Saturday, March 27, 2010

In a Van down by the River

We’ve returned from our annual Spring Break Camping Adventure with our youth group and definitely had an adventuresome time. Rob and I ditched the tent camping for sleeping in a king size bed in the back of an RV van so Cora and Yeti could come along. We’ve never camped in such luxury before! A bathroom, refrigerator, and stove were all within arm’s reach, and the heat at night wasn’t too shabby either.

Our journey led us to the Buffalo National River in northwest Arkansas. This is not the first time we’ve visited The Buff. The last time we took the kids on this trip we were caught in a large flood and escaped unscathed, so we felt certain that “Paddlin’ the Buff: the Remix” would be great. And it was! Ahem…until the snowstorm hit, but we’ll save that for later.

We had gorgeous weather that allowed some great hiking two days of canoeing that tallied up to almost 20 miles. Aside from afew tips into chilly waters (don’t worry, the babe wasn’t in a boat), the group had an awesome time on the river. The water level was a bit low which led to some portaging, but don’t let that fool you, boats can sink and oars can be whisked away on even the shallow rapids.

Cora was an excellent camper and she’s already learned some of the essentials of what makes a camping trip great.

Find a good walking stick.

Stay hydrated.

Carefully plan your route.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Kick back and relax in the tent.

Power up with a hot breakfast on a cold morning. 

Be aware of your surroundings.

We knew that a cold front would be moving on Saturday and bring with it rain, lightening, and possible snow of up to an inch. Because the temps were expected to drop and the wind was supposed to be powerful, we had mercy on the tent campers and moved everyone inside to “The Lodge”.

“The Lodge” is nothing new to many members of this group. We stayed there once before on our previous floody trip. It saved us and allowed us to dry out before getting on with our trip.

The next morning, this was our view from “The Lodge”. 

Turns out the area precip was more than previously forecasted.  The drive home included a 20 mile stretch that took about three hours, backing the RV van five miles when we could no longer go forward or turn around to go the other way, and almost having to stay an extra night at the Osage Baptist Church in Osage, AR (a town so small it doesn't have a grocery store or a gas station).  In the end, the snow plow saved the day and we made it back to Norman safe and sound. 

No trip is ever perfect and at times, hardships teach us the best lessons and make the most interesting memories. Three cheers for adventures! 



  1. Looks like you guys had a blast. I've learned it's not a fun trip unless you have to avert disaster! Thank Core for "Campin' Cora's Tips." She's getting big.

  2. Great story, well presented, agree with langster50, the Cora series is great. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  3. The trip sounds exciting, but as the weather got worse, I got concerned, because I am a Mother, Grand Mother, and Great Grand Mother and I had some prescious people on the trip

  4. I will make sure Tyler studies all of Cora's camping essentials before we go to yellowstone. Glad you had a great time and made it back safely.

  5. Cora is so cute. I can' wait for Easter to hug and kiss her. I'm am glad you all made it home safe and sound.

  6. All of you are so lucky to have Cora leading the way. She's the best looking outfitter I've ever seen. As for the adventures, please keep on making them successful adventures.