Saturday, October 08, 2011

Way beyond cornfields

So we live in quite the agricultural state.  Most of the time I love it--we have awesome produce, no air pollution, beautiful trees and a wonderful growing climate--but there are some times that I really miss hiking in the mountains.

But guess what!!  Our agricultural state has some beautiful, beautiful, beautiful terrain.  Today we spent most of the day hiking around and had a fantastic time.  One of the best parts was the hour-long drive there--the trees were just beautiful.  Absolutely gorgeous.

The first hike we went on today was described in the park's map as "rugged/very rugged" and was described as the most uneven terrain in the park.  It started out as a gentle stroll through the woods, then some fun railroad-tie type stairs down a hill, then some SERIOUS stairs.  SO many stairs, and really steep!!  Neil and I were both not huge fans of the stairs since we were each carrying one of the boys; Juliet and Abigail just trudged right along (and as you can see in the pictures where we're coming back up the stairs, they just went up using their hands.  They were that steep!)

The stairs offloaded us directly into the ravine's streambed, and we then hiked upstream over fallen logs, rock piles, rock faces, rocks in water, water get the idea.  It was very fun, very wet, very muddy, and very keep-your-attention-on-where-you're-walking.  I was honestly amazed that none of us took a header off a rock--there were a couple of times where I was terrified that I was going to fall face-first and smash Luke, especially since every time I changed my footing he wiggled around and my center of gravity would totally change!  I didn't take any pictures during this part because I needed both hands almost every second (and after I dropped the camera in the stream I figured I should just put it away).  We hiked up the stream to a waterfall and I sat on some boulders to feed Luke while everyone else ran around and fell in the mud and the stream.  Abigail clambered around the boulders and said she saw a fast way down and we were like, oh, no, honey, we have to go back the way we came--but she was right!!!  We went back down the stream and up the hundreds (I exaggerate not) of stairs only to see the people who had passed us while we were sitting on the boulders--and they had picked up the map that had fallen out of my pocket.  So we hiked an extra mile back down the streambed and up the stairs instead of the tenth of a mile easy walking back to the trailhead.  Oh well.  Abigail didn't gloat too much.  :-)

In any event, I honestly thought this was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  Observe:

Is this seriously not so beautiful?  Don't you all want to come visit us now?!

And last but not least, this is not the greatest photo ever, but it is the only photo I have of all six of us.  Ever.  And therefore I love it, glare, shadows, grimaces, Luke's weird mohawk-looking hair, and all.


Anonymous said...

It is beautiful--reminds me of the area in Ohio around Old Man's Cave. I wonder if it is the same formation?

It would be fun to visit this area again with you sometime. I'll even take a photo.

Love you,

Mary Beth said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Can we go there next time I come to visit? (...Wait. It might be less impressive in 90 degree weather with 100% humidity. Maybe I will have to visit in spring or fall...)

What a great day for your family. I am so happy to see all the wonderful experiences you have, even when you're getting about 5 minutes of sleep a night. You're a true inspiration to me. ♥

Elise said...

i love it! and yes, i'm coming to visit you tonight in my dreams! get ready for some fun!! :)

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