A Night on Bell Mountain- Nov 21, 2015

Que the Mussorgsky music. It could have been that dramatic, but in the end it turned out to be a good time had by all. We missed the fall colors on Bell Mountain this year, so Disco (Corey) invited a few of us to head up to Bell Mountain for a night of hanging in the late Fall/early Winter.
We were going to meet at 10 am on Saturday morning and head up the mountain. The weather has been fairly good as I have mentioned in previous posts, but Saturday night promised to be brutal. high winds, snow early and a low temperature that could get to about 10 degrees F.  Corey was bringing his daughter Taylor and Joe, his daughter Olivia. I would have brought my daughter but she is 34 weeks pregnant!

As I waited in the parking lot Saturday morning is started to snow and snow hard!
 It wasn't cold enough to stick to anything, but it was a surprise.

Olivia and Gideon (Joe)
 Taylor and Disco (Corey)

moving up the trail it was overcast windy and cold
 The familiar Bell Mountain cut off.

We stopped two or three times for breaks and snacks. We didn't need too as both girls ran up the hill with no effort what so ever! 
 Surveyors marker on the top of Bell Mountain.

 Making it to the top the world looks cold and blustery 

Joe and Olivia- "Wait Dad I have a text" 

Corey and Taylor set up their hammocks in the wind

Joe having a hard time keeping a hold on his.

Finally got mine set up and anchored down
 Doors closed and as low as I could make it, to try and stop the wind.

 The moss and lichen don't seem to mind the weather.
 Joe making some hot soup for him and Olivia, who is warming herself in the hammock

Toward the end of the afternoon the winds died down and the weather started to change. The weather was actually clearing and the cloud cover was blowing off. This would mean a clear night but very low temperatures! 

I kept warms by helping collect firewood and then breaking it into small pieces to start the fire. Bell Mountain is beginning to get loved to death. We noticed a lot more cleared spots for tents and it seems that some people might be cutting down trees for firewood. While we were there, there were three other large groups of tenters on the mountain.  
We got the fire started early to warm everyone up. 

 sitting around the fire ( Corey and Taylor)

Olivia and Joe
 Dawn came to the mountain about 6:45 am. 
 What a difference 24 hours make. by 8 am it was blue sky and sunshine but it was also only 20 degrees. It had gotten to around 15 degrees during the night. 

 Corey and Taylor lounging in the hammocks trying to unfreeze their water bottles
I left the father daughter teams at the top and headed down the hill to get some TGO speed training in this morning. I made the 6 miles to the car in 90 minutes. 
 Some beautiful "Frost Flowers" on the way down

The sun was shining but it was still very cold

 Back at the truck at 10 am it was still only 30 degrees.

 Thanks to Disco for organizing and thanks to Joe, Olivia and Taylor for coming along you were all great company and let's hope we can do it again soon.

Pre-Christmas Holiday Weekend Branson Missouri

Yes, I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but the RV season is short in Missouri and we wanted to take the RV down to Wilderness campground as we have done the last three years to see the Christmas light displays at Silver Dollar City. Once the temperatures get below 28 degrees for a few nights the RV needs to be winterized. We can still use it, but without water for showers and toilet and cooking/cleaning it is not quite the same.

We got out of town on Friday night after Vicky got off work. It was a beautiful night to drive down to Branson. the sky was clear and there was just a sliver of a moon.

The drive is about 3.5 hours from our house. We arrived late and had a quick salad and some meat and cheese with crackers as dinner- by candle light

The dawn was excellent and Saturday was suppose to be the weather highlight of the weekend.

 Lately I have seen lots of posts wanting to know the privy with best view- well we have a good one this weekend.

It was off to explore the area again and see some sights. the first stop was Shepard of the Hills. It is a big observatory Tower that you can zip line from. Vicky thought about it, but decided not to this time. They were actually finishing up the decorations around the park, so we couldn't get it to look around. 

 One of the old buildings on the Shepard of the Hills property. 

We decided to head over to Table Rock State Park for a hike. I got a couple of unusual panorama views of Table Rock lake
 Much of the trail system at Table Rock State Park was closed due to the start of deer season hunting. 
But we did manage a 3 mile loop hike along one of the open sections. 

After the hike it was back to the RV for a BIG lunch- some steak, salad and some wine. We figured if we were going over to the park at 3 pm to spend all the rest of the evening we might just snack later in the park.- can't resist ice cream, funnel cakes and cinnamon rolls!

 A little wine before hand to fortify myself to the big crowds
We took the shuttle bus over to the park as it drops you off and picks you up right at the entrance and makes a really easy way to avoid some of the parking issues. 

And it was packed! 

The main Christmas tree in the center of the park. It comes "to life" after dark- see video below

Vicky and I are never too old to ride the train. It gives you a good view of the entire park and its just fun.
The view from the train shows you the backside of the large roller coasters in the park "Fire in the Hole" is suppose to be the #1 or #2 best roller coaster in America.

 Half way through the train ride (in the winter) the train stops for a story of the Nativity. In the summer you are "held up" by a couple of incompetent country boys
 As the light fades from the day the lights start to show around the park and in the trees

 The big tree performs every 15 minutes after sunset

 Twice every evening 7 pm and 9 pm is the Rudolf parade down main street.

After the parade we did some shopping for Christmas presents, let the crowd die down a little and then headed back to the RV park.
Sunday dawned colder and cloudy I made a fire in our sites fire pit, We relaxed while it rained lightly, had a big breakfast and cleaned up the RV and headed home around 1 pm so we could get home just before dark.
It was a nice late season RV trip and a good relaxing weekend.

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