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  I finally got my entire family together this past weekend for a short backpacking camping trip. The group consisted of my wife Elita, sons Ian and Tristan, and me. We had not eaten at Mather Lodge in Petit Jean State Park as a family since the re-building so we ate there around 7:00 and then headed west then north. If you have not seen this lodge and restaurant since its rebirth you really should check it out for it is really pretty cool. We parked at the Boen Gulf access and made it in about 10:45 with sunny skies and cold temperatures, with a fair amount of wind as well. There was very little water in the creeks as usual but we still stopped at Magnolia Falls and ate some lunch. The trail into the valley was followed and camp was made at the bottom. Everyone pretty much lounged around and enjoyed the afternoon around camp. Ian and Tris used their hammocks for relaxing but were going to sleep in a tent since the low was supposed to be around freezing. We had a great fire till 10:00 with a full moon above and fairly clear skies. The guys hit the bags around 9:00 and Elita and I stayed up till 10:00. Luckily the wind had died down around sunset so the cold was not bad at all with the fire. We climbed out of the tents at 7:00 to frost and a low temp of 26 degrees. The fire was stirred up a bit and camp disassembled and we were on our way by 8:10 and to the vehicle by 9:00. We then drove west to Fayetteville for lunch and and some messing around in that area for the rest of the day. The new Cabelas in Rogers was pretty cool but looks just like a Bass Pro or a Gander Mountain to me. All are geared more to the redneck crowd it seems to me. Packrat Outdoors is more my kinda place but overpriced. All in all we had a great outing. The fall colors were near peak or maybe even past peak...but just beautiful. In at 10:45 temp low 40's, high upper 50's. Out at 0900 Sunday morning, temp in 30's.

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