This morning we decided to head down to the “Ponderosa” restaurant for all you can eat $2 pancakes. It was great to have someone else cook and use real silverware and dishes. We were staying 2 nights here and therefore thankful that we didn’t have to pack anything up today.
We were taking recommendation from friends and heading to the Cosmos Mystery Area. When we got there we took a tour with a couple other families. We went up a crooked path to a very crooked cabin. We saw crooked trees and all kinds of mysteries along the way. It was a pretty fun tour.
Then we went back to our camp for a quick lunch and on to the next destination- Jewel Cave. Jonathan had commented that we hadn’t seen much wildlife. On our drive we saw some wild turkeys and “wild” cows. We also passed by Crazy Horse. It was kind of neat to be able to show the kids an in process rock carving.
We arrived at Jewel Cave and signed up for the scenic tour, which is a 1/2 mile tour, over 700 steps and lasts about 1 hour and 20 minutes. While we waited we went outside and tried to see who could go spelunking. Apparently the children are the only ones small enough to do it. We also watched a little documentary while the kids starting filling out their Jr. Ranger activity books.
Then it was time for the tour. We went down in an elevator to the cave which is 49 degrees. The ranger was giving us information all along the way and our kids really had a lot they wanted to ask and share. We eventually told them to hold their comments for later, so they wouldn’t hold up the tour. (I love their enthusiasm to share and learn.)
Some of the things we learned were that there were no living things in this cave, there is over 150 miles of cave and we would just be seeing 1/2 mile of it. They had lights all along the way but the ranger turned them off for a moment so that we could experience complete darkness. We saw some crystals and stalactites and stalagmites. I loved the tour and wished it wasn’t so rushed so I could peer into every nook and cranny. I’d also love to explore more through the caves, but I definitely would have some claustrophobia issues.
When we were done with our tour we let the kids work some more on their Jr. Ranger Activity booklets. All three of them earned a certificate and ranger badge. Lydia worked on a couple extra activities and earned herself a patch also.
When we got outside we saw some very dark clouds in the sky and I prayed that the rain would not come before we got back to the tent, since I left some of the windows open. After a 30 minute drive, we made it and it wasn’t raining yet, but just getting ready to. We all got in quickly, shut the windows and had a picnic for dinner in the tent. As we sat there the rain was pelting the tent. As it rained harder and harder we noticed it had started hailing too! We were unsure if we would continue to be safe in our tent so we ran to the van and waited… A couple minutes later it slowed and then seemed to go away. Then God brought around His promise, the rainbow. Though it didn’t seem to be a single rainbow, and maybe not even a double rainbow but a triple! It appeared that two were stacked on each other and one above! This is the exact definition of awesome.
When we got back in the tent we noticed one of the corners was leaking from sitting in a puddle. After we dried it up, and dried ourselves off we all played a couple rounds of Pass the Pigs. Then Jonathan was off to get some more homework done.
The kids and I played a long game of UNO and it started raining again…and pouring…lightning…thunder. I had the kids play Go Fish as I moved everything away from the sides of the tent, not wanting to risk it all getting wet. I continuously checked the corners…and eventually the puddle started leaking in again and I also noticed the adjacent corner getting wet too! I was a little nervous about what the storm was going to do next, unable to hear much more than the rain pounding on the tent. I hoped that since Jonathan was using the WIFI he was keeping an eye on the weather for me. The rain slowed a little and I read to the children from “Just So Stories”. By the time I finished Jonathan was back and it was time to prepare for bed.
Jonathan read “The Hobbit” as the little ones drifted off to dreamland.