Green Gorge on Signal Mountain
My word for the year is Embrace and I am working to embrace this period of my life, as well as the things that make me me. Right after Christmas we took our kids camping in Gatlinburg (camping equals embracing being us, Gatlinburg crowds is borderline us). Anyway, Dollywood was offering free season passes to pre-k kids for this year. I thought that might be fun. Can I just say going to Dollywood was a complete bust, as far as our family was concerned, and definitely NOT embracing who we are. We hope to go back later this year and redeem our experience, but I'm also letting myself be okay with not always loving what everyone else loves.
Middle Creek on Signal Mountain
New Year's Day Hike with friends, Middle Creek on Signal Mountain
Then instead of doing a one-on-one hike with Jack, I waited for a time I could let Isaac tag along. We visited one of our favorite haunts: Green Gorge (which is practically in our back yard) and I knew we had to keep it up. Nature does something to us. It calms us. It brings peace. It prompts wonder and curiosity. We need a healthy dose of it at least once a week.
Green Gorge on Signal Mountain
Greenway Farms in Hixson, TN
Then we came to a huge swampy area. Instead of turning around, the kids figured out how to navigate past it (I think everyone made it across mostly dry).
Everyone was in good spirits so I suggested we walk up and over the quarry to the bottom. I thought the kids would want to throw rocks and sticks in the water. It was a cold day but we had all warmed up for the hike. It turned out the kids were more interested in climbing the cliffs and taking an alternate (more dangerous) route back to the car. We completed almost four miles and everyone was so excited about their accomplishments.
Blood Mountain, North Georgia Mountains
The following weekend, Daniel and I snuck away for a quick trip, just the two of us, to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Choosing to do the things we know we love, including driving down a rutted out dirt road in the dark on our way to dinner. We embraced the fact that we felt better being within two hours of home for our FIRST WEEKEND away from our kids (EVER!). We rented a beautiful cabin in the mountains and ended up doing an almost 5-mile hike to the top of Blood Mountain. Temps dropped from 38 to 29 while we hiked. But it was perfect. It felt like getting back to the us, before we had kids.
Glen Falls on side of Lookout Mountain
For our third weekly hike, I had our friends meet us at the Glen Falls Trailhead on the side of Lookout Mountain.
It was cold and there were icicles hanging in the creek, but the kids had such a good time exploring the creek, pushing their limits, putting up with the moms telling them not to fall in the icy waters!
Snoopers Rock in Prentice Cooper on Suck Mountain
Mamas were pushed up against their comfort zones as we were on an exposed rock with big drops down into the river gorge. After some quick pictures, we headed back into the woods where the kids delighted in finding creeks to rock hop across and small waterfalls to climb up. It is the end of January, but with temps in the 50s it was a perfect day to explore like this.
We are looking forward to more hikes with various friends in the weeks and months to come. I joked with my boys that we could go somewhere new every week for the rest of the semester and never hit the same trail twice. I'm pretty sure that could be done. We will probably circle back to some favorites. I am just thankful to be back on the trail, with my boys, and I am loving that our friends are wanting to join us every week.