, don't fall down in surprise or anything. I'm attempting to chronicle some of our summer activities. We're not taking a big vacation but instead are attempting to take lots of smaller "Family Field Trips."

On Thursday, we loaded the kids in the car and headed to Prairie Grove National Battlefield, a Civil War battle field about 15 miles from our house. We recently read an article in our local paper about the updated visitor center and thought we'd check it out. I've driven past the battlefield on the way to other places, but I honestly don't ever remember stopping.

Here's the commemorative plaque giving information about the battle, fought on December 7th (hmm. . . . a famous date in history??)

Inside the Hindman House Visitor Center, Samuel really liked the exhibits on weapons.

The kids all tried to lift a 10 pound cannon ball, but it was really hard to do!

Hannah wasn't really into reading about the battle, and she was not happy at all to learn about the medical instruments used to amputate wounded limbs. (The boys, however, thought they were cool.) Maybe she should have skipped this part.

Jacob and Samuel checking out some guns.

There was a little desk and a set of post-it notes and instructions that encouraged young visitors to leave a note about something learned or liked. Samuel and Hannah both wrote notes.

Responses were not surprising . . .

The tiny gift shop area did have some costumes. Samuel is sporting Union blue, and Jacob is all smiles as Johnny Reb.

It was hot out, but we did walk around a bit and look at the memorials, houses, and signage outside.

Boys love to climb on things.

Hannah decided to wear a dress on this outing. She thought this was a good opportunity to pose for some pictures.

We also did the driving tour, stopping to get out at this overlook. The kids are checking out the information about the fighting that took place in the field below. John read aloud the information for each stop , but the kids had pretty much lost interest by this point.