Back from our trip to the mountains

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Chaos Ranch

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2003
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Northeast Arkansas
Oh my gosh, I can't believe the amount of fun that we had on our trip to the Petit Jean State park!!!! It was so much fun for the whole family.

First we got to our motel.... The Holiday Inn Express. It was a little over-priced, and the hotel hallways smelled badly of old stale cigarette smoke. The kids played in the pool for awhile, came back to the room and then went down again to mess around in the fitness area.

The next morning we got up and ate a great continental breakfast... and I'm not joking at all.. it was GREAT... there was a huge selection of hot fresh food to choose from.

Then we headed over to the mountains. The entire trip there was great, and it went by quickly because there was so many beautiful things to look at on the way there. Oh the gorgeous horses I seen all up and down the highway in pastures grazing peacefully... all along side the road the marroon flowers were bloomed out. It was so pretty.

Anyhow. We made it to a few of the look-out points, then we went to the Bear Cave trail..that was a lot of fun and the kids HAD to run up and explore every single crack, crevice, and hole that found. They were actually TALKING to each other... not fighting

After we went to the bear cave trail, we went to the ceder falls trail. That was beautiful. We were WAY up there, and as you look down over the ledge you can hear, see, smell, and feel the breeze off of this beautiful waterfall

And while on a trail I got these photos of the scenery.

Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

After a lot of walking, we went on up to the Mathers lodge restaruant. We were seated and greeted by what turned out to be THE nicest, most helpful waitress I've ever met!!! She was flawless in keeping our glasses filled, meeting our every single need. She even took a liking to my family, and upon learning we were going on an "economy" budget, she leans forward and tells my husband and I that she will not only reduce our bill by adding all 5 of our kids to the "childrens" menue, (4 of the 5 were over-aged to be billed as kids) but she would also throw in a free buffet plate and drink for me and my husband only had to pay for his dinner !!!! All of our drinks were free...she saved us a good 35. or so.
The view.. oh my gosh... the view as we were eating was spectacular. Hummingbirds outisde the windows darting around, the blue hazey mountains in the distance...that is a vision that will far outlast my eyesight, and will forever be in my mind. We had THE best meal together, as a family, every enjoying the food, atmosphere, and converstaion. Something that's really hard to do with 3 teen-agers, a tween-ager, and an 8 year old.

After our meal we headed over to another trail. We started off down the trail to see a few wildfloers, but before we knew it we were 2 miles into a 4.5 mile hike !!!!
We were having so much fun we didn't even realize we had gone that far in, and we were still so excited from all the beautiful things we were seeing, that we decided we could easily handle going the other 2.5 miles of the hike. WRONG
We did see this really neat thing called "Turtle rock". On the top of one huge rock is several formations of rocks that look like turtle shells. Hard to see them right in the picture, but here's a shot of them.

Turtle Rocks.

We did finally manage to get to the end of the trail. It was gruelling, and I did the whole 4.5 acrres barefooted because my new flip flops were hurting my feet. Yes, I know, people don't generally hike in flip flops, but I didn't intend on hiking.

Here are a few pictures of the kids, and us.

Dakota (he'll be 16 in 2 days)

Dakota and Elaina


Me and my kids at the natural bridge. Over our heads is a huge stone arch.

All my kiddos... Dakota 16, Tylar 15, Elaina nearly 14, Casey 12, and Meagan nearly 8.

Tylar, just tured 15 three days ago.

The entire Clayton family.

After we finished our trail, we were all happy to get back to the truck. We loaded up and headed home. We went all the way there, about 4 hours, and all the way back with the stereo turned OFF and the cell phones turned off. Just us... talking, laughing, and only a small amount of fussin' and fightin'.

It is by far one of my most treasured memories that I will hold on to as long as my mind will allow me to.

I have to split my post up because of the number of photos allowed.

Here's a few of the look out photos I took of the kids, and scenery.

This is my 12 year old son, Casey, and my 8 year old daughter, Meagan.

This is me and my husband, Donnie.

My 13 year old daughter, Elaina.

Scenery 1

Scenery 2

Scenery 3 ( look how full and green those trees are!)



Well-Known Member
Jan 30, 2007
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Beautiful pictures! Wow. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.
Being one of five kids I know how much fun it is to just get out of the house and go on a hike with everyone. (Otherwise all of us are inside and there's no end to the noise!!!!!)


Active Member
Dec 2, 2002
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I,indeed, share your enthusiasm over your visit to Petit Jean State Park. My parents took our family there many times for weekend "vacations" and I continue to do so,even now,after over 60 is a beautiful place....Michael


Well-Known Member
Dec 30, 2004
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Fantastic pictures!
Thank you so much for sharing with us! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. You have such a lovely family!

God bless,



Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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Oh my gosh.....Spectacular!!!!!!!!!! I can only imagine the memories you've made on that trip.

(Hope that waitress got a nice tip.)

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