We got through a rainy and cold night of camping at Table Rock State Park outside of Branson. Thankfully it didn't rain that much, and it didn't get that cold--by which I mean dropping below freezing (though it was close enough that none of us wanted to get out of our sleeping bags in the morning).
While waiting for our tent to dry out we visited a nearby fish hatchery. The boys enjoyed seeing the trout jump to get the pellets of food they threw at them.
After picnicking by the river below the dam (which some how gets called a lake) and packing up camp, we headed south and crossed another state off our list. The nice folks at the Arkansas Welcome Center directed us toward several nice areas for camping in the northwest corner of the state. We picked Devil"s Den State Park which looked like it was tucked away in the mountains with plenty of hiking options and other things to do and see.
Upon arriving we were given a campsite for the night, but told all the sites were booked for the weekend. Which made me mad. I couldn't see how all of these empty sites (there are only two other occupied sites in our loop of the campground) were going to fill up tomorrow. Who heard of a campground filling up the first weekend in April? I generally dislike the reservation system which makes you plan camping trips a year ahead of time. If we don't have enough space to let people pitch a tent to sleep when they want, then maybe we need more spaces to pitch a tent in this country.
I discovered on our way to the shower house (they boys were in dire need) that there's a big mountain biking event this weekend. Which explained all the campgrounds being full. I was just hoping to spend the next two nights in one place. So I guess we'll do what we can here tomorrow and then hope we can find a place to pitch a tent north of here.
I like this camping in April deal. The weather can be a little sketchy, but it's so nice to be nestled between two ridges of the Ozark Mountains along a river. I'm about ready to crawl into my sleeping bag amidst the sounds of rushing water and peeping frogs.