Saturday, April 11, 2009
Conquering the Wichitas
Today we started what I hope will be a family tradition, except that we might have to have it the week before or after Easter rather than the week of for reasons which I will explain later.
We went to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. A place out here in Western Oklahoma where I remember visiting as a child, but where I've never taken my own children. We climbed up Elk Mountain, and the kids did very well. We called them Edmund and Tenzing, but Mim didn't like it and told us we had to call her by her last name. There were no major ouchies, which was a miracle in itself. Here are Mim and Zay resting along the way.
Here we are at the summit. I told Zaya that he can call himself a mountaineer now. He thought maybe he was the first 5-year-old to climb a mountain. We had to disillusion the little climber.
After the hike, we went to the visitor center, which has a ton of information about the animals and plants in the refuge in a very kid-friendly set up with lots of activities and interesting taxidermy. We also stopped at the prairie dog village, which is so much fun to watch. There are literally hundreds of prairie dog holes, and the little guys are so used to visitors that they'll walk right up to the fence or just stand outside their burrows and squeak at you. Here are the kids getting up close and personal with one particular member of the prairie dog community.
Spikit, Zaya's imaginary friend, now has a pet Prairie Dog named Smashville, a Collie named Swift, and a cat named Bobwhite. That all developed on the car-ride home. By the by.
We really wanted to see the Holy City, and yes, I realize that one can't drive to Jerusalem. The Holy City is a small group of stone building created to resemble the real buildings from the life of Christ, from the stable and manger to the cross and the tomb. They're life-size-ish and made of the red rock of the area. Very impressive. Unfortunately, they were setting up for the Passion Play that they have every year, so we weren't able to walk around. We were all disappointed, but too tired to expend much energy mourning. The kids were asleep before the we left the Refuge, and slept most of the way home. (Which means they will not want to go to sleep tonight, but we'll cross that bridge later.)
Here they are relaxing with Daddy in the chair.
All in all, that beat watching a bunch of spoiled children run around a playground looking for eggs filled with candy and toys. I think I'm going to like making our own traditions.