Smith Family Camp Out – September 2016 As one friend commented, “you have good knights – in shorts!” And we did! Simon and Jesse set up our camp perfectly while Chloe & I reclined in the tent on air mattresses. Our sweet home away from home for 5 glorious days at Caprock Canyons State Park. Chloe and I sold everything we could get our hands on from the garage to buy a big 3-room tent and two oscillating fans. It was worth it! Sunrise and sunset were my favorite times of day…so beautiful. So peaceful. What an awesome experience to walk with God in His beautiful creation during these times of the day. After setting up camp, Jesse walked down to Lake Theo and began catching (and releasing) these little guys. He is an angler to the core. (deep, contented sigh…muscles relaxing…soaking in God’s presence) I looked up from my Bible to this sweet sight – my boy on the lake, early morning, fishing in his kayak that he saved and bought off Craigslist. I discovered how to use the panorama feature on my iPhone this trip. LOVE this feature! This is a panorama of our campsite. It is the most private, spacious campsite we’ve ever had! Seemed like we were the only ones around! Raccoon (whom we named “Oscar” because of his location) stuck in the dump, so he decided to take a nap. Someone put a log in there for him to climb out on and he was gone by evening. Saturday – Palo Duro Canyons State Park was breathtaking! It is the second largest canyon in the U.S. We explored it’s nooks and crannies all day. Spent a LONG time here, hiking in/out/over that cave. Can you spy Simon and Chloe? Great memory-making day exploring God’s magnificent creation. It was mesmerizing watching Jesse fish with his net for bait fish. I took wayyyyyy too many photos for a sane person, but come on…it’s poetry in motion. Spent the day at Copper Breaks State Park. Unanimously, we do not recommend this park. This shot reminds me of Huck Finn, so I thought I’d share it. On our way out, we did enjoy some time with some longhorns the park keeps. The second of MANY up close and personal encounters with the bison herd back at Caprock Canyons State Park. This pic is taken through the open door of our Suburban. He’s not even a really big one, either! Ribs and salad kind of night…yum! Another early morning on the lake with Jesse as he enjoys his favorite past time. As our vacation progressed, our interactions became closer and closer with the resident bison herd. They were around every corner, literally. This was the day we explored every nook and cranny we could at Caprock Canyons State Park. I cannot state clearly enough how you should visit this gem of a state park. It is beautiful. It is clean. The weather is COOL, believe it or not. The campsites are PRIVATE and it is hands-down our favorite campground to date. Fun with panorama selfies! Can you see all of us? That blue sky… This is right before we discovered Cedar Flies…and their tenacity…and the fact that they bite…hard. This is the canyon behind our camp site. LOVE this shot of the three of them watching the bird flying high above the canyon. Simon and Jesse heading out on a 2 mile trail. Chloe and I picked them up on the opposite side. This is what Chloe and I did while the guys were hiking… …and they are back! The photos just don’t convey the vastness, the depth, the beauty of Caprock Canyons SP. The guys loved the 2-mile trail so much they took us back on it. We discovered a great natural bridge/tunnel. Obviously, it needed to be explored. Sunsets were a daily ritual for us and so breathtaking. Last night – (decaf) coffee before bed for this modern-day knight of mine. En route home, we stopped at a fourth state park (gotta love those state park passes, right?). The guys fished while Chloe and I played Rummy and Whist in the Suburban. This place boasts a prairie dog town, but Simon said it was more like an infestation. We all agreed. Brave. Boy. I shudder to imagine how many snakes are in there with Jesse, but he’s a wild-at-heart kind of manling like his dad, so… Bonus – Jesse asked if he could make dinner when we got back, so he used stuff on hand (plus some kale I went to buy) and made this ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS SOUP from scratch! It’s his own creation, people. He’s 16!