28 March, 2005


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The first day and a half were lovely; perfect camping, hiking, and canoeing weather. My friend Judy and I were able to sit in hammocks and swing for a while, then sit near the campfire and read, while our husbands made dinner. All the children helped set up their own tents, then wandered down by the river to go exploring.

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Our second day was reserved for canoeing on the river, the edge of Broken Bow Lake. If you look closely enough at the above picture, you can see the redbuds blooming. We journeyed up one quiet tributary near the end of the floating path, where lots of old water turtles have lived for years. The water was so clear, I could see the turtles, and one trout, in the water's depths. Up the ridge above the turtle area, there is a small waterfall that our older boys explored.

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Minutes after leaving "Turtles' Cove," as we dubbed it, smoke poured our way from the direction of the Lake, which is not directly visible from the canoeing and kayaking area. Our son and I both got some tremendous pictures of what seemed to be a large forest fire.

Within minutes, the whole river was clouded over by smoke. We found out later that the park authorities were doing a controlled burn but were caught quite off guard when the wind suddenly shifted, causing visibility on the lake to go down to almost zero. It traveled quicly through the little valley, where we were canoeing on the river. It was only a little alarming.

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The smoke spread quickly

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Here are some of the beautiful cliffs near the end of the float trip. Eagles are said to nest here, but most of them move out toward the end of February. We were pretty sure we saw one eagle flying about on our last day.

The last day and a half of our trip was spent trying to stay dry and warm. We bought an extra large tarp to string up above our site, giving us a large area to sit and eat under, in dryness. The guys kept our fire going throughout all of Saturday, in spite of the rain. By Saturday night, we had a gorgeous, warm, roaring fire which kept us warm. The rain had subsided briefly at that point. Once we went to sleep, the showers picked up again. We had a special time of worship around the campfire all planned out, but were unable to go through with it.

The conclusion we came to the next day was that it was time to pack up and go home. We decided to wait and see if the downpour would stop before attempting to break camp, by going into town for breakfast. We stumbled onto an internet cafe', surprisingly enough, where a nice lady made us capuccinos and let us spend some time on two computers. There were games and places to sit in a nice sitting/reading room area. Hubby played yatzee with his friend, JB, and the boys played chess.

The rain let up, we all packed up and stopped at Applebee's for dinner, before returning home. Loads of laundry later, it is sunny back here at home, and I think I am rested and ready to begin spring cleaning!

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