On Sunday, we experienced our first 2012 family hiking trip.
We woke early, got ready for church,
sliding through the side doors just in the nick of time (as always),
then out to lunch, back home to grab a change of clothes
and to fill a cooler full of cold water and snacks.
Honestly, I was thinking more about lying down in my big, king sized, comfy,
pillow drenched bed and napping... but I'm glad I chose otherwise.
This was a very special hiking adventure for us.
We had hiked this same trail about two years prior to this time
with all three of the girls.
As we walked, Ben and I were reminded of our first time there.
Our youngest daughter was barely two years old.
We carried her much of the way up the mountain,
taking turns upon which shoulders she would ride.
On this trip, she would walk the entire trail without being carried.
She was very inclined to do it on her own, as were all the girls.
They are all so independent already.
They were told as a reward for finishing the hike without any whining
that we would allow them to play in the water at the end of our journey.
There was not a single complaint from the children.
They eagerly walked up that mountain and we never heard, not one excuse or murmur.
And they joyfully GOT their reward!
I'm sure if you asked them, they would say it was worth it!
I love this girl!
Some daddy help!
Oh my... definitely the favorite location of the day for these girls!
Along the trail.
We had Hannah read the signs and lead the way.
She will be a great leader some day.
A millipede we saw along the way... Amazing little red legs.
The above photo is a Ring necked Snake or Ring Snake.
Can you see him? He was pretty tiny.
These are nonvenomous and usually stay small, rarely growing larger than a foot in length.
These little snakes eat insects, earthworms, red back salamanders and sometimes fish.
They are usually dark in color with a yellow, green, or gold ring around the neck.
We saw this one just at the start of the trail, right beside the falls.
Maybe he was looking for some dinner...
Along the trail...
Something must have been interesting... I think it was dirt.
We took our time and allowed them to discover...
A rare shot of me with the girls. They were getting tired as we neared the end of the trail.
Someone left little messages scattered everywhere.
On the rocks and the trees,...
this one was my favorite.