Camping with Joe – Day 3…

Yeah, yeah yeah.  How could it take three months to document a four day hike in the woods?  Summer my friends, the dog days of summer.  I’ll wrap up day three in this post, and you won’t have to wait a month for day four – I promise!!!


After another peaceful night of tent camping, day three of our trip began with eggs, sausage, and blueberry scones cooked in the dutch oven.  They were prepackaged, and just needed to be cooked to the right temp.  They were YUMMY.

While I cleaned up after breakfast, Michelle and Joe went to a park program called “Spiders Among Us”, where Interpreter Mystina taught the kid campers all about spider hideouts and also a Cherokee legend about spiders.  This was right up Joe’s alley, as spiders are one of his favorite creatures.  Following the program, we went back to Bear Cave and Rock House Cave, as we had done on day two.  We had a little more time today to explore around and check out more parts of each.  Here is a great shot of Joe and the two massive Bear Cave rocks.

Joe claiming Bear Cave for his own…

After about an hour at Bear Cave, my dad hiked the trail back to Mather Lodge, while we took the car over to one of the four scenic overlooks at Petit Jean, “Palisades Overlook”.  Here we could get a view of of the canyons of Cedar Creek, and I believe this is where my dad, grandmother, sisters, and I used to do a considerable amount of star-gazing, back in the day.  We met up with my dad after having a look around Mather Lodge, which was still closed for renovations.  More on that in a future post.

Later, we went back to Rock House Cave, for a quick look around, and this is where I got to introduce Joe to two must-have items while on any camping trip:  Vienna Sausage and the venerable Swiss Army Knife.  Both of these items have been staples on every camping trip that I can ever remember, whether with my dad, the boy scouts, or on my own.  I’m not a card carrying Swiss Army Knife aficionado, but I recognize their necessity on the trail. Dads have a magical power to make the simplest things into something mystic and when we were through, Joe was thoroughly convinced on the supernatural powers of the Swiss Army Knife.

Besides the knife, can opener, and mini saw, my favorite parts about the SAK are the tooth pick and the tweezers!  The toothpick is perfect for separating and picking out Vienna Sausage from the can, and the tweezers are great for pulling splinters out on the go.  Describing to Joe all of the merits of the SAK, while paused over a can of Vienna Sausage, was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  Seriously.  I have fond recollections of the same type of activities with my dad (parked on a rock with a canteen and a can of Vienna Sausage), and it was such a treat to be able to provide Joe with a similar experience.

Vienna Sausage - Yummy!

Despite the hesitant smile, Joe really liked the Vienna Sausage.  No really, he did!!!

While we are on the subject of Vienna Sausage, I like mine cold.  Slightly above “potted meat” on the scale of food that one should not eat more than a few times a year, there is something about eating warm, mechanically separated pork and chicken that just grosses me out.  My dad, however, likes his room temperature, if I remember correctly.  I think the jury is still out on how Joe likes to eat his, but in any case, mark another camping trip rite of passage off the list for little buddy.

We finished the day with a tour of some of the other overlooks, a flat iron steak for dinner, some cold beer, and a nice cool shower.  Being Sunday, we had virtually the entire park to ourselves.  Before we hit the showers, we built a nice roaring fire and enjoyed making some smores for a nightcap.  Here are some of our snapshots of day three of Camping with Joe…

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

Enjoying some hot chocolate...

Enjoying some hot chocolate…

Spiders among us...

Spiders among us…

Me on top of Bear Cave...

Me on top of Bear Cave…

Mom & Joe...

Mom & Joe…

Palisades Overlook

Palisades Overlook

Rock House Cave

Rock House Cave

Indian Art

We didn’t see any Native American petroglyphs, so Joe made some sand art…

MA Richter Memorial Overlook

MA Richter Memorial Overlook

Boy Scout Trail Entrance...I hiked the trail in 1996, it was an amazing day!

Boy Scout Trail Entrance…I hiked the trail in 1996, it was an amazing day!

Around the fire - go to the light Carolann....

Around the fire – go to the light Carolann….

Pops and the Burning Broom...

Pops and the Burning Broom…

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

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