Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hiking with Friends

The day dawned with the sun shining brightly and a brilliant blue sky with some white clouds scattered across it. The forecasted high was in the mid-80's, and it was a perfect day for what we had planned . . . Mom, Leah and I and a friend of ours and her four children met around lunch time and then caravanned to a state park for a delightful afternoon of fun and adventure.

Upon arriving, we chose a 2.5 mile trail to hike and then started off with cameras in hand. Enthusiasm and a sense of adventure were high as we walked, explored and took in the many sights and sounds around us. The woods were full of birds calling and singing, of wildflowers adorning the little meadows or brightening up the edges of the trail, insect life was in abundance (and yes, lots of ticks!), and there was so much plant life to be admired and wondered about. Surprisingly, we only saw one snake on our hike, and it was a harmless water snake that the children especially found fascinating . . .

I believe this is a Western Ribbon Snake (Photo by Leah)

Wild Geranium (or Crane's Bill)

Slowly winding our way upwards with the little red 'tags' to mark our way. These were posted occasionally to mark the trail for us, and the children had a lot of fun watching for them and figuring out which trail to follow - especially when there was a fork in the road!

Stopping to enjoy the view and to take a photo

Me photographing along the way (Photo by Leah) 

Ferns growing out of a crack in the rock 

I can't remember what was seen here, but it must have been interesting!

Sisters watching an insect together 

Looking down to the beautiful creek below us

All of the wildflowers were an especial delight to me . . . the beautiful green interspersed with various colors of wildflowers was a feast for the eyes! 

This stretch of the trail was so beautiful! 

Watching a Northern Parula together - we heard a bunch of these tiny warblers singing during our walk, but we only spotted one of them. (Photo by Leah)

Our fearless 'guide'. :) She loved being out in front! 

"Look! What's this?" We heard that so many times along our way! This time it was due to an interesting growth on a tall dead tree. We're not sure what it was, but it looked interesting!

One of my favorite places along the way. And while they can't be seen in the photo, there were wildflowers all throughout this little glade.

Pressing onward . . . what amazing sights will we see next? 

Raccoon tracks! There was a wet place next to the trail that was full of raccoon tracks and others as well. Can you see the tiny ones near the larger ones? I'm thinking those might be a squirrel?

Looking at flowers and plants together 

A bridge across the creek . . . once reaching the other side, we enjoyed playing and exploring down on the creek bank. 

What a view!

Finding interesting insects and rocks as well

Heading to the point 

Leah and some of the children watching minnows and tadpoles while others had fun throwing rocks into the water. 

One of the girls found an interesting shaped rock with little fossils in it . . . she was so excited to show it to me! (Photo by Leah)

The Moms and the littlest girl . . . the mothers had a wonderful time visiting together during the hike! (And as they were behind us most of the way, there are only a few photos of them.)

 
I love this photo! Mom spending time with the two littlest girls (Photo by Leah)

Some of the children and I had fun skipping rocks on the water and having a rock throwing contest as well. (Photo by Leah)

See who can throw the farthest! (It wasn't me. :) (Photo by Leah)

Leah enjoying the peacefulness of the creek

After thoroughly enjoying our time at the creek, we walked back up to the trail and continued on our way. The littlest one got tired so her older sister carried her for awhile. Once sister got tired, a piggyback ride with me was next!

Oh, the excitement when this big snail was discovered! The children were thrilled to see it and watched it for quite awhile. I love their enthusiasm for nature and the wonders that God has created.

I don't know what it is about places such as this, but I love them! They are so peaceful and so . . . I'm not sure what :), but I so enjoyed being able to walk through them. 

Leah photographing  

Hand in hand on "the Oregon Trail" . . . some of the children started getting worn out along the way, so we started pretending that we were on the Oregon Trail. They really had fun with that! 

Wild Sweet William (or Blue Phlox) . . . there was an abundance of these little flowers along the way. And also an abundance of poison ivy!

Our trail led us right through the creek and to the other side.

Looking up the creek from where we crossed

It was interesting to see the terrain begin to change as we walked. Little by little it became hillier and there were a lot more rocks around.

What an array of plant life and rocks there was here!

At this point, the creek bed had huge slabs of rock across it. The slabs were worn smooth from the water running over them.

A rock shelf in the middle of a creek bed. This particular creek was a little low! I would imagine that has changed now since this area received around four to five inches of rain over the past few days. 

Another thing that was fascinating to the children  . . . a group of four large ants carrying away a caterpillar that they must have killed. 

At long last, we reached the trail head and enjoyed a little picnic together of boiled eggs, carrot sticks, chips, and chocolate chip cookies that I had made that morning. It was so relaxing, and a pleasant time to simply rest and visit. Once we were finished, we explored the beginning of another trail which had a large stone foundation alongside of it and also what appeared to be something like a root cellar (the latter I didn't get a photo of ) . . .

Climbing up to explore around the structure.


The stone foundation . . . I wonder what it used to be?

Some of the sides of the foundation were covered with these beautiful Columbines. It was amazing to see how they were growing in only the tiny crevices of the rocks. 

Some more of them

Oh, the wonderful memories of these hours spent together! For all of us, it was a time of rest and refreshment . . . a time to encourage and be encouraged . . . a time to laugh and relax . . . a time to enjoy the wonders and incredible variety and detail of God's creation . . . a time to be thankful for all that He has blessed us with, including dear friends to enjoy all of these things together with!

12 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post with lovely pictures. I find hiking to be one of the more peaceful and enjoyable of experiences. It helps us get in touch with the world around us...Mother Nature is truly spectacular. It's ironic - I recently posted about hiking on my blog. Have a wonderful Tuesday Sarah.

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  2. Hi Sarah and Leah, your hiking expedition is wonderful!! We love hiking also and I usually bring a backpack with waterbottles. We also wear skirts, but with leggings under so the ticks don't bite us. I see your mom out there, too!! Isn't God's Creation the most beautiful of all in this world. People can build fancy houses, but nothing compares to what God made for us to give Him joy! I have a funny video on knitting that I made yesterday to try to explain the German way to knit. Maybe you want to come by for a visit and take a peek. God bless you, Rose

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  3. Sarah, what a wonderful time you all had. I do think this time of year is one of the loveliest, with all the newness of trees and wildflowers.

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  4. What fun! This is one of my favorite things to do...walk through the woods on nature trails. :-) Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Anne♥

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  5. Lovely photos! The location looks beautiful. One of our children's favorite things to do is skip rocks, too! So glad you had such a nice time!

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  6. It appears you had a wonderful afternoon that day, Sarah! I especially like the pictures of the children exploring the creek and riverbeds. This is one of my favorite pastimes, and something I still enjoy when the opportunity presents itself.
    It appears like your area has been having gorgeous weather recently! I'm praying that it continues for another week or two, as the Mr. and I arrive in Kansas City next Friday.

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  7. Thank you, Optimistic Existentialist! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hiking is indeed a peaceful and enjoyable thing to do. We always enjoy it when we have the opportunity! That’s interesting that you just posted about hiking as well . . . spring is the perfect time for it, and I think a lot of people are having the pleasure of getting out and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation!

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  8. Thank you for your comment, Rose! It was a lot of fun . . . we had such a wonderful time! I would agree, God’s creation is so beautiful. Anything that man makes cannot even begin to compare with it as far as beauty, detail, functionality, and complexity go. I am so thankful for all that He created for us to enjoy!

    Thank you for mentioning about your knitting video. I’ll have to stop by and take a look at it. Knitting is one thing that I have yet to try to learn how to do!

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  9. It was wonderful, Elizabeth! And I would agree wholeheartedly with you . . . this is the loveliest time of year with all the newness of life all around. So much to see and enjoy!

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  10. It was, Mrs. Anne! Yet another thing we share in common. :) It is such a treat to be able to enjoy a walk through the woods. You’re welcome for sharing!

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  11. Thank you, Joy! Yes, this place is so beautiful. And the variety in terrain and plant life is amazing! I can imagine how much fun your children have skipping rocks. Some of my favorite childhood vacation memories are of doing the same thing with my Dad. :)

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  12. We did, Renee! Exploring creek and riverbeds is so fun, isn’t it?! It is one of my favorite things to do as well. There is something so fascinating and beautiful about the moving water and all of the creatures and plant life that inhabit in and around it. I hope you have nice weather for your trip to Kansas City, too! You’ll be not far from us then. :) Enjoy your visit to this beautiful state!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)