Fall Break

This year for fall break we went to the Great Smokey Mountains located on the Tennessee–North Carolina border. Our plan was to hike about 20 miles over three days. On the first full day it started raining; it rained for 18 straight hours! Since our tents, backpacks and hiking clothes were soaking wet we decided to hike out a day early and head back home.

Because we got home two days early we spent Sunday sleeping and on Monday we went to the Indiana dunes national park. At the Dunes we hiked the three largest dunes at the park and visited some historic sites there.

Even though it wasn’t what we planned, I really enjoyed our vacation and would like to do it again–well maybe not the getting rained out part.


In August my family was able to take a short vacation. This year we went to Badlands South Dakota for nine days. On the way up we stayed at a really nice camp site that had a big playground that everyone enjoyed. 🙂

In the Badlands we went on different hikes almost everyday. My favorite trail was Notch trail. It had a sort half mile walk to a ladder that goes up the side of a formation. At the top you can go on a one mile trail across the formation. On the hike up to the ladder we saw several mountain goats going up the side of the rocks, it was really neat.

Almost every trail there was a ‘warning rattlesnakes’ sign so I went and got some funny pictures with the signs.

I really enjoyed South Dakota and would love to go back soon.


This year I am tagging my monarchs before I release them. Tagging starts in early August and ends mid October. To tag a butterfly I have to keep a record sheet giving the tag code, state and area code for where I released the butterfly.

In December I will send in my record sheet and if any one finds a monarch with my tag on it they will send me the location of the recovery. This year I will have over 30 to tag!

By tagging monarchs we can see the survival rate of the traveling butterflies and we see how far they travel.

I’m excited to see how the tagging goes this year!


On Friday we went to the fair to watch the rodeo. Before the rodeo we watched a roping show and a alligator wresting show.

I have really wanted to hold an alligator since before Florida, after the show I was able to hold the albino alligator. Alligators kind of feel like snakes- smooth but tough.


The other day I found ten Question Mark caterpillars. I have raised question marks before but never so many.

As for Monarchs, I have seven chrysalises and twelve small caterpillars. So far I have only had two die from NPV (Nuclear polyhedrosis virus) a virus which dissolves the caterpillar from the inside out. Pretty gross!