One of our favorite things about where we currently live is that an 8-minute drive takes us to Prentice Cooper State Park where we have a network of trails (totaling 35 miles) at our disposal.
Back in October we attempted the hike to Mushroom Rock. But instead found ourselves wandering in the woods for a couple of hours, missing the turn that would have lead us to the giant shaped mushroom in the forest.
Yesterday, thanks to a better map, GPS coordinates and a new series of signs that someone has placed on the trail, we redeemed ourselves.
With 35 miles of trails, it is easy to make a wrong turn before finding your destination. I counted the intersection of 5 trails when we finally arrived at the well-known rock.
I think this is the longest hike that Jack has completed to date. At 2.6 miles round trip we can tell he is getting stronger and building endurance, while hopefully also learning to love the outdoors as much as we do. For now, Isaac continues to just be along for the ride.
I'm so glad we took the opportunity to spend time together, outside, as a family. Last weekend we enjoyed sledding at our neighborhood park, this weekend it was 60º and we had fun exploring the forest.
A couple of funny things Jack said while we hiked:
"It [the map] says there is mud ahead."
"I'm a good trail runner."
We saw quite a few people running on the trail while we were out and Jack was totally fascinated (his daddy is very proud).
He would vacillate between saying he was exhausted (and sitting down in the middle of the trail) and taking off running saying that he was a good trail runner or that the trail runner (him) was going to win the race back to the car.
At the very end of our hike, I was pretending to race him back to the car, and he took my hand and said that we could walk and finish together and both win. Then as soon as we were within 30 feet of the car, the little rascal took off at a dead sprint and beat me. He totally played me!
This was Isaac's first time riding in the Deuter Kid Comfort Carrier II and he did great, even taking a brief nap.
Trailhead: Shackleford Ridge to Mushroom Rock
Mileage: 1.3 miles each way
Time on the Trail (with kids): 1 hour 45 min
Max Speed: 3.6 mph (Jack may have gone faster since he jogged part of the time)
Looking forward to more days in the woods with our boys.