Thursday 22 March 2007

Escape from Little Rock

Before detailing today’s adventures, I would like to share a conversation I have had with Alice several times in the last few days —

Alice: Daddy! I found a tiny bug!

Dad: That’s nice.

Alice: Here you go [drops imaginary bug in Dad’s hand]

Dad: Thank you.

Alice: Eat it!

As the morning dawned, it was time to leave our outdoor adventure and return to civilization. Mom had mentioned that there was a large dam nearby that created the lake and Charles became fixated on that1. The entire morning was normal routine punctuated by a question from Charles — “Are we going to see the dam?”. In the end Charles’ persistence paid off and we made it to the dam. It had a large display room with many pictures about the dam and its area. Unfortunately, it seemed that the public site was in the midst of a maintenance cycle and we couldn’t walk out on the dam or see that much of it. Still, Charles said he was happy to have been2.

We made some stops and took some time to let Mom wander the cute little shops of central Texas in Llano and Fredericksburg. The boys endured, but Alice thought it was fun. She suggested many items for purchase, both for herself and Mom3. The boys stayed primarily on the lookout for toys and ice cream. Again, patience was rewarded when Mom found the bakery store we had stopped at last time we were in Fredericksburg (a year or two Before Charles) and ice was had by all.

Charles after ice cream

As we were leaving the bakery / ice cream shop, a police officer gave me some police stickers for the kids. Charles put his on Sharky and for the rest of the trip, it was “Police Officer Sharky”, whom Charles eagerly showed to everyone.

The big adventure of the day was going to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (“park” apparently being too old fashioned). It has several interconnected large granite outcroppings. These have relatively gentle slopes (for mountains) so that one can hike up without specialized equipment. Mom and Alice decided to wander the lowland trails while the boys and I assayed the peak called “Little Rock”. It was a bit challenging because of the light drizzle and occasional rain which made even the rough granite slippery. Still, the boys and I perserved. We made it to the highest point visible from the front, but Corwin insisted on making a further assent to the real top of the hill.

During the ascent, when I had time for pictures

At that point, I forced the start of the return journey as the rain was starting to become more persistent. Despite Corwin’s scouting skills, we lost the trail we came up on and had to make a descent over more rocky territory where the drops and gaps were too much for Charles and I had to transport him. This would have been OK if I had remembered my camera backpack and hadn’t had to also worry about smashing my camera into those very rocks as I was swinging Charles over them.

Charles got scared a few times (especially when he’d slip and I would save him from a nasty tumble down a slope in to cactus patches) but he didn’t melt down which would have created a real problem. Corwin was concerned enough that as we started down, he said he’d thought we’d be lucky to get down without serious injury and amazed if we managed it without a scratch. However, after accomplishing exactly that, he turned out to not be impressed. Really, though, except for having to hurry to get out of the rain (and avoid a real downpour) and the slippery parts from that rain, it would have been very easy.

After all of that, we headed back to Austin, had dinner, and crashed out. For once the kids went down quickly and Mom and I had several minutes to be too tired to enjoy our time without the kids awake.

1 Who could have expected Charles to fixate on transportation or infrastructure?

2 When asked by Mom when we were back home, Charles said the dam visit was what he had liked best about the trip.

3 I just provided the helpful service of pointing out the very limited room for additional dry goods on the return trip, as was my duty as a husband and father.

Posted by Dad about Family at 22:50 | Ping URL

Have you ever checked out the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg? It’s a fascinating place both inside and out. Sounds as if you had an interesting trip.

Posted by: Karen on 26 March 2007 at 20:12

We saw it on the map and walked by it but didn’t stop in. The kids were in ice cream hunting mode by then and we didn’t dare tarry. I think we stopped there last time we were in Fredericksburg.

Posted by: Dad on 26 March 2007 at 20:46
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