On Sunday morning we got up, took showers (ahh!! Cleanliness!!), and went to John’s old ward. We also drove by the house he grew up in and that was really fun for the kids, to be able to see it.
After church we had a lovely visit with John’s sister Rachel and her husband, Dave. They fed us a delicious spaghetti dinner (thanks, guys!) and the kids had a wonderful time coloring and painting.
We consulted with relatives and decided to drive up to Lake Cleveland to see if we could get a camping spot for the night. It was hard to find the right road, but we got on it without too much trouble and besides the scariness of the sheer cliffs and curves on the edge of the mountain, made it up and found a campsite. (On one of the scariest curves—right on the edge of a terrifying cliff—someone was building a house!! WHO in their right minds would do that?!?!? I didn’t get a picture because I was too terrified to look. Even John was in shock. The half-finished house was for sale, too.)
We got the tents up before dark, which was awesome! The stars up there were beautiful (until the clouds and wind rolled in and covered them up). It was pretty cold. But the worst part was the wind! It shook the tent so hard that I almost thought it was going to collapse. John and I were awake at LEAST two hours before falling asleep. At 5am the kids were all awake, needing to use the bathroom, and they were so cold that I crawled into their tent and cuddled up with them, bringing my blankets. Even though the ground was rock hard and on a slant we were so tired that we went back to sleep till around 8.
When we woke up John had a nice fire going and we made instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, and ate some canned fruit. During breakfast we were surrounded by swarms of hornets. They were everywhere! They got so bad (they were covering the front of the van….NO idea what was so fascinating about it!) that we packed up and left, against our will. It was unbelievable. Meanwhile, the kids had a great time running around and playing. I wish so much they could be in the outdoors like this all the time, or at least a lot more often.
We stopped for about 15 minutes on the way out to skip rocks in the lake.
We drove down the mountain and out to City of Rocks. The kids had been looking forward to this for a long time. They had a blast climbing rocks and didn’t want to leave. John climbed all the way up Bathtub Rock (you can see the videos on his Facebook page) and Ciara and Bran went partway. Nia and I were content (i.e., too chicken to climb up) to have fun scrambling around on the small rocks at the base and collecting some pretty pebbles and stones to take home.
We had time for another hour of climbing before we went home. When we finally got home around 7pm we were exhausted and filthy and glad to be back. But in spite of wind, cold, dirt, getting lost, and hornets, it was great to get away from everything and just do something fun and new with just our family.
(Lots more pics on my Facebook page.)