Ellen has been longing for fall colors. Last year Ruthie, Lea, Nellie and Samantha got to go see fall in Alabama when they went camping. (See their adventure here) The other dolls were in awe of the gorgeous pictures and the descriptions of “Fall”. This year has been more busy, so there weren’t any trips to go see fall. Ellen kept wishing . Imagine her excitement when a chance came to take a quick one-day camping trip to go see Texas fall colors!! There is a park called “Lost Maples” that actually has trees that turn red in Texas!! Ellen could hardly contain her excitement…..which for Ellen means detailed planning and rushing around preparing for every possible problem that might arise.
The day before we left , we got bad news….Lost maples park said that because of the wind and rain that week most of the colors were on the ground 😦 It was very disappointing, but we decided to make the best of it and enjoy what we could see.
We had our reservations at another Texas park. Ellen and Nellie climbed in the car and we headed to Texas’ Guadalupe River State Park. We arrived at the entrance and Ellen took the calculated risk of removing her seat belt in a parked car to stand up and see what she could see…..Nellie wanted to know if it was okay to open the pretzels even though we had arrived. (as you can see they had been sleeping in the car….hence the roughed up looking hair 😉 )
Registration complete. Check.
Camp site set up. Check.
Prepare for hiking……..
Continue preparing for hiking……. Nellie started wondering how long Ellen could possibly take preparing?!?!?
Ellen was making funny little exclamations from behind her study guide. “mmmm, How interesting!” “I didn’t know that!!!!” “ooooh that is useful….four claws forward one and one back…”
Nellie watched her for a while longer then dove back into their backpack to see what other interesting useful things might be in there.
“Ellen? do we need these markers?” Nellie asked coming out of the backpack again.
Ellen thought about it for a bit.. “They aren’t that heavy. We should probably take them along just in case.”
“In case what?” Nellie asked
“In case we need to draw a map for someone that is lost. Or in case we have to mark a tree if we are lost. Or in case we see a new species of animal or bird and need to sketch it. Or in case we meet someone we have to communicate with in writing or pictures. Or in case we get kidnapped and have to write a secret message or ransom note.” Ellen had thought of a LOT of “in case-es”
Nellie didn’t think any of those were too likely, but she put the markers back in the backpack.
Finally Ellen finished looking at her “Tracks, Scats and Signs of Texas Wildlife” brochure. They were read to go!
Down they went to find the trail by the river.
“Oh wow! look how clear the water is Ellen!” Nellie was awed by the gently flowing river.
“mmmm” said Ellen.
“Ellen Ellen!! I see a fish!!” Nellie was so excited she was in danger of falling over as she hopped up and down.
“Do you see a Spicebush swallowtail butterfly” Ellen asked “They are supposed to be around here.”
Nellie sighed…. “Ellen, if you don’t stop looking at that brochure and start looking around you are going to miss the whole trip! Look at these fish!”
“Let me find the brochure on fish…” Ellen started to say.
“If you don’t look now, the fish will be gone…and then you can’t identify them.” Nellie pointed out.
Ellen decided that made logical sense, so she put the brochure away and looked at the fish for a while.
The brochures stayed put away while they looked at fish and fall foliage.
But… out they came again when they stopped to look at a tree!
Nellie didn’t mind that as much. The tree isn’t going to move and disappear when you are trying to identify it.
Ellen couldn’t decide if it was a Cyprus or a Cedar. Nellie said it was a definitely a Cedar. Ellen believed her for a minute….then stared hard at Nellie over her glasses. “Do you know that, or are you guessing?”
Nellie grinned as she climbed on and around the tree roots, “I have a 50/50 chance of being right.”
Ellen said that wasn’t very scientific….and went back to studying the brochure. She eventually decided it was a Cypress. “But that doesn’t mean you were right, Nellie”
“But I was right!” laughed Nellie.
“But you didn’t knooooow you were right.” Ellen debated.
The conversation continued as they hiked along the river. Ellen said it didn’t count as being right if you just happen to be. Nellie said right was right no matter how you got there…..I think this is one of those conversations that will never be settled. 🙂
Nellie and Ellen like to get in friendly debates. But they both know it isn’t serious….They are still best-est friends.
They soon found fall leaves on the ground! Nellie was very excited and decided she needed a leaf hat right away. Ellen decided now was the time to deliver a lecture on the dangers of snakes.
I don’t think Nellie was paying attention 100%…. But she did try. Maybe it was more like 70% attention.
She listened to Ellen listing off the snakes they might potentially see…most of which were harmless. Meanwhile, she also adjusted her leaf hat, trying to protect it from the light breeze that threatened to blow it off.
Ellen tried not to be, but she got distracted by the leaves too…she even let Nellie put one on her head.
After they finished the snake lecture…and playing with the leaves, it was time to explore some more.
Further down the river they found (according to Nellie) “The most awesome trees ever!!!”
The roots came up and made fascinating bumps and things to climb on. The tree trunks twisted and intertwined each other.
Ellen thought it was a great place to take a photo.
Nellie thought it was a great place to play and pretend they were doll size tables.
While Nellie was busying pretending to be Robin Hood in Sherwood forest…hiding in the trees from the Sheriff of Nottingham,
Ellen found time to read another brochure…. “Look out for poisonous spiders as well as snakes!” she called over her shoulder to Nellie.
“Never fear! Henry and I shall slay any ferocious adversary that attacks me! Be they minuscule or Ten feet tall!!” Nellie brandished her stick, which for some reason had gotten the name “Henry the third” This bold declaration would have been more awe- inspiring except that she dropped “Henry the third” right in the middle of this speech. Ellen had her back turned and didn’t notice this, though.
The location was beautiful,so they stayed there a while….Ellen doing what she liked best, studying. Nellie doing what she liked best…active, imaginative playing.
They had been there for at least a half hour before deciding to head back. They had come a long way on their little legs, so they stopped a few times at benches on the way back. At one of the them, Ellen decided to see what they hadn’t used in the backpack yet.
“Wow!! What are these things? Magnifying glasses, maybe?” Ellen stared thru a small lens she found in the bottom of the backpack.
Nellie turned to look. “EEk!” squealed Ellen.
“What What!?!?” Nellie said, startled. She was brandishing Henry the third all ready for battle.
“You look scary thru these!” Ellen giggled.
“Oh, I thought it was a spider or snake.” Nellie said, not quite sure if she was relived or sad that it was nothing serious. She was all ready imagining herself bravely sacrificing herself to save Ellen.
“I think I had better not use these as glasses anymore” Ellen said as she took them down.
“Think how scary a spider or a snake would look thru those.” Nellie laughed.
“That ,my dear, is an excellent observation.” Ellen replied trying to sound very dignified and using an English accent as she used one magnifying glass like a monocle. Nellie laughed until she almost fell off the bench.
The two friends laughed and chattered as they walked together back to the car. The river gently flowed by, bubbling and gurgling contentedly. The dolls might not have found as much fall color as at other places, but they had a lovely day together enjoying the river and the leaves.