After the hike, we drove to Jasper, Arkansas, which is about 15 miles away. The boys skipped rocks along the Little Buffalo river and played at the playground of a local park. We ran to the grocery store to grab a few things for dinner that night, and then headed back to the campground. When we got there, the wind was howling so hard that two of the stakes on the rainfly of my tent had ripped out the ground. I fixed the tent and then got dinner ready. We made a fire as evening turned into night. Luckily we were so tired that evening from hiking that we made it to bed by 8pm. We didn't miss much, as the wind basically drove us inside the tent anyway.
Around 10pm I woke up to the sound of thunder. I had assumed it would rain at some point since the forecast was a 50% chance of rain. What I really noticed was the constant pounding of the wind on the campground. Throughout the night, I kept checking the tent to make sure the stakes were holding in the soft ground. It started to slowly rain off and on, but the wind stayed constant. The thunder and lighting really started to pick up after midnight. I know this because I don't think I slept for more than 5 minutes at a time. I kept worrying that my kids were going to wake up and freak out, but they were too darn tired to even notice.
3AM was the worst. It was around that time that I heard trees starting to crack and break. Luckily for us, our tent was located in the open, away from the tree line. We were still 30 yards from the woods, so it was definitely possible to get whacked by a fallen limb or log. Suddenly I heard a huge crash not far from me. I grabbed my headlamp and looked out the tent. The campers next to me were right next to where the sound emanated from. I looked out praying that they were okay. Luckily their tent was intact. In the morning, I met up with the guy from the camp next to ours. Right behind his camp was a shattered oak treek. The trunk had broken about 7 feet up the tree. The rest of the tree crashed through the surrounding canopy and landed along the riverbed. Had it fallen the opposite direction, it would have landed right in their camp, if not on their tent.
Next time we're staying at a Holiday Inn Express.