Today I decided to test my youngest two sons on how well they hike and how my body handled a hike with two toddlers and a preteen in tow. Honestly, I’ve been debating taking this trip for a couple of weeks for those reasons stated above, and when mentioning it to a friend they told me to just do it. And yesterday I was like “they’re right. You’ll never know until you try.” I spent some time looking up local hiking trails, and narrowed it down to three. We took the Bridal Veil Falls trail, as it is an easy one and close to home. Mind you, I haven’t been hiking in almost 6 years, so I definitely needed something that was Goddess friendly.
I drank my coffee this morning and packed the backpack for the trip. Diapers, wipes, water, lunch, snacks, sunscreen and a minor first aid kit. I also brought jackets, in case it rained again (and to use as “picnic blankets” should we need a dry spot to sit) and had everyone wear jeans, as I wasn’t sure what the toddler slipping and falling rate was going to be. Once we were packed and dressed, we headed out. Luckily we were the first ones there, so I got prime off-road parking. My oldest held my middle sons’ hand and I took charge of the youngest as he falls down on smooth surfaces on a fairly regular basis (totally my child). They all did well up to the trail down to the bridge. The dirt is very soft and slippery, and it’s a bit steep. I only had to act as a shield to the older two walking behind me once. Getting them up the incline on the other side took a bit more effort, but we managed. After that it’s pretty flat with rocky bits mixed in.
It rained on us twice, but between the 50 lb backpack and the youngest needing a bit more help than I anticipated, I enjoyed the cooling off. We made it to the halfway point when all of the boys decided they needed a break. This is when the oldest asked if we could trade walking partners and head back to the bridge for lunch. I agreed as I could see the tiredness creeping into their faces. The oldest and youngest did not make great hiking buddies. The youngest face planted a couple of times and the oldest kept walking too fast for the youngest to keep up. Finally the youngest sat down and refused to budge until I carried him. This was the test I was waiting for. Heavy backpack and a 30 pound child. Could I do it?
You know what? I did. And it didn’t stress me or tire me like I had worried it would. As a matter of fact, my pride in myself and my body helped me feel damn near invincible. I’ve not ever thought of myself in that way before. It was very nice to say the least. I probably would have updated my Facebook with the awesome I was feeling, but this place is no mans land and there is no cell signal to use.
We made it back to the bridge in due time, and I ended up using our jackets as dry seating since everything was wet from the rains. I let the boys relax, eat, look around, hydrate and soak up the nature. Once they started moving around in a more lively fashion, we packed up and headed back to the car. The last part of the trip back was the toughest as it was literally all uphill. The youngest couldn’t get up the steeper parts on his own, so I carried him until it became a more gentle incline. And then he promptly laid down on the ground. Total deadweight. I ended up carrying him the rest of the way back.
I buckled the little ones in their car seats, gave them graham crackers and more water, got the oldest more water and a banana, and guzzled my water. As I was loading the backpack into the back, an older couple showed up and asked me about the area hiking trails. I told them various ones that I still remember and love, and they were planning on trying 3 of the ones I suggested, and after that we talked story for a few minutes. Very nice couple. They were highly impressed that I had taken the three out on my own, and that everyone was so chill and happy. We laughed a bit and they headed down the trail that the boys and I had taken earlier. I closed all of the doors, jumped in the driver’s seat, adjusted the music, and the clouds opened up. It was heaven.
We were stuck there for another 10 minutes as we couldn’t even see the front of the car. The babies fell asleep to the sound of the driving rain, I gloried in the smell and cool air, the oldest just watched the water pouring down his window with a small smile on his face. The perfect ending to our adventure. I can hardly wait to take them out again here soon!
A perfect day for a hike.