We arrived in Pipestone late afternoon of day 3. Civil War days across the street, our campground was bursting with children and interpreters. I explained corsets. The pool called. Later our kids, as they do, organized a large game of hide-n-seek. The barn next to our tent hosted karaoke. Clark got us good beer and made dinner. We dried out the wet, muddy things from the night before.
These are the times I try to remember when camping calls to us and storms, mud, a sore back try to push forward in my mind. Camping can be fun.
I climbed into the tent early. Fell in slumber to off tune pop songs and my people roasting marshmallows.
The next morning we lingered in not having to be anywhere. The kids went back to the playground. Collected the other children who were awake. Later we headed off to hike.
Clark and I joke, while not laughing that each vacation we embark on requires the completion of tasks. Parked and ready to explore Pipestone, Clark went to close his window except the gears sounded like a grinder and the glass stayed put. Flies swarmed into the car. We couldn't leave it open with our computers and belongings for the next ten days inside.
What follows is a morning spent trying to fix a driver's side window that fell off its track. A town that is barely awake on a Sunday offered us two options. A grocery store and dollar store. Trash bags ripped, tarps were too heavy. Then my sister, who is always smart, happened to call and told us to find pliers and tape, and just hours later, we parked again with a window permanently closed.
Despite this task, the three or four before, there were kind moments too. Moments like when a car pulled up across from us, at a four-way stop, miles from the store we'd just left, and a man in the car yelled at us that we'd forgot our case of water in the parking lot. He'd seen us drive off and took it inside the store.
There was this walk, these kids, immersed in sharing the things they were seeing, hearing, and learning. Our first experience with the National Park Jr. Ranger Program and our second family hike around Pipestone National Park.
Tasks and all, one of my most favorite vacation days.