Wednesday, January 04, 2017

First Hike of the New Year: Old Stone Fort

The first day of 2017 dawned cold and rainy. Not exactly a great day to be outdoors.

According to the forecast, January 2nd had the potential for sunshine (or at least no rain) and warmer temps, but we already had lunch plans with some of Daniel's family at his Grandmother's house in Manchester, TN.

On a whim, I googled "Manchester Trails" to see if there was anywhere we might be able to take the boys... I probably should have just asked Daniel!

Anyway, I discovered that Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, also known as Old Stone Fort, had a dam, and a 3-mile loop that included waterfalls.

So I mentioned to Daniel that I thought we should consider leaving our house early enough in the morning to go roam around this park before lunch with family.

He asked what I had in mind, and then surprised me by saying that he grew up camping at Old Stone Fort! I don't know why we have never visited there.

We arrived in Manchester in time to spend about an hour in the park. With two little kids, this time frame was perfect – they could run around and burn off some energy and not get too exhausted prior to our family visit.

Before heading down the trail, we checked out the exterior of the fort (it is now a museum that was closed for the holiday). It was built by Native Americans between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago and you can read about it on the park's website if you are interested in that sort of thing.

From the roof of the fort, we were able to see the dam and take a quick family photo before heading down the trail. Daniel hung back with Isaac while Jack and I went ahead exploring the trail.

There were many side trails that periodically broke off from the main trail and meandered down to the river with views of the waterfalls that naturally occurred below the dam.

Isaac is insisting on walking more on his own these days. Which is great, but can also make our hikes incredibly slow. Thankfully Jack likes to explore and doesn't mind the slowness.

Toward the end, I put Isaac in our kid carrier (he just wanted to be held and he is heavy!). He was not happy about being strapped down. Sorry kid – it won't be long until you can handle longer walks on your own!

We probably went about half a mile before calling it a morning. After we were back in the car (with snacks to bribe the boys), we drove around the campground and Jack informed us that camper camping would be a lot of fun.

Little does know, we are kicking around the idea of at least renting a camper to see what we think about it. Time will tell what we decide.

It was a lovely way to spend our morning and our first hike of the new year. You can't beat a good waterfall and with the recent rain, the water is definitely flowing.

I have a feeling that our next outdoor excursion might involve snow, if we're lucky!

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