Sunday, March 8, 2020

We Survived The Birthday Adventure!

My husband is a pain in the ass to buy a gift for. He never mentions things he wants. If he DOES want something, he usually just buys it himself, having never once said it was something he was wanting in the first place. Fortunately, we have always just done stocking stuffers for each other at Christmas (I CAN pick out candy for him!). Unfortunately, not the case for birthdays.

On Tuesday, he is going to be 60. While he isn't exactly depressed about it, he has been a little incredulous about the number, so I wanted to do something to make 60 seem no different that any other birthday. Instead of giving him a gift, I would give him an experience!

The experience I chose was for us to go to a privately owned nature park near Branson called Dogwood Canyon. The park is owned and developed by Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, and is run as a not-for-profit nature preserve. We'd never been there before, as there's a pretty steep entry fee (as in $15 a person just to visit the little museum and walk around the grounds), but it was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low 60s by late afternoon, so off we went.

Now, as God is my witness, I thought the walking/biking trail (bicycle rentals start at $10 per person) was a 3.2 mile loop (no, I DIDN'T pick up a map at the ticket booth and why didn't YOU do it if you wanted one so badly), but in actuality, it was a 6.4 mile round trip (in fairness, the trail is completely paved and mostly flat, and this is important to note). I wanted to go all the way to the end of the trail, because the map on their website (which was accessible the very few moments we had internet reception - we were seriously in a canyon) showed a bison and elk pasture was located there. That would make the long walk worth it, right?

End of trail is on right side of map, followed by the words BISON AND ELK PASTURE.

The park really is beautiful. There's a creek that runs through the canyon, and the bluffs are gorgeous, and there are waterfalls (which I highly suspect are created with pumps and not one bit natural) and amazing views. What there ISN'T is benches scattered along the way, so one could actually sit down and take in the beauty (and so the WHINY ASS SISSIES could rest). 

We walked. And walked. And walked. And were passed by numerous Wildlife Tram Tours (starting at $25 per person for a two hour guided tour). The Birthday Boy asked why we didn't bring water with us ($2 per bottle at the gift shop) or snacks and why couldn't we just walk part way and turn around and go back (BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS 6.2 MILES AND I DIDN'T KNOW WE MIGHT WANT A DRINK AND I DIDN'T KNOW YOU DIDN'T EAT ANYTHING FOR BREAKFAST AND I WANT TO SEE THE DAMN BISONS AND ELK).

We walked all the way to Arkansas....

Two HOURS later, we got to the end of the trail. There was a waterfall and some picnic tables. There were no bison. There were no elk.

My husband grimaced as he sat down, telling me his thighs were burning, his feet hurt, and his boxers were causing chaffing and his balls were now on fire.

There does not appear to be any
bison or elk. Oopsie!

Now, I am in considerably better shape than my husband, and my feet did NOT hurt and my thighs were NOT burning and I had no chaffing, with or without balls, but what I DID develop at about that moment was a need to use a restroom, of which we had only seen two on the entire walk, and they were approximately one and two and a half miles from where we sat. Oh, and I didn't need to pee....

I expressed my great need to leave our picnic table and head towards the nearest outhouse (and yes, $40 for a one-hour segway tour, but nothing but outhouses for relieving one's bladder or bowels), and my husband, moaning and groaning, got to his feet and s-l-o-w-l-y began the walk back. Fortunately, once I was walking again, my need to find a bathroom lessened, but since my husband wanted to sit on every bridge we passed, the urge would return. We would get up and walk, my husband moaning and complaining (I think there are blisters on my balls!) and I would be fine, then we'd stop for him to rest, and my stomach would start cramping. This went on for the ENTIRE two hour return trip (You lied to me about the bison just to get me to walk all that way. I DIDN'T lie, and as soon as we have an internet connection, I'll PROVE to you that there are bison at the end of the trail, and oh, look, you have to ride the $40 tram to get to see the DAMN BISON!). At long last, we could see the parking lot, and we were done with our birthday adventure.

My minky friend.

Here are my thankfuls:

1. It was too early in the season for snakes to be out.
2. My husband's balls did not, in fact, burst into flames.
3. My urgent need to visit the bathroom disappeared without me having to avail myself of the facilities.
4. We didn't get run over by any of the bicyclists, many of whom had obviously not been on a bike since childhood.
5. We didn't have to wave down a tram to get my husband back to the car.
6. Bison are actually nasty animals and it's probably just as well that we didn't run into any of them.
7. The only 4-legged nature we saw was a show-offy mink, and as they, too, are nasty animals, I'm happy the one we saw didn't bite my face off.
8. We had drinks in the car that were still cold when we finally got back to the parking lot, more than 4 hours after we started.
9. Between the hike and several errands I had to run after I dropped Mr. Whiny McBurned Balls at home, I clocked 20,000 steps on my FitBit.
10. We really did have a delightful day together MOST of the time.

60 is the new 40 and 10 thankfuls are better than none! 

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  1. That was quite the adventure!
    I have never seen a mink in the wild, but many years ago, my father-in-law raised mink for a few years when that had become the business pursuit for some people in our state. People raised them for the fur.

    1. Mink chewed through all the wiring of my dad's pontoon boat several years ago. They are evil little animals.

  2. Your day was certainly an experience :) I love the little mink, I know they can be nasty but it looks really cute :)

    1. It was really cute! And obviously used to being fed by people in the park!

  3. Oh, Dyanne, you do have quite the knack for writing! Happy birthday to your husband, and I'm glad he survived the adventure.

    1. Thanks, Kristi! It's a place you can visit if you ever get to come back this way again! Just remember it's not a 3.2 mile loop....

  4. Happy Birthday to Mister Hot Britches! 😂