Who knew we could do so much in a weekend?
I came home unexpectedly early on Friday and was in such a good mood that I told Hubster we needed to do something fun. Like go to Chicago! Or go camping! Right now! My sweet, not-spontaneous-husband replied that he would instead make cookies and we could talk about it. In the end, we agreed, over chocolate chip cookies, that camping would be easier, more affordable, and less stressful than a impromptu weekend in Chicago. Hubster just asked that we leave in the morning, instead of "right now!"
So, in the morning, we drove to Dubuque and toured the Crystal Lake Cave.
While much smaller than other caves I've toured, I did appreciate that there was no initial hike to get to the caves. And honestly, it was about as much cave as Monkey could handle.
After the cave, we attempted to find a near-by campground, but everything I looked up on the Internet before hand was mysteriously missing from the GPS and every thing on the GPS was completely undesirable.
So, after a little more convincing from me, we drove to Backbone State Park, a place I had heard about from several people, and had been desperate to visit.
Who knew that Iowa could look like this?
Yes, most of Iowa does look like this, and we drove through plenty of this (which I absolutely love. It's soft, gentle, and homey.)
But Iowa can also look like this.
Who knew how much I was missing clear, sparkling rivers? Not even I knew how much until we came across the beautiful little Maquoketa River, with its crystal clear water and soft sandy bottom. It was perfect!
Although in the quickness of getting ready, several things were forgotten. Among the forgotten items were swimming suits. So we rolled up our pants and waded right in.
Initially, the rule was to keep your clothes dry. I know, we're slightly delusional parents, aren't we. This rule lasted until Bug pretended to splash Monkey, who tried to run away in a panic and slipped into the water. As he came up sputtering and soaked, we decided to just let them have fun and get wet.
Who knew camping in Iowa would be so much different that camping in Utah or Montana?
I brought mounds of bedding, jackets, extra warm pajamas, and lots of socks. All my camping experiences involve the temperature plummeting overnight and my nose nearly freezing off, even if it is July.
Here, camping was mild, weather was (nearly) perfect (just a little drizzle during the night) and no one got cold. In fact, the jackets and extra bedding went unused.
We spent the evening and into the night telling stories, singing songs, and eating classic camping food of hot dogs and s'mores. According to Monkey, "Burning hot dogs is awesome!"
Who knew I would have yet another favorite place? We hiked, explored the lake, and played in the river again (and again!)
We spent the weekend teaching the boys valuable life skills such as how to roast the perfect marshmallow, how to skip rocks, and appreciate the stillness that is nature.
We've arrived home dirty, tired, but relaxed and happy.
Who knew that a single weekend could provide so much?