From the ER to the best specialists, to the rolling hills of civil war battles Mississippi made its mark on mind and body. Homochitto National Forest to Jackson and onto Vicksburg. These cities and parks and random locations mean little until you find the unexpected journey we found in and between.

Clear Springs and Blakely’s broken arm

In the Homochitto National forest is a quaint little campground called Clear Springs. We happened upon it while looking for free campsites on our way north. We had just finished up with noisy New Orleans and were ready for quiet.

For only seven dollars we found the primitive camping (no hookups) before the actual entry to the campground! Score! There were trees and we were within bike riding distance to the campground, showers, lake and playground.

The night we arrived we went for a ride to the playground. Colter, me and Blakely rode our bikes while Tessa and Saylor rode in the trailer. There was hardly anyone in the campground, probably due to time of year, and we had the facilities all to ourselves. The two swings and the ship deck was all the girls needed for entertainment. They swung along the monkey bars to the ship and slipped into the sand off the slide.

Around the main campground area is a hiking/mountain bike trail. A gazebo near the lake provided a perfect place to picnic and watch the turtles sunning themselves on logs.

I do have to say the ride back up the hill from the park was a butt-kicker but it made for a good workout! I was huffing and puffing. Waiting for Blakely and Dad to walk up was enjoyable. Blakely wasn’t too impressed she had to push her bike up the hill. Making it to the top was a triumph for everyone! Remind you..I’m pulling a trailer with two lugged kiddos in it, hence the huff’n’puff.

The next day took a turn from our relaxing and enjoying Homochitto National Forest to rushing Blakely to the nearest hospital after a fall from her hammock at nap time.

You see, I thought it would be fun for them to take a nap in their hammocks. Colter was working so I set the hammocks up.

Saylors hammock is awesome. There is no way she can fall out but setting it up is tricky and I have never taken the time to really figure it out. After I set it up, I decided to get in.

Getting in Saylors hammock was the first mistake of the day. For as soon as I put all my weight, one of my knots slipped and Saylor and I went straight to the ground.

We needed Colter at that point! He fixed the hammock and Saylor was good! The bad part was the girls goofing around in their hammocks and swinging. Warning them to calm down and take a rest was the best I could do and then I walked away.

Just as I sat down in my mossy oak camouflage camp chair I heard a thud and a shrill cry. It wasn’t panic, just pain. I ran to Blakely’s side and knew as soon as I saw her arm, we were probably dealing with a broken bone.

I ran back up to Colter and told him we needed to get to a hospital. We both stepped into action!

I got Blakely by the car and ran to get ibuprofen in the RV. Colter grabbed sleeping Saylor and Tessa, and found the Sam splint from our climbing gear to help stabilize Blakely’s arm.

We spent the rest of the evening in the ER wrangling tired kids and getting prescription pain medicine.

Colter could have spent the rest of the week in the forest but unfortunately, we needed to head to Jackson to go to a pediatric orthopedic physician. Driving and figuring the appointment, where we are going to stay, etc was our best option so we started out first thing the next day to Jackson.

We had a hard time getting an appointment. Colter called first thing that next morning and had a hard time. All Colter wanted was an appointment for his hurt little girl. The first thing was the office needed a referral. I called the hospital to get a referral and they said they didn’t refer patients. Ok. So I call our home doctor. He is busy and in the meantime, I called back to the orthopedic office to see if we can just get on the schedule.

When I called back, fortunately, they had just had a cancellation and the receptionist was smart enough to ask what insurance we had. It was Blue Cross and did not require a prior authorization. We were in!

Finding a place to stay was our next task. There was a state park close to the hospital and clinic which was a great place to stay for a couple days and fortunately had availability.

Our office visit was simply walking into the clinic, showing them the x-rays, and getting a cast on. The doctor did ask us where we went into the ER because the practitioner did not splint Blakely’s arm correctly for an ulna brake. We knew this as soon as we got back from the ER because her wrist was still mobile. We splinted her more with the Sam Splint and an ace wrap because we didn’t want to go back to the ER.

After Blakely’s cast was on I promised her a kids museum because I thought there was a museum on our ASTC pass. The Children’s Museum in Jackson is under a different science membership so we went to the Natural Science Center that was right down the road within walking distance. To our surprise there was also a huge park we could play at on the way.

The Natural Science Center was very well put together. They have fossils, some live animals and beautiful depictions of landscapes with mounted animals that are a true piece of art. I stood in awe at the beauty and intricacies that were in the displays. The girls also loved the playroom. There was a tree that scaled up and took half the room. Sliding down from the top was a favorite.




Initially, we hadn’t planned on going to Vicksburg but the whole broken arm and heading up to Jackson took us more North so we decided to check it out and I am so glad we did. The river walk murals and the military park opened our eyes to the history and taught us a lot about the civil war.

Walking by huge cement levies telling the stories of the past in art was inspiring. A picture can paint a thousand words. For example, one mural had a picture of Teddy Rosevelt, on one of his trips to Vicksburg, on a horse. A bear was tied to a tree, Teddy had a gun and there were other bystanders around. President Rosevelt could not come to shoot the bear and let it go. Marketing campaniles caught wind of the incident and decided to name stuffed bears Teddy Bears!

The water of the Mississippi River was high due to all the spring rain. There were even additional levies to block the water. Around the railroad tracks just off the right of the murals were supplies and heavy equipment to hurry and build another wall to keep the water out from the city if the Mississippi were to keep rising.

After looking at the murals and on our way back to the car we found a park! The girls couldn’t just pass by so we stopped and played until our stomachs started to grumble. We then headed back to the car, made a quick stop for food and headed back to the RV.

The next day we went to the National Military Park. It would have been interesting to drive around and look at the monuments from each state with names and tributes to those who fought and lead in the Civil war but what really drove it home was helping Blakely and Tessa complete their Junior Ranger. The questions and information in the workbook filled in the gaps and helped us dive deeper into learning about what happened at that place and all the men who sacrificed their lives and women and children who had to hide out underground while the fighting was taking place.

There are some huge monuments in the park such as ones you can walk into and others that look like oversized headstones. But in all of them lies a respect for what happened on that hill and surrounding land from May 18- July 4, 1863.

From broken arms to the Civil war and walking on hallowed grounds we cried, we sobbed and we reflected in the great state of Mississippi. Colter was bummed we couldn’t stay the whole week in Clear Springs but we experienced so much more because we left.