WARNING! THIS BLOG POST IS LONG AND CONTAINS LOTS OF FAMILY PHOTOS!

What a weekend we had last weekend! My daughter’s high school team played my husband’s alma mater. We spent the weekend at Aunt Mary’s house on Culpepper Mountain. Mary is Chip’s aunt. They are only 5 years apart, so they grew up more like brother and sister.

Let me tell you, we packed a bunch into one weekend!

First, there was the game on Friday night. Our team got pounded into puddin’, but it didn’t really matter. We had so much fun the rest of the weekend, we kinda forgot about the game.

Saturday morning Mary took us for a hike in the woods. These are the woods Chip grew up hiking in when he was a kid. Well, kinda. There was a monster tornado that went through Clinton, AR about 4 1/2 years ago that changed things quite a bit.

Here are some pictures from our 2 hour hike:

The trees were amazing!

This is Mary with the beautyberry bush. Yes, I just learned that is what these pretty purple berries are called.

Mary called this her “Prayer Rock”. What a fabulous place to worship!

Looks like a family trait!

On our way back to the house we took a different route. Mary knew the route. She even knew about this old house. What she didn’t know about was all the briers. Tons of briers! We hiked around forever trying to avoid having to go through them.

There is so much for you to take note of in this next picture.

  • Notice how red Mary’s face is. Part of that is due to the fact that we had been hiking for two hours wearing sweatshirts! Part may be blood from where the briers whacked her in the face. Ouch!
  • Notice Megan’s pocket on her sweatshirt. It is crammed full of pine cones and acorns and such. You’ll see why later.
  • Notice Katie’s face. She was worried we would never make it home and we’d have to live in that little house and eat Megan’s acorns.
  • Notice that thing I’m holding in my hand. It’s just some pretty dried seed pods. Mary said it looked like a voodoo stick. Funny thing is, all the trouble in the briers started after picking up the stick. Coincidence?

Once we could finally see the highway, we could laugh about our experience. We stumbled across a pile of bones. We said they were from the last group that got lost in “these here parts”.

Back at the house, we ate some yummy barbecue and rested before the “surprise”. Mary’s surprise came complete with accessories.

This is Mary’s neighbor, James Reed. He is a real cowboy. He competes in the annual Chuckwagon Races in Clinton. He and his crew are legendary for their race in 2008. I’m just glad I didn’t see this video before we rode with him!

We went around the pasture at a nice clip-clop pace, enjoying the scenery and such. When we went around for a second time I thought, “Oh, we’re going on the same route. This is going to be boring.” Was I ever wrong! At the half-way point on the second lap, James got those horses in gear. They were really only going about quarter speed. From the springy back seats it felt like we were flyin’! The girls and I were whoopin’ it up back there.—wavin’ our hands in the air and laughing.

Then we hit a bump!

Megan and I held on to the sides and put a death grip on Katie, who was in the middle with nothing to hold onto. The horses saw the barn up ahead and were churnin’! I wish I could have recorded the laughter and screams of delight! We made that next turn and I was sayin’ my prayers! I wondered how Mary was going to explain to Chip why we didn’t come home with her!!! James is a pro! He had it all under control the whole time.

While we were on our wagon adventure, Chip and Rick, Mary’s husband, were back at the house shooting guns off the porch. When we got back, it was mine and Mary’s turn to shoot.

Here goes the “city girl”.

Rick’s gun has some fancy slide somethin’-or-‘nother that makes that kind of gun legal. I know nothing about all that. It is apparently a huge new thing. They happen to kind of know the people who run the company, Slide Fire Solutions.

I liked shooting this gun better.

While Mary and I made a quick trip to the store, Chip and the girls rode the 4-wheeler.

Time for the cookout!

Look, Mary even made little Smore kits! So cute!

This was Mary’s first smore-ever! I know! Crazy, huh? She said she had made them before but had never actually eaten one! Of course she loved it! How could she not?!

“Let me show you how it’s done.”

While we were munching our smores, some raccoons came up to feed. Mary and Rick have all kinds of wildlife come into their yard, so they feed them. They have raccoons, foxes, deer, bobcats, coyotes, cats, squirrels, ok, I guess the cats aren’t considered wildlife. They don’t shoot these critters, except for the coyotes. They’re bad.

Here is the lovely picture I took of the raccoons. Click the picture. All you see is a couple of green dots on a black background. Lovely, huh?

I dropped it into Photoshop and it looked a little better. If you click this picture, you can actually see the raccoon.

By this time it was almost kick-off of the Razorback game. I told you we crammed a lot into the weekend. But wait—there’s more!

Sunday morning Chip took me out on the 4-wheeler.

The girls used their cache from our hike to make nature centerpieces while we were gone.

We had to get just a few more pictures before we left.

Chip and the girls took another turn on the 4-wheeler. Mary and I headed to Conway. Several of the shops were having an Open House. We saw lots of pretty things!

We met up with the rest of the gang a bookstore. Then it was time to head home. Back to reality.

It was such a great weekend! Mary is the ultimate hostess and event planner.

We laughed. We cried. We solved ALL the world’s problems.

Most of all we made wonderful memories on Culpepper Mountain!