Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Land Between the Lakes

Land Between the Lakes

I can't even begin to describe how excited we were about this trip. We've been talking about it for over a year, and have had our campsite reserved since January. The payment confirmation had been pinned to the board since then. Every now and then, I would glance at it and daydream of bison and elk and an 1850's homestead. I wondered how much we would like going to a planetarium for the first time. Not to mention how much fun we were going to have with all of our bestest buddies! Ah...EXCITED!

We left the morning of the 18th just before 7:00 and had to immediately come back home because of a forgotten bottle of Diet Mountain Dew in the freezer. That could have been bad! We met up with some of the group in Athens so we could caravan to Kentucky.

We stopped in Clarksville for some lunch and laughed at the stares we received from the local police. Let's face it- 4 moms, 7 kids and only one dad raises eyebrows:) I'm still calling Bobby a ladies man!

Our site was a pain in the hiney to get into. We had to push that camper uphill on a gravel site with limited room to maneuver. The bathhouse was directly in front of our site and if it hadn't of been for the tiny parking area there, we might still be trying to back in.

Esther's site wasn't flat either, with the drive at a weird angle. There were some guys working on the eventual new bathhouse and they helped her get situated. The top of her pop up was leaning so we ended up pushing one of the tires onto a board to help level things up...while Esther snapped this picture. Hey! Why did we do the grunt work?! :)
I especially like the guy in the background watching us.

Cathy's site was hard to get into as well. The drive was really narrow, but she managed just fine.

Once everyone was set up, we went off to explore the campground.

The area by the swim beach was flooded and completely mosquito infested. I hate those things!

All the kiddos at the playground

Cody's doing the electric slide:) LOL!

The fire pit down by the swim area

Then we decided to go to the Elk & Bison Prairie! We split up between the two vehicles and off we went.

After reading this sign, we started yelling "UNO! YAHTZEE! BINGO!..."

We saw over 30 wild turkey on this trip!

Our first glimpse at an Elk

The first bison was spotted! There were two by the pond.

We continued driving, came down the hill and there they were!

BABY BISON!! Esther had told us some babies were born, but to actually see them was so exciting!

I think Britney's face says it all:)

We continued on the loop and spotted more Elk.

After seeing the Elk and Bison, we drove into town to pick up some groceries. Then we headed back to the campground for dinner. Cathy made lasagna and fed all of us. It was fantastic!

The sunset that evening was beautiful!

Everyone came over to our site to have s'mores. Hmmm...s'mores.

There are four marshmallows on this one. Cody really enjoyed his creation!

The next morning, we hung out at the campground until Suzette's crew arrived. They brought Matt with them, too. I'm pretty sure Esther was ready to see her hubby:)

Britney as an Elk

Keilee found a small tackle box down by the lake and wanted to go fishing. She didn't have any fishing line, so Kaitlin burned a string to make it small enough to fit through the hook. They were able to tie it, but it wasn't strong enough and broke once it was tugged on. I thought it was pretty clever and a very good try.

We ate lunch at Cathy's.

I found this guy at our site. We looked in Esther's bug book to identify it, but couldn't find the exact name. We were pretty sure it was a moth. We watched him for most of the day and then he was let go.

At BAM yesterday, I looked in one of their books and found it. It's called a White Marked Tussock Moth.

After Dave and Suzette got to the campground and set up, we went to the Nature Station.

Timber Rattlesnake
He's going to shed soon. See his eye?


Water Moccasin
This guy was freakin' HUGE!

Prairie King Snake

Northern Pine Snake

Cody checking out the insect display


Bald Eagle

This guy loved having his picture taken

Female Red Tail Hawk

Great Horned Owl

Screech Owl

Barn Owls


Red Wolf

Just before closing, they put the birds of prey up for the night. Each staff member gave us lots of info on each bird and answered any questions we had.

They have animals displayed inside and I found this to be rather disturbing.

Afterward, we went back to the Elk and Bison Prairie with the whole group. The kids LOVED riding in the back of Dave and Suzette's truck!

Bobby and Esther

That night, we had planned on a group dinner. We had a taco salad feast! It was so good and I think we all overate. We had a great time!

The next morning, we heard a long, loud noise that I was convinced was an airplane passing by. Unfortunately, it was in fact thunder. It rained and rained...blah. Our coffee pot picked the cold, wet day to stop working. Thank you Cathy for hooking us up to caffeine:) I made biscuits and ham for breakfast. It eventually cleared up enough for us to get out. We went to the Planetarium, which was awesome!

Our beautiful, wonderful children

The whole group! All 17 of us!

Then we headed to the homestead. Zachary and Ben rode with us.

We all got a kick out of their scarecrow!


The mommas

Cathy, Kaitlin, Karen and Keilee had to head back home. I wish they could have stayed the whole trip. We loved spending time with everyone:)

We had to drive to the nearest Walmart to buy a new coffee pot so we got a little tour of Murray, KY.

That evening, we made an attempt to go Geocaching, but OMG at the mosquitoes! After one find, we went back to the camper!

Fire and s'mores at our place

The next day, we went back to the Nature Station to watch the Eagle and Opossum program. They were both very informative and fun!

Zachary and Cody holding string to show the wingspan of male and female eagles.
Their talons are strong enough to crush a baseball!
We passed around replicas of an eagle egg and talon (same weight and size), and a feather. SO COOL!
FYI-It is illegal to pick up eagle feathers, so if you see one while you're out, leave it alone.
There is a waiting list for the feathers to go to Native American Indians.

We had a few minutes before the opossum show so we walked around revisiting our favorite animals from the day before.

Matt, Bobby and Dave looking at the Bobcat. I love this picture! It's the only one I got with just the three dads.

I have to be honest, I'm not really a big fan of opossum. They're freaky looking and have a mouth full of teeth, but this little lady seemed quite nice. We learned a lot about them, too.

Her favorite food appeared to be crickets. She snarfed them right up and looked everywhere for more:)

We drove to Cadiz, KY (Sounds like Katie's) We really liked this place. They have an annual Country Ham Festival and the sidewalks are littered with statues of pigs. LOVE it!
This is my favorite one. It was right outside of the Cadiz Police Station. I mean, that's just funny!

We ended up eating at Uptown Steakhouse Grill. We all really enjoyed our meal and the owner was extremely nice. Their fried pickles were fantastic!

By the time we finished eating, it had started raining so we went next door to Eldora's Bookstore. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy hour in Kentucky. Then we went to the art museum with the Crawfords.

The building was originally used as the post office.

We met back up with everyone at the campground and decided to take another trip to the prairie. I love having a bigger vehicle full of happy kids:)

The kids once again loaded up in the back of the truck. We were all able to ride in one vehicle.

Dave as an elk

This hunk of handsome walked across the road just in front of us. He grazed while we snapped pictures and commented on his size. He was huge!

Suzette as a bison

We made the loop a second time,

and a third. He was still right next to the road happily eating with the mass quantity of onlookers. I got out to snap some more pictures of him, and Suzette jumped out behind me.

Suzette said she wanted to pet the bison, so I took this picture.

I didn't realize she really meant, "I want to physically pat his noggin." I 'd love to explain what is now known as "The Bison Incident" but I'll let the pictures speak for me.

That crazy woman got out there and taunted a 1500 to 2000 lb male bison, he charged her and she ran...FAST! I ran pretty darn fast, too. I dove into the front seat with Suzette right behind me. No one was injured, but I think it's safe to say we all learned something. Poor Suzette will never live this one down.

The kids pointing to the warning on this sign.
"Wild animals can be upset by human presence and can become aggressive unexpectedly"

The next morning, the Amos family had to go home because Zachary had a baseball game. Before they left, we made another attempt at Geocaching. Once again, I was eaten!

After lunch, we went for a hike around Hematite Lake with the Crawfords.

We saw this rat snake right off the trail. Britney and I also saw two deer.

That evening, we went in search of a swimming hole. One of the workers had told Esther about Moss Creek so we headed north.

It turned out to be a nice rock beach and COLD water. The kids had a blast!

Esther and I pretty much stayed on shore the whole time, yapping away in the sun and taking pictures of the rocks, shells and bone Bobby found.

On our way back to the camper, these two young deer allowed us to observe them. They were very calm and we enjoyed seeing them so close.

The next morning, we got ready, said our goodbyes to the Crawfords and hit the road around 10:30. We were home by 3:00, unloaded, Bobby immediately started cutting the grass and I started the laundry. The camper has been swept out and is ready for our next trip.

We had an absolutely amazing time! We all learned so much and each of us had a different favorite. Britney's was the Nature Station, Cody's was the Planetarium, mine was the Elk and Bison Prairie and Bobby's was seeing all of the wild animals (not just the ones at the prairie)

We are so thankful for the opportunity to get out there and see the world! We love sharing new experiences and having wonderful adventures with our friends.

Where are we going next???

No comments:

Post a Comment

Where we've been as a family