Our Family Adventures

Life and Adventures….

Click to read – Solo backpacking stove

Reposting from Tim Miner’s twitter,ย  a link to this review on the Solo backpacking stove. I’m beginning to like this dude. He’s got some good info.

As for the stove, it definitely looks interesting. No need to carry fuel, just use small bits of wood and stuff at your camp site location. Sort of along the same lines as the Bio Stove, but without the ability to charge your gadgets. Just a simple stove design. I’m not a technical geek into all the hows and whys, but if you are then visit the link. I’d sure like to get one though and give it a go.

Click here to read – Tim Miner article

I recently came across the website for Tim Miner, an outdoor enthusiast. I really enjoyed reading his article on Nature for Children. Jared and I have recently been slowly introducing more of the outdoors with Cheyenne. She’s always been an outside-loving, dirt-loving girl so it helps. We’ve taken her camping and hiking a few times now and she really loves it. I can’t say that we’ve been able to instill in her yet the need for her generation to help preserve our outdoor spaces, but hopefully in the years to come she will understand why it’s important. Why setting down cell phones and video games in order to stop and enjoy hickory nuts gathered from the wild are much better.

Arkansas Ozarks Part 1

Jared and I recently took a short trip to Arkansas. For me the trip was two fold. My father passed a way 10yrs ago in the Fort Smith area and I have long since wanted to find and visit his grave. As with a lot of family stories, my parents divorced when I was young and my father slowly drifted out of my life. Reasons and back story don’t really matter any more, time moves on and so have I. But the need for some closure was heavy for me.

So we set out after work one afternoon and drove and drove until we finally decided to pull in about midnight to the first campground we came across. Which happened to be right outside of Mena, Arkansas called Iron Mountain. After paying our fee at the site sign, we drove around in the dark unsure of where we were supposed to be setting up but eventually settled on a spot that the deer had just been grazing in moments before. We interrupted their midnight snack. It was a quick..setup the tent, throw in the sleeping bags and crawl in night since our scouting for the shower house ended in a bust. Not the most comfortable of nights, but oh well. It was quite cold and our spot near the roadway was a bit noisy.

The next morning we packed up and again scouted and found the shower house. It was nice and big and had lovely hot running water! If you’re ever in that area I recommend staying there, very pretty place …just pick a site further back from the roadway. After cleaning up we headed out to grab breakfast, and headed towards Fort Smith. I was now seeing Arkansas in the daylight and could try and catch some photos…even if they were from the Jeep window going 60mph.

Lovely Quachita Mountains and forest
Ouachita Mountains

Quachita Mountains
Lots of logging trucks along the way, also lumber mills.
Logging trucks

Fort Smith was a really nice place, very pretty. Lots of factory work there. I even got a shot of Mr. Peanut!
Mr. Peanut factory

The rest of that morning did not work out the way I had hoped all these years, but that story is one I’ll keep for my own. After finishing up in Fort Smith, we headed out and headed east.

I loved seeing so many old barns and farms along the way. I think I could do a whole series on Arkansas barns.
Old Barn
Finally in the Ozarks!
Ozark Mountains

I have to say driving on all those curvy steep mountain roads made for a queasy afternoon. But it was fun. When we reached Jasper, we found the road to Kyles Landing and headed down the dirt road into the canyon and towards the campground.
Kyles Landing road

Once finally down there after a long and steep decline we picked out a camp site with the Buffalo River below us and beautiful cliffs behind us. Then explored a bit down by the river before it got dark.
Kyles Landing camp

Kyles Landing/Buffalo river

Kyles Landing

After dark crept in we sat around cooking our dinner, chatting, and dreaming of what lay ahead of us the next day. This is always my favorite part of camping.

Day out in the woods

Well two weeks after the birthday trip and she’s still asking to go camping or hiking, so of course a day trip is in order. Jared wasn’t up for the gear haul to go camping just yet, so he figured a day trip would tide us all over.

It was chillier that morning than we thought it would be when we got there, so a little fire was in order.

Some pretend survival fishing was in order also ๐Ÿ™‚

Discovering bright florescent worms are always a cool thing.

I found someone’s lost arrow, so Jared made a quick survival bow to play with.

We headed over to Fullerton and walked the trail there. I have a pic somewhere of Jared mimicking the trail sign too. Need to dig that out.

All in all a fun day out. As I always say, a day in the woods is always a good day.

Kisatchie Bayou Birthday

It seems we’ve added a new little companion to some of our adventures. Jared thought it would be fun to take Cheyenne on a camping trip for her 6th birthday. Being her first overnight outing we chose a location at Kisatchie Bayou because there was a creek and sand bars and rocks for her to play and keep occupied with. Other than her deciding that scouting firewood was too much work, and the 1 1/2 mile hike up hills was not fun about halfway through….she loved it. Seriously loved it. As in every weekend since she asks to go camping or hiking. LOL! Of course Daddy is happy and planning more trips ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not exactly the low gear, quiet location type camping trips Jared and I do together. Till she gets older and more used to camping we’ll have a bit more gear and choose locations she might enjoy more.

Dad’s yummy camp breakfast!

Before we started the hike on the Longleaf Vista

Lots of breaks with a little one and little legs.

We set up the camera with self timer on a bench so we could get a family photo.

It was a really fun weekend and now that she’s caught the bug like us there will surely be more.

Life as it seems…

to have gotten away from me. Not that I’m not living it or appreciating it, but there just doesn’t seem enough time in the days to relish in it and post it to the blog.

At any rate, yes we have been adventuring. Hell every day with my husband is an adventure! No seriously, he’s got more energy and ideas than I can muster the gumption to keep up with. But I try, guess that’s what I get for marrying a younger man huh. LOL! I kid, I love it…even though it’s hard to keep up with him at times.

Our latest ventures have been on the water. We are kayakers now! Something I’ve wanted to do for ages and ages and now I have my own beautiful fushia swirl Ocean Venus 11. Isn’t she lovely.

Our first time out we headed over to the Sabine Islands, putting in at Niblett’s Bluff. I thought I was in for a nice relaxing paddle with my new boat. I should have known better. Here I am heading into what I’m calling the Abyss.

It was so lovely and magical paddling through the cypress trees and admiring the moss and nature in general. Yea there were bugs, mainly deer flies biting the crap out of me… but I smacked them with my hat and said many curse words but paddled on. Then hubs decided he wanted to try to see if this little route emptied out into a slew that he knew of that would hopefully push us back to the beginning. ?? It was already kinda late in the day to be starting this adventure, but I followed along like a good wife. Cursing and vowing that my patience was gone all the while dragging my boat up embankments and through the woods over to a clear spot to put back in because we keep hitting into log jams. After a few of these and getting flipped by a rushing current, I admittedly lost my cool and had to sit and calm for a minute…or two. We pressed on once more, but thankfully he decided it was getting too late and we didn’t know how much more of this we were in for until we go to the end. But we were on the right track at least, what little we could tell when we could get a signal on the gps.

Alas we turned around and he vowed we would return to finish this adventure another day. This isn’t the most flattering shot but can you see the elation on my face when we got back out to the clearing and closer to the dock.

We’ve since then gone back out and had a few nice relaxing paddles. He says I get a few of those for every one of his wild adventures. hhhmm…. We hit up the Salt Water barrier out of Westlake and also Holbrook park. All very beautiful and fun to paddle through.

So yes, adventures are being had and I’m hoping to be better about posting them here. I may even back post some of the things we done recently…besides the kayaking.

Back to Camp Livingston for more Caching and Exploring…

This time we brought my son and his fiance. They’ve never done a camping or caching trip with us so it was fun to bring them along! After driving around Livingston with the trailer in tow we ended up choosing to set up camp at Stuart Lake nearby instead of inside the grounds of Livingston.

The guys decided to have a friendly competition to see who could start the fire first with what they had on them…guess it depends on what you pack. LOL!

Jared got it going first, but I think he kinda cheated… ;D

Along the way during our exploring of Livingston we found a crabapple tree! I took a few fruit to see if I could seed them. ( 6 months later, a few sprouted but I lost them )

Sometimes you find cool little places along the way like this.

The main excitement was finding the old “Ice house” that we had been told about by one of my blog readers! (Thanks!) It was such a cool place to explore and take shots of.

Lots of cool graffiti out there…

Also took a peek into what I presume they call the tunnels. Went quite a ways back and was luckily dry that day so was easy to explore. (We’ve gone back since and not good when wet after so much rain)

We found a cool looking ‘fruit’ (not edible!) and found out it’s called and Osage Orange or Hedge Apple. The tree was prized in Native American days for use for bow making. The wood is extremely hard and strong.

Outside entrance

We also found the entrance to an underground area where bats live that is also the home of a cool geocache. Here is a little toy soldier hinting/pointing the way.

And we also found lots of other foundation work and left over history from this area.

We also made a stop at Camp Claiborne on the way home to see if we could find a geocache that had eluded us for a while near the Officers Club and rec pool.

Finally found that sucker!! Yay!

It had a cool travel bug in it so we took it and sent it to a new home later at Sam Houston park.

We also stopped to grab a geocache along the way home in McNarry, La and had to walk across this old pine tree to get there.

All in all a fantastic time. Definitely a place we will go back to time and again to explore.

All of the shots from that trip can be seen here :

Fullerton Saw Mill Town

Here are some pictures of the Fullerton Mill Town ruins that we found on one of our trips in December of 2009.

For more in depth information on the origins of Fullerton you have to take a look here: Venture Vernon

Fullerton Saw Mill Town by GypsySoul

Here is the marker at the recreation and camp site area giving some information about the history. There is also a board that has photos and more info.

There is a trail that will take you along side a few of the ruins. It’s about a 1 1/2 mile long. I can’t remember which ofย  the ruins are seen along the trail because we don’t stick to a trail. We’re just adventurous that way. LOL! Most of the ruins and especially the larger ones are found if you venture out into the thick woods. There really isn’t any good mapping system available to let you know what used to be where and how to find it out there. But they do have a team of researchers that have done some mapping. We pretty much just take off walking and keep our eyes out for structures, we enjoy the hunt…and the finds.

Doesn’t he look serious. He is serious about his exploring. LOL…

Part of the old mill.

Storage facilities I believe. There were many rows of these tall walls.

Can’t remember if this was the theater or bank maybe

Remnants of the old community swimming pool.

The Fullerton Saw Mill Town is one of our favorite places to go. Whether it’s exploring, camping, biking, hiking…we just really think the area is neat.

Check it out sometime, bring water, wear boots, have a gps if you tromp off into the woods. The best time to go is winter time because the over growth is deadened down a bit and it’s easier to spot and find stuff.

Biking Road Trip

It’s been a while since we’ve actually had time to go on any road trips. Life’s been busy here, it sucks but hey what can you do? You take an impromptu early day off of work and load up!! When I pulled into the driveway, Jared had the Jeep doors pulled of. Ooh this was going to be fun! Boy was it a windy ride!

Watching the pavement roll by…as we headed North to one of our favorite places to go. The Kisatchi forest, Fullerton area. It’s so pretty and so much cool to explore.

I always see this wild flea market when we pass, I finally got a shot of it. No telling what is hidden in that place.

This next shot was actually after our ride. Sweaty boy trying to get bikes loaded back up. The trails out there are not bad for biking. There are some hills, sand in a few spots, fun twist and turns, oh and the down hill is my favorite part ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m a wimp and end up having to walk my bike up the hills half the time.

This is a shot of Fullerton Lake. The spot where the old Saw Mill town used to be. Oh. wait did I not mention that. Yes, this really cool place in the early 1900’s used to be a thriving saw mill town. There are even some great foundation remnants out in the woods there. I’ll get together some of my photos from our past trips out there and do a post soon on the history of the area.

For now, I’m still trying to comb the knots out of my wind whipped hair. And Icy/Hot’ing down my thighs from all the pedaling.

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