One of the most common questions we get before, during, and after one of our hiking trips is when and if we’ll be taking Colt with us someday.

If?  Of course!

When?  Who knows.

We DID run into a family in the Glacier backcountry hiking with three daughters — two 13ish girls, and an 8 year old. So it could be sooner than we realize!

But while we’re off having our adventures, it is encouraging to know the little guy is in the hands of two of my favorite adventurers — my parents. Whatever they did to encourage me and my siblings to be curious, wandering, student-of-life types — they haven’t lost their touch. Colt’s Mamaw and Papaw take every opportunity to push him a little, challenge him, offer up new experiences — and I love hearing about the memories they make together.

The Saturday morning we left for the airport, my sister Becky kept Colt at our house for a few hours until my parents could get there. He was all packed for the week, and I’d showed him the clothes I laid out for that first day – giving them all one less thing to worry about as they packed the car and headed back to Texas.

At some point midday, I got a text from my Mom confirming they’d picked him up, loaded the car, and they were on their way! A text including a photo of him in the car.

Oh, that kid. So the first adventure was an unscheduled stop at Bass Pro Shop – looking for new sandals.

New sandals!


He tells me the below photos were taken at Incredible Pizza — a Chuck E. Cheese-esque arcade place in San Antonio. He smiles BIG when he talks about Incredible Pizza.


By that point, he’d likely lost track of time and space, and fully surrendered himself to the wild and whimsical Land of Grandparents. And who can blame him? They have PEACOCKS!

{CLICK HERE if you don’t see a video.}

I don’t think those birds got fed that day, so they were hungry. As soon as they saw the bag, they started chasing me! And we saw an adult deer that had big, big, big, big horns. Like, out to here. [Arms spread as wide as physically possible.]


We lived in San Marcos, Texas (less than an hour from San Antonio) when I was a little girl, and you just didn’t grow up in San Marcos in the 80s without fond memories of the Glass-bottom Boats at Aquarena Springs. The boat ride takes you on a tour of Spring Lake and is probably one of the only remaining attractions from the original amusement park, since closed. I have a sad smile thinking of the fun Colt would have enjoying acts like the underwater mermaid show, the bicycle-riding parrots, and Ralph the Swimming Pig.


They said there are 5000 turtles under there! I think.


Adventure around every corner, my parents live within a mile of a man who keeps exotic animals on his property, and if you’re lucky you can spot them as you drive by. Honestly, I’ve been skeptical of this story for years as I’ve driven by the guy’s fence many times when we’re there visiting — and I’ve never seen a thing. But Colt? He hit the jackpot.

We saw a white-spotted elk, a giraffe, two camels, one buffalo, and I think that’s all.


Time to take it up a notch. Spelunking!

The cave was in a cavern and it was a big room. They told us it has not collapsed since 1890, I think.

Another fond memory from the Texas portion of my childhood — Natural Bridge Caverns. Go ahead, ask him the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. I dare you.


Once he and Papaw safely made it out of the caves, Natural Bridge Caverns had one more challenge to offer. A ropes course, scaled down for kiddos. I think this part is new since I’ve been there, but after checking it out I think you’ll be seeing more of this place when the grownup kids are home at Christmas.

I roped up and got to walk around. You have to have that in case you fall. It was too easy for me except when Mamaw and Papaw said to not hold on — THAT was HARD!


My parents are not from Texas. They’re not even from the south. But when in Rome!

I grew up in 4-H, showing animals at fairs, and dreaming of being a rodeo queen with big hair and an unnecessarily sparkly hat, but Jeff and I have never taken Colt to the rodeo in Arkansas.


The Tejas Rodeo Company has a Saturday rodeo nearly every week of the year, and this little cowboy can’t stop talking about it. I love that he’s embracing Texas with the boots and hat, but still sporting the Razorback jersey. That’s my boy! And this may be one of my favorite photos. Ever. THAT FACE.


ATTENDING the rodeo is one thing. PARTICIPATING in the rodeo is something I never saw coming. But don’t bet against this kid – he’ll keep you guessing. When we got back from our trip to hear our little buddy suited up for an event! What?!

It was so fun cause I got to do mustin bustin. That sheep went super fast! And there were clowns because when the rider on the bull falls off the bull then the bull likes to come back for the cowboy and then the clowns confuse ’em and help the bull get back in the fence.

If you blinked during the video you may have missed it, but Mutton Bustin’ y’all! We’ve got a first-time cowboy on our hands!


You may remember that the kiddo has his own camera these days, and he couldn’t very well go on an adventure to Mamaw and Papaw’s without a way to document it now could he. Incidentally, I’m ready to admit buying the cheapest camera I could find wasn’t the best idea — but we’ll worry about things like focus and framing later, right? I removed anything that was barely recognizable as a thumb over the lens — and here you go, either through his eyes or at his direction:

Included: Serving popcorn to veterans at the VA Hospital, a visit from the Bunches – one of our favorite Northwest Arkansas families – also on vacation in San Antonio!, baking banana bread.


Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being brave and adventurous enough to keep this monkey for a week. It means everything.

[typography font=”Copse” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Adventure is out there!
— Ellie, Up[/typography]

One thought on “Adventurer in Training

  1. Love, love, loooove it!!

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