The drive through the Ozarks was certainly beautiful. By this time the kids were definitely getting better at being content passengers, but they were tired after several days of poor napping and late nights in Dallas. There was quite a bit of rain on our drive up, but Eric was certain that we needed to hike to Glory Hole. We bought some ponchos at a Walmart on our way out of Texas because we expected the weather to be rainy. (Thanks, Internet!) We had to tie Ike's poncho in knots so he wouldn't trip all over it the whole time. Meanwhile, Felix wouldn't even wear one, so we ripped a hole in a grocery sack and tried to keep that on him, which was not remotely successful. When we were under the trees we hardly got wet anyway, so it all ended up being rather pointless.
It was a good hike. Eric carried Felix most of the way. When he wasn't carrying Felix on his back, he was carrying Ike. It's good to have a strong man for a husband.
I figure I don't have much longer for this little kid to always want to hold my hand, so I take every chance I get.
As I said, the hike was to Glory Hole, which is basically a hole in this rock. Water flows from the top, then straight down this hole, and out the bottom. You can just barely make it out in this picture, and the next picture is a little better. (Felix has his head turned to check it out. He wasn't remotely interested in the camera.)
That night we camped at Steel Creek Campground. It had the benefits of picnic tables, running water, and toilets, but it was really open. There weren't really trees to break up the different campgrounds. It was totally adequate for one night, though. Eric always makes such an effort to take pictures of me with the boys, but they pretty much all turn out like this:
Felix (as usual) made short work of becoming utterly filthy in as little time as possible.
The next day we got outfitted to go canoeing. The employees at the canoe rental place thought we were rather insane to be taking two little kids on an eight-mile stretch of reasonably challenging waters. I assured them that Eric is skilled at canoeing. (Wow, a beefy guy who can lug kids on hikes and who can manhandle a canoe, lucky me!) The stretch that we canoed was really beautiful, and I'm glad we went. My job was to make sure Felix didn't go jumping out of the boat. Occasionally I distributed water and snacks, and every so often I stuck my paddle in the water too. Obviously we weren't taking pictures during the rapids, but there were a number of sections with rapids. Eric navigated them like a pro, while I taught Felix to say, "Weeeeee!" In case you are wondering, yes, I absolutely wore the same outfit two days in a row. I figured it would be silly to wear two changes of clothes for two days of hiking, camping, and canoeing.
We stopped canoeing to go see the largest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rockies. We somehow managed to get lost, which was annoying because it was supposed to be a round trip distance of 1.4 miles. Somebody kept insisting that we would find it if we kept going up and up and up and up, not on a trail. I finally insisted that our 3-year-old could not handle the hike any longer, and we headed back down. On our way down, we saw where we missed the trail, and we went and saw the real thing. But by then lots of us were hangry, and the waterfall was not so very impressive. We'll get it right next time.
One of the things that made Felix grumpy on the canoe trip was his oversized life jacket. He couldn't sit down without it plopping over his face, which meant he had to stand a lot, which meant he was a little ornery. Next time we use a company to outfit us with a canoe and life jackets we'll be sure to bring a life jacket that fits him properly.