Saturday, October 23, 2010

We Took a Hike

I really like Table Rock State Park.  Our family has been there a number of times, usually to hike, picnic, and play on the playground.  Since we've always done the hike when one of our kids was toddler-age, we've always stuck with the shorter, 1.8-mile loop, as opposed to going all the way to the top.  I like this trail because you begin by going up, which means it's mostly downhill on the way back.

After doing this hike this past spring, we talked about stretching it a little further the next time.  There is a picnic shelter almost 2 miles up the trail.  We thought it would be a great adventure to hike up there, eat lunch and then head back down.  Surely, a 4-mile hike would be a great accomplishment, right?

A couple of weeks ago, with the nice October weather, we decided to pack up and do this.  As we drove to the park, I remember seeing the view in the picture above, and telling Joanna, "It's hard to believe that you could hike up that far in one day."  It seems so far away, and so high up, but we talked about how neat it would be to do that when our kids got a little older.

We had a great hike up to the shelter, and ate lunch with a great view (see the right).  After a break, we decided to hike a little further up the trail, just to see if we could see some more views.  We hiked a little more, and a little more, and soon Joanna and I decided to see how far we could go.  After all, we had already hiked two hours, and the kids seemed to be enjoying it and doing fine.  Who knows when we would come this far again?

The kids had a blast on the trail.  Hannah kept pretending she was an "Indian guide."  Elijah loved being up ahead as the "scout," and Sender insisted he was "Spider-Man" as he climbed up all the rocks along the path.  Before we knew it, we had reached the summit, and then the end of the trail.

After spending some time on the rock -- ready to pounce and grab one of our kids should they get a little careless, and watching hawks fly and dive below us (what a weird feeling to be above those birds) -- we embarked on the trip back down. 

All in all, we walked and climbed 7.2 miles (in about 6 hours), far more than the originally-planned 4-mile hike.  Hannah talked all the way down the mountain, still pretending to be an Indian guide.  I kept having to tell Elijah to stop ahead, or else he would have beaten us all down by at least 30 minutes.  Sender alternated between being Spider-Man and an Indian guide named "Billy Bob" (not sure about that one).  Joanna was patiently playing pretend with Hannah (for hours mind you).  And I was just beaming with pride about my family.  We just had a great adventure, and we truly enjoyed it together (a couple we saw at the end of the trail commented how neat it was that we seemed to be enjoying each other so much).  The older kids were troopers on this trek, and I carried Sender for no more than 2 or 2.5 miles, so he (at just under 4 years old) climbed about 5 miles by himself.

Elijah summed it up best when he told us that it was great that "our family had a big accomplishment today."  Yes, we did.

Has your family had a big adventure or accomplishment in 2010?

--  Joey Espinosa

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