May 4, 2012

Accidental adventure

This morning the Littles and I got ready for a short and simple hike with friends.  I am continually surprised at how complicated "short and simple" things are with little kids. We had to pack diapers and sippy cups and snacks and formula, not to mention Band-Aids and water.  It seemed miraculous that we were the first to arrive at the church--our meeting spot before joining the caravan down to Helen Hunt Falls.

I should have taken my dead van battery as an omen of things to come, but with Polly's help I jumped the battery (and didn't electrocute myself) and we were on our way. Because the kids had gotten out of their buckles while we sat for ten minutes in the parking lot, it took us some extra time to leave, and I lost sight of the vans that left before us.  I pulled up directions on my phone, confident that I could follow a map.  (You can probably tell where this is going.)

Well, I guess I had bad directions or missed a turn or something, because we ended up at Seven Falls instead of Helen Hunt Falls.  By the time I realized my error I had already paid the non-refundable park admission fee and the kids were incredibly antsy to get started.  So I texted my friends (who were patiently waiting for the tardy Bartles) and told them to go on without us; we'd hike at Seven Falls instead.

It felt like a brave (stupid?) choice to hike alone, but I was so frustrated with my car trouble and navigational failures and kid-sponsored delays that I rashly decided to do it anyway.  With Kate in a backpack and Gavin and Lexi holding each of my hands, we made our way to the trail head.  That's where we found out that the hike began with an ascent of 224 steep steps.  Oh boy.

But we did it!  Gavin and Lexi were troopers!  We rested half-way up and then completed the ascent.  I had promised the kids a hike, and they sure got one!

At the top of the waterfall, we opted to take the shorter of two available hiking routes. Gavin and Lexi wanted to stop for plenty of snack and water breaks, so the "20 minute loop" took us more than an hour.  But we had a lot of fun.  For a little while I felt like I did back when I had just two kids.  Zach and Tyler did so many fun things when they were little.  Gavin and Lexi got a taste of that life today.

They climbed on rocks, explored caves, examined moss and trees, and played in the dirt. Gavin said, "This is awesome!" over and over.  He wanted me to read every informational sign we passed.  Lexi was clearly having a lot of fun.  And from Kate's squeals and the "gagaga" I heard from behind, it seemed like she was enjoying herself as much as the rest of us.

When it was time to go back down those 224 stairs, I suddenly understood how high up the mountain we were.  I'm not afraid of heights, but I admit to freaking out a little {in my head} as we started going down.  Keeping Gavin and Lexi safe was my paramount concern, and it was a hard job!  They had no sense of peril whatsoever, and while I'm glad they weren't afraid, I wish they had been more cautious.  My legs were like Jell-O and my heart was racing by the time we made it to the ground--much more from nerves than from physical exertion.  But I was definitely exhausted!

We explored a couple of other attractions on the way back to our car, including a bird wingspan display; a long, dark tunnel; and an elevator that took us to the top of another mountain for breathtaking views.  That's where I took a picture of all those crazy steps we climbed.  {Enlarge that one for more detail!}

I think I'm going to put "hike Seven Falls" on my Colorado bucket list...just so I can cross it off.  I really can't believe we did it!  It was so fun to see some natural wonders right here in our city, and to have a successful (outdoor!) outing with the Littles.  It gave me some confidence.  But I also really need a nap.
Post a Comment

pass it on!

Bookmark and Share