Tuesday, March 20, 2012

E-Rock Family Camping Trip

Proverbs 22:6 tells us, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (NIV) or "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." (NLT)

Children are a fruit from God! They bring so much blessing and joy...and of course bring so much worth to parenthood. But as we all know, they do not come in perfect pre-packaged obedient form. Children are naturally selfish, they often push boundaries, and don't always comprehend what is best. They aren't equipped at birth with a moral and righteous compass that will enable them to make every right decision, like eating their vegetables and sharing their toys.

This is where we (parents) come in. We are told by Solomon to help mold and form children towards making the right choice...towards taking the right path...towards taking the moral path. I like to think of it as leading our children to the way of wisdom.

There are exceptions to the rule, but in general, Solomon gives us insights to rearing our children. If we send them down the right pathway of life, teach them principles of righteousness, and love them unconditionally...they will hold on to these truths and make more right decisions than wrong.

I'm hopefully training my girls in the way they should go, so when they are older, they will not turn from goodness, righteousness, morality, etc...and most importantly from God!

As for now...we are still working on eating those vegetables and sharing with each other! But the path takes one step at a time!
Enchanted Rock State Park
March 17th-18th, 2012
Who: Causeys (Josh, Adrienne, Corban and Cohen), Hardins (Brad, Amy, Reid, Luke, Cole, Grey), and Pasquels (Me, Sarah, Hannah Banana and Pia)
E-Rock is a beautiful state park in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. However, the park is very popular and relatively small for a state park. So this park gets booked solid for camping and can get quite busy during holiday weeks. I booked this trip back in December and could only get one night...it also happened to be the last available site within February and May of this year. The park also has an entry quota...so once so many people enter, they close the gates and wil lnot allow anyone in until people leave. Pasquels arrived early...Causeys and Hardins did not. So we arrived to camp, set up and started hiking around. Pictured above is Banana and Sarah enjoying a little scrambling...
E-rock is full of huge boulders...most of the boulders are on the base of the two domes. There is tons of climbing at E-Rock...from Trad, Sport, Top Rope, and Bouldering. If you are a crack climber, this is the place to come...however, the sharp granite will eat your hands up. Bring a lot of tape!
Also, if you are into Texas Wildflowers...this is also the place from March through May. On the drive in you will find Bluebonnets all over to take the customary Texas bluebonnet picture. But there are plenty of other flowers and more to blossom over the next month or so...

Mileage: 2.7 miles (a lot of side trips to smaller caves)
Elevation: Base to Summit of Big Dome is 450'

So E-Rock is mainly composed of two large monolithic domes. We camped on the base of the smaller dome (Have it pinned in picture above.). This was also the start of our hike. Keep these ages in mind: Reid-9, Luke-7, Hannah-6, Corban-5, Pia-4, Cole-4, Cohen-3, Grey-3. We were going on an all day hike with all of these kids...and I have to say...remarkably...it went really well. For having 8 kids, most of them small...the day could not have been any better. Outside of a few minor cuts, scratches, and embedded cactus needles...the kids all did really well...
 This is a few of us making our way up the small dome...
Immediately, the kids spotted a cave and were drawn to it...they all headed towards it and crawled all around it...but the most fun we had was the caves on the top of the big dome. Even the big kids (mommas and daddy's) even went caving here...
This is Josh, Adrienne, and Sarah scooting their way through this very, very low cave clearance (15-20 inches max). It was a blast watching the maneuver their way up the slab...quite comical.
 This is Pia studying the cave...trying to figure out if she wants to go in....
 This is Pia deciding it is safer to hang out on momma...
After spending a while on the top of the Big Dome, we all descended down towards Echo Canyon...the Slabs on the West Side of the Big Dome can get steep...but we all did well, especially all the kiddos...these are two of my nephews, Luke and Cole, making their way down the slab...
 Echo Canyon is a little oasis between the two domes. It offers plenty of shade and greenery which contrasts with the barren granite of up above...We mhiked through the canyon and headed around the Little Dome via the North Side and decided the quickest way back to camp was to hike back up the back side of the Little Dome instead of staying on the loop trail...though it was steeper, the views were worth it...
We traversed across the top and were almost down back to camp...we gathered all the kids up and I managed to get one of my favorite pics of the weekend...
After hiking, scrambling, caving, enjoying family on the Domes for nearly 5 hours, we finally made it back to camp. Brad started up the fire...dinner was on the way...temps stayed near mid 70's with a breeze down in camp. It was nearly perfect...you couldn't of asked for a better evening...the kids played near, well...in a creek and wen chasing after bugs, birds, and other critters...just perfect!
We enjoyed ourselves watching the kids be kids...no TV, no video games, no distractions...just enjoying family, nature, and...
yes...wine! That is the finest red I've ever tasted...you can just taste the full body oaky, spicy flavors coming off of the BPA!
Sunday morning came and we had a few grumpy campers. Apparently my alarm went off three times at 3:45, 3:50, and 4:00 am. It only woke me up once...I went back to bed. mmm.

Our goal Sunday morning was to hike up to Turkey Peak (pictured above). From the base, it's about 250' up...it involved a small section of class 3 scrambling...and it was a blast. The winds picked up this morning and it made the hike a little more exciting...

These are a couple of pics of the kiddos on the approach...

 
I also found these really pretty cactus that bloomed these flowers...
As we neared the top of Turkey Peak, we went up the North Side of it where there was this small notch...it required about 20-25 ft of class 3 scrambling. I thought it would be a fun test for the kids...they all passed it with no problem!
Hannah scrambling through the notch...
 Luke on top of the Peak.
Banana and I on top! You can tell how windy it was...look at my hair and shorts! Look how excited my daughter is! The enthusiasm from her pumps me up...For me, these little outings are also opportunities to share my passion with my children. For them to see what is so wonderful about creation! To push yourself to the top and enjoy the process, the route, and the cameraderie along the way. Hopefully, my children will share in my passion of creation and will have a lifelong bond of the outdoors. (Selfishly, it's also early training on rock climbing and mountaineering...)
These are views from Turkey Peak to the Northeast...those are Freshman Mountain.
This is Pia making her way down Turkey Peak...she was such a trooper...She may not be as strong as her sister...but I believe she has more endurance!
...on the way back, another creek...and good photo opp...better memories.

I have to say, this was a very enjoyable trip. The Hardins and Causeys are always a pleasure...the kids were great...everyone was content...the weather was perfect...I was a truly wonderful time!

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