Thursday, September 5, 2013

A-Hiking We Will Go!

Our brief venture up into the mountains of West Virginia on Saturday got me in the mood for a hike, so when I found out that Ken was off on Monday for Labor Day, we decided to make a family day of it.  We considered a couple of different locations, but since I didn't feel like making concrete plans and Ken hadn't been about to scout anything out recently, we decided to go up to the Shenandoah National Park.

As is usually the case, we got started a bit later than we wanted.  In the van on the way there we talked about the rules of hiking ("Take only pictures; leave only footprints.") and discussed the things we might see.  Frances' immediate answer was "SCAT!"  but I will take responsibility for her obsession.  She also wanted to see deer. Henry wanted to see a fox and a bear, and Benjamin guessed that we might see a squirrel and a lemur.

It was a beautiful drive up the mountain and we arrived around 11.  We had bathroom breaks and checked out the visitor's center and map.  Then I gave the kids a quick snack and we set out on the "Story of the Forest" nature trail.

 We saw a deer less than 50 steps into the forest!  Of course, Ken was the first to see it, but since these deer are used to people, we didn't startle it and we got to watch it eat and walk around for a little bit.  Can you see it in this picture?  Yeah, neither can I! But it's there!
 We kept walking and got the chance to cross a couple of dry creek beds and bridges.  The kids were fascinated with all the different things they could see.  They weren't very quiet, so I am actually surprised that we saw two or three more deer while we were out.
 We also saw this huge snail crawling up the side of a rock!
 And Henry found a four-leaf clover!
 I wore the kids' water bottles on a strap around my neck, so this is my view of the watering station. 

 Henry saw this tree and insisted that I take a picture of it. He says it looks like an elephant!
 I wore the kid-backpack for this hike, but amazingly managed to keep the boys out of it for most of the hike.  It wasn't until Benjamin fell and scraped his knees that he wanted to be carried.  And of course if Ben gets to be carried, Henry has to be as well. 

The kids started whining about 5 minutes from the end of the trail, so I'll call that good timing.  We decided to go back on the sidewalk instead of through the woods because of that.  We got back to the van close to 12:30 and had lunch at some of the picnic tables set out.

Ultimately, we saw squirrels, deer and scat, but no bear, foxes or lemurs (shocking, I know!). We all had a great time and were pretty worn out, although I think I was the only one to nap on the drive home.  We ended the day with Ken's BBQ chicken on the grill and my potato salad. 

It's a rare occurrence for us to all have a day together as a family, so I am very pleased with how this one turned out.  And since we bought a yearly pass to the Park, we are hoping to go back again and again as the seasons change!


  1. How fun! Love the scat, the deer sighting, and am totally jealous that your kids didn't whine until a mere 5 minutes from the end. :)

  2. Wow, sounds like a great hike!

    1. We had so much fun! And I’m excited to go back again throughout the year!

  3. What fun! How great that you got to see a deer so soon into your hike! :)

  4. No lemurs?? I'm shocked! I think the stick looks more like a dinosaur than an elephant but maybe it's whatever we want it to be, right?

    1. I know, right?! I can't believe we didn't see any lemurs!! Thankfully Benjamin wasn't disappointed at all.

  5. Hi Rabia!
    Looks like you had a great time! I love hiking and it's so fun to take the kids too because of all of the health benefits and family time.
    Thanks for a great post.
    check out my Take a Hike post for the benefits of hiking it'll make you want to go again. :)

  6. Hats off to you for carrying the water bottles and backpack. My neck and shoulders would have been killing me.

    You're very lucky to live within driving distance of such a great park.

    Looks like a fun time was had by all.

  7. You are brave to hike with your kids. Mine ALWAYS poop out halfway through, and insist on being carried.


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