After a quick review of the weather, we realized that winter was fast approaching. If we had any hope of fitting in that camping trip we had been dreaming of then, the time was now. We only had a two day window before the temperatures would plummet.
Bearing that in mind, we piled basically everything we own into the car (seriously, camping with wild ones- you may as well just rent a uhaul for all the gear that must come along) staggered our way out the door, with eyes and hearts set on the Buffalo River.
The fall colors were incredible- bright bold oranges, mustard yellows, elegant golds, with flawless pops of crimson. Nestled in between the bluffs were wide open pastures filled with thick green grass. Honestly, the sights were something to behold.
We hiked and explored trails, caves and one immense bluff til our noses turned rosy, our fingers began to stiffen and we could finally see our breath coming out in full white puffs, like smoke billowing across the evening.
Kaleb and I got engaged in this same spot near ten years to the day, and being back with four kids in tow, was a little wild and whole heap surreal. It was a sweet feeling to be back there and to feel so happy, so firmly settled in who I am and who we are.
Big bonus, we got to see a herd of wild elk both nights! We sat on the bank of the road and observed- everyone utterly transfixed- except for Eleanor, who was scrambling out of our reach, yelling "Bobby, Bobby!" It's the name of our cat, so it seems to be what she calls all animals. . . and babies:)
After literally no sleep in the tent the night before, everyone was starting to feel a little weary, and our little miss would simply not settle down. She normally loves riding in her backpack, but she would have none of it. So our last hike, ended with me holding her as she poked and prodded my little cheekies for a few long miles.
After finally arriving to the car, our sweet Zaino began to look a little pale, and as quick as that, he was spewing everywhere. We decided we had seen and done what we had come to see and do, and it was time to pack it in and head for home.
It all makes for better stories, and let's face it, we won't be forgetting this one! Chatting around the campfire as we roasted marshmallows and drank bad hot chocolate, sleeping in a piled heap of blankets, arms, legs, hats and jackets, sitting next to the trailhead cleaning up my Zain with the Eleanor's wails echoing around us, hiking with a baby on my hip whilst holding my sons chubby little mitt in the other, surrounded by the beauty that is nature. Somehow it all combined into the most wonderful of days, like it had all come full circle.