Bug and I visited the Blues this last Monday. It’s Presidents’ Day Week so Bug has the whole week off from school. I had no idea she had this holiday coming up but I am loving it! Sometimes I wonder if I’d like homeschooling because outside of me not getting my freelance work done in a timely manner, I sure do love having her at home. We have so much fun together.
Especially when we take little trips to our friends’ houses and they take us on long hikes by a lake!
Carrien and her little guy.
Bug and Pink Kitty. That cat has seen more geography than most stuffed animals and the inside of the washing machine too.
The first part of the hike was a little bit challenging for the kids. It was big wide dirt road that seemed to go upwards interminably.
Of course they got tired and refused to go any further.
It was a beautiful day to be out and about.
The view was amazing.
Here Carrien is pretending to be a mountain lion as we discussed the dangers of hiking in an animal habitat. The whole trip was pretty educational. Carrien knows a lot of plant names and quizzed her kids along the way.
I now know this is Laurel Sumac by the way. It smells really pretty. All the plants do, really. Their scents instantly take me back to all the camping trips I’ve ever been on and I realize how seldom I get outdoors like this. It’s a shame.
(Encouraging each other to keep going.)
More plant research!
Carrien’s littlest got to ride in the backpack. We didn’t hear a peep out of him the whole trip. I’m assuming that was because he was happy as a clam.
We finally reached the top of the ridge and things really started to get interesting. The path that had been wide, dusty and somewhat boring suddenly narrowed, twisting and turning between boulders and brush. The kids that had been lagging behind complaining were off like jackrabbits running up the hill as if every turn held held a new adventure, which it did. When we should have been turning back because the sun was just starting to begin its descent toward sunset, when the park closes, we were progressing forwards at lightning speed because suddenly it was SO FUN!!
As the kids ran onwards Carrien and I settled into a comfortable pace and got a chance to really talk. It was so nice.
Finally we got to the top and caught up with the kids. We sat for a few minutes and rested. I had brought some dried fruit bars with me in my purse and the kids enjoyed them as if they were their last meal on earth. It’s amazing what hours and hours of fresh air can do to your appetite.
About now, it finally set in that we should have turned back earlier and there was going to be some difficulty getting out of the park before the rangers locked up the gates for the night. We gave it our best but getting five kids to walk back to the parking lot quickly is like trying to corral a bunch of squirrels and make them all go in one direction in a maze. Of course thinking about being a mountain lion’s dinner was some motivation.
So down the mountain we went, as quickly as little legs could go without slipping and falling in the downhill dirt. There were a few scrapes but we managed.
I think I held everyone up the most trying to take pictures of all the amazing views.
When we got to the bottom, a ranger met us with a bright light and a very large poodle, a ranger dog I guess. He gave us a friendly lecture about animal habitats and strongly advised us to never make this mistake again, especially with small children. Thankfully the rangers had heard us across the lake loud and clear and knew to keep the park open for us. I never thought about our voices echoing off the hillsides but I guess they would. We were a noisy bunch—which is also good to keep away mountain lions. We inconvenienced the rangers slightly but they was surprisingly nice about it. So lesson learned: when the sun reaches its apex, it’s time to head back. No matter how much fun you’re having.