Every year for my birthday Martin tries to surprise me with something. Every year he pretends he's going to work, when really I know he's scheduled a vacation day. Every year I guess his gift well in advance. (This happens every Christmas too.) He's just not very good at surprising me, and I'd like to think it's because we know each other so well! However, this year, he succeeded. Now, to give myself credit, I had originally, long ago, guessed that we might be going camping, but then I thought it would be too expensive and troublesome, and cold, etc., so I thought that couldn't possibly be it. And after that I had no guesses. So I guess I did kind of guess it, but since I didn't believe my own guess, I think Martin wins. Anyway. On to the story of the event.
He waited until the night before my birthday to tell me he'd taken not one, but TWO days off of work and had reserved a cabin down at McCormick's creek for a night. Hooray! We put the girls to bed and got straight to work packing up blankets and pillows and a little bit of food so we could head out first thing in the morning and get down there in time to enjoy the park before our check-in time at 4:00.
I'm going to omit the story of our morning and how we couldn't convince the girls to get out of the house and then once we did, all they wanted to do was go to Barnes & Noble and play on the train table. So we did that. And then they wanted to go home and eat hotdogs. (!?) We ignored that request and headed down to the park instead. (Oops, I guess I told you all about the morning..... but I did leave out the fit-o-meter levels throughout the morning.) Once we were on the road, Anja was ready to go! The drive was beautiful and when we passed the Elk farm some of the big elk were right up by the fence, and one of them was vigorously shaking his huge antlers! Those are amazingly huge animals! Beyond the elk farm is the buffalo farm, but they were too far out in the field for the girls to see.
We ended up getting down there around 2:00, which ended up being perfect because by the time we got there everybody had to go potty and we couldn't find a bathroom anywhere. We did find a little picnic shelter so we grilled some lunch, ran around in the leaves, played on a small little playground and walked a little bit on a trail that ended up being pretty overgrown with thorn bushes, so we turned back.
Then we noticed a bigger field and a bigger playground across the little drive. I don't think we actually made it over there until the next day though.
I wishe my photography skills had been more "on" while we were here. I just couldn't get fabulous pictures like I sometimes can.... and it's too bad because the lighting and the leaves were so beautiful! The next morning was even more perfect, and of course, I left my camera in the car.
At about 4:00 we drove back to the main office to pick up our cabin key. We had no idea what to expect with the cabins.... it was pretty cheap, so we were not expecting much; a cement floor in a bunker-style room was about what we'd been envisioning. Boy, were we wrong! The cabin was ADORABLE, with wood floors, a large sitting room with a gas heater that looks like a wood stove, rustic furniture, a bedroom with two sets of bunkbets, a kitchen with a fridge and stove, and an extremely clean bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink. It was awesome! There was also a little screened in porch with two rocking chairs at the front, where Martin and I sat after the girls went to bed. It was so perfect! All the cabins (I think there are 12) are in this little neighborhood-y kind of place, which is a paved road, and at the end is a trail. We took a little walk down the trail, ran around the road (It is a loop at one end) and just really enjoyed ourselves. There's a deck with a picnic table outside the cabin so we had dinner outside.
A small tour:
Anja played "little deer lost in the woods" a lot, under the dark bunkbeds. This is kind of her "Deer in headlights" look to go along with the game.
Martin fixing dinner. Next to the counter was a funny wooden door-window that opened onto the screened in porch. When we got home from one of our walks, Martin handed me the girls in through the window. They thought that was hilarious!
Martin mixed up some dry hot chocolate mix and brought it along in a jar, so the girls got hot chocolate before bed.
The view from the pull-out sofa bed.