Ponca State Park


It wouldn’t be a complete summer without at least one camping trip put together by everyone’s favorite Happy Camper, Jenny. This year, we elected to go to Ponca State Park, a place I’d visited a couple times while living up in Wayne, America. It’s the home of tall trees, tall views, and tall grass all around our campsite. Vivian and I headed on up late Friday in time for a campfire, hot dogs, and a spectacular viewing of Super Moon, which shone down on us like a lunar spotlight, making flashlights almost unnecessary.

That evening, however, a thunderstorm blew threw our campsite, turning muggy and hot to actually quite chilly overnight. Dan and Katie brought a propane grill that made breakfast burritos possible in the morning, and Vivian dished up Spam for everybody. I was quite surprised not everyone had eaten the stuff posing as meat before.


In-between storms, we headed down to the lodge to buy a souvenir or two and then spend an hour doing group photos by the Towers of Time monument. We hiked through the woods long enough to get lost by the pool, and then I managed to sneak a peek at the view of the Missouri River before the next storm hit. Of course, we had to walk slowly.

We retreated to town for ice cream as other camping guests showed up. Once the rain was done happening (again), a couple of us went for a dip in the pool as everyone else went down to the sandbar to see the river up close and personal. That evening, Jon brought out some Big Bubbles as potatoes and burgers cooked over by the fire, providing ample amount of goofy photo opportunities for everyone around. We had a group photo or two before people started taking off, and then had quality time with s’mores around the campfire before camping it up for the night.


The next day, those of us left (Vivian and me and Libby and Jon) headed into the park to throw some tomahawks around. I swear, there’s something therapeutic about flinging a large, deadly, sharp object into a tree stump, and after a few tries we all seemed to get the hang of it. Around the corner, people were trying out some muzzle-loading rifles, which were a bit tricky to load. Libby, Vivian, and Jon all got to try firing a couple off. Then Libby and Jon squared off in some random bout of Mortal Combat before we called it a day.


Of course, since we were only a few miles away from Martinsburg, we had to drop by Bob’s Bar for a quick lunch of Big Burgers and a big plate of onion rings. Libby and Jon had never been there and were quite suspicious whether it were a real restaurant, just from the curb appeal, but that’s all part of the charm. We headed on back to Bellevue and had tasty ribs for dinner with Jack and Donna, who had been kind enough to watch Hannah for the weekend. Our little girl turned 19 months, and we celebrated by letting her drink from the hose for the first time.

Another camping trip success! Next year, though, we have to try horseback riding. Hopefully the weather will cooperate the next time around.



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