This week, Simon and I got to escape to Missouri for a couple of nights camping with my dad, my sister and her kids.
Anna’s kids were out of school Monday and Tuesday, so we all left on Sunday and met about halfway between here and Chicago at St. Francois State Park.
We’ve only camped in the Mark Twain National Forest before, so I was amazed by the very well kept Missouri State Parks. We loved our campsite at St. Francois.
We chose a site that was across from a natural rock wall that the kids loved playing on. They spent hours on these rocks, which served as playground, house, fort and who knows what other imaginative settings.
We stayed camped at St. Francois, but we explored a couple other state parks on Monday.
Elephant Rocks State Park was a huge rock playground that all the kids loved.
There was a rock to fit every child’s age and climbing ability.
We hiked this beautiful loop trail through Elephant Rocks, wrapping up just in time for a picnic lunch.
After lunch, we headed to one more state park, probably my favorite, Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
The walk to the “shut-ins,” which are apparently places where rock formations have shut in water, was absolutely breath-taking.
These are the shut-ins. I can’t imagine what it is like here when the water is higher, but I’m certain it is a fun spot for swimming all summer long.
I took pictures from a lookout up above.
It’s hard to tell from the pictures how crazy it is, but I was definitely holding my breath a little watching Anna and Daddy navigate the rocks with Simon and Phineas.
Emily, who is more fearless than most, was leading the pack and she accidentally slid into one of the pools from a slippery rock.
It scared her at first, but once she was wet, she was all in for swimming and climbing from pool to pool.
And Grace soon followed suit.
Simon and Phin preferred to just climb on the rocks, throwing stones in the water and getting down to the swimming hole where they could do a little safe wading.
It was so fun to get away for a few days, even if it was painfully quick.
Of course Simon and I missed all the rest of our family loads and loads!
Fall is my favorite time of year to go camping. I’m so grateful that I got to soak in a little fall color since we seem to be getting mostly brown leaves in Little Rock.
I’ll be looking for more leaves this weekend as we head to Castle Bluff for camp.
However, I’ll be sharing the scenery there with about 170 other folks, so I’m also grateful for a few days of blessed quiet in Missouri.
There was plenty of time around the campfire, sitting in chairs and listening to kids play and owls hoot.
Thanks Daddy and Anna for making time for being outside together.