Camping with Joe – Day 4…

Family Portrait - Petit Jean

Our last, but best picture of the trip, deserves a spot at the top…

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I posted on the merits of Vienna Sausage and Swiss Army knives, so I suppose it is time to wrap up the log of our first family camping trip.  It has been pretty neat to revisit the trip over the past couple of months, and look at all the memories we made at Petit Jean.

Day four of Camping with Joe began with a surprise when my dad awoke to find that his cooler had been raided by a four legged masked bandit, who robbed him of a few precious leftovers.  Lucky for us, he fancied the steak, and not the Shiner.  While Dad was surveying the damage, we started cooking another fine breakfast, although we did not do any dutch oven cooking this time around.  We had a few coals left in the fire pit from the night before, so Michelle made some tasty campfire toast, to go along with our eggs and sausage.

Like all good things though, our time at the little campsite we’d called home had come to an end, so it was time to break camp.  This was done in relatively short order, but still, we kind of lazed around the site, making sure we’d picked up and packed up sufficiently.   Joe was able to grab a few more minutes of Scooby Doo while we were packing.   My dad didn’t have a particular place to be, so he kept his tent up, went to the visitor center, and reserved himself another night under the stars.

While it was still hot, the weather FINALLY gave us a break.  Temps hovered most of the day in the mid-80s, and while it got close to 90, it was a welcome change from the low to mid-90s.  With the “break” in the weather, we debated for a bit whether or not to do the 4.5 mile Seven Hollows Trail.  Whether hiked alone, or as part of the Boy Scout Trail, Seven Hollows is a truly magnificent trail, and one that should not be missed.  It has dense forest, rock formations, a natural bridge, a grotto, and even a desert like feature.  But, after an already late start from breakfast and packing up, we opted for the lighter and more manageable Cedar Creek Trail.   Seven Hollows would have to wait for the next trip, and lucky for us, we made a good choice (not that there can be a bad one at Petit Jean!).

Cedar Creek Trail Map

Cedar Creek Trail Map

At the trail head of Cedar Creek, we studied a pioneer style cabin, circa 1845, complete with one room and zero baths.  Not your typical Nesbit McMansion, but still an impressively built structure, constructed by a man named John Walker.  According to the literature at the park, Walker was one of the first, if not the first, known settlers on Petit Jean Mountain.  In 1877, the cabin was purchased by the West family, and their lot of nine kids lived in an area (kitchen included), not much bigger than my bedroom.   I suppose if all of Petit Jean Mountain was your backyard as a kid, that might make up a little for the cramped quarters and lack of privacy.

At the Pioneer Cabin, Cedar Creek Trail Head

At the Pioneer Cabin, Cedar Creek Trail Head

Anyway, back to the trail.  Cedar Creek was a great one for us to choose.  It had plenty of shade, wildlife, natural features, and varied terrain to keep us occupied and on our toes for the better part of two hours.  It actually seemed like we were hiking for about four hours, but we were being kind of lazy, taking in the sights and stopping for lots of pictures (below).  By the time we got done with our hike, we were sufficiently tired enough that stopping for a break back at the Pioneer Cabin was not an option.  Can anyone say Vienna Sausage?!?!

After resting a bit, we decided to hop back in the Explorer and  go down to the country store for a cold drink and ice cream.  This is also where we said our goodbyes to Pops, who promptly made new friends with some folks from cooler climates.  It wasn’t a sad goodbye, but it was a little sad to have to leave this special place, where time stands still, and sights and smells of morning camp are abound, every day of the year.

So my friends, after many weeks of planning, our trip came to an end, and we drove down the mountain and headed eastbound.   We pulled into Nesbit about 8PM, thoroughly exhausted, stinky, and ready for a cool shower and the comfort of our own beds.  As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t help but smile as I looked forward to many more adventures in Camping with Joe…


Highlights from day four…

Making our way...

Making our way…

Bridge over peaceful Cedar Creek waters...

Bridge over peaceful Cedar Creek waters…

Wow...

Wow…

Geologic Investigators...

Geologic Investigators. Yes, that is a wool blanket. I thought it would be a good idea in case we wanted to have a picnic, or save ourselves from the avalanche of snow. Maybe next time, I’ll leave it in the car ;o)

Waw part II...

Wow part II…

Snakes on a trail...

Dead snakes on a trail…

My two favorite people...

My two favorite people…

Dad & Joe, almost to the end...

Dad & Joe, almost at the end of our hike…

Inognito...

Joe-Cognito…

So good, you have to see it twice...

So good, you get to see it twice…

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