Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Kickoff 2017: Mushroom Rock

About a week ago I started eying the weather forecast, hopeful that we would be able to do some big adventure to kickoff the start of summer this holiday weekend.

I initially thought we might be able to go camping, but then an old friend asked if we wanted to go on the Lost Sea Adventure with his family on Sunday. We really wanted to see our old friend, so I nixed my camping idea.

It wasn't too hard to drop the idea... camping with littles can still be a bit daunting.

Even though we couldn't go camping, I had high hopes of spending Saturday on the Cherohala Skyway with stops for several short, kid-friendly hikes (reminiscent of a trip we did about this time last year). But the closer we got to the weekend, the higher likelihood it seemed that it would rain.

The weather and children are two things that do not really care about your plans.

Saturday morning started overcast and our weather app was suggesting thunderstorms that afternoon. We had a long breakfast and convinced ourselves that we should stay in town, playing at the park with friends and then doing a local hike.

We knew there was a good chance there would be no rain since we had committed to staying home...

After a quick lunch, we loaded the boys up to drive to Prentice Cooper State Forest and one of our favorite trails. Jack is a big fan of going to Mushroom Rock. I'm pretty sure this is due to the fact that we always run into trail runners and he is in love with the idea of running in the woods (and the fact that we often see teenage boys running shirtless – I think one of Jack's life goals is to run shirtless).

Anyway, this particular hike felt easier. It is only about 2 miles round trip and Jack pretty much ran the entire way. Isaac walked a good portion himself and we didn't have to coax the kids to keep moving (when Isaac gets tired, we just stick him in a backpack).

The only thing we had to bug both kids about was staying out of huge mud puddles. Our boys love to get muddy, but they both had on tennis shoes and we didn't want to deal with them complaining about squishy feet or getting blisters. Isaac shed a few tears about not being able to wade in the mud puddles and Jack managed to stick one foot in the mud that resulted in a hot spot at the end of the hike.

But overall our hike to the rock formation went relatively smoothly and quickly. When we arrived we took a break for snacks, water, and a little climbing.

As we sat there, the wind suddenly shifted, the air got cooler, and we thought the long-awaited storms were on their way.

So we decided to get moving.

Problem #1: We left Jack's beloved stick at Mushroom Rock. Tears ensued and we insisted that he could find a new stick, and that we needed to keep moving because we didn't want to get caught in a storm. It didn't actually rain, and Jack was upset for part of the hike back but refused to pick out a new stick.

Problem #2: It was Isaac's nap time and he didn't want to walk, but he also didn't want to ride in our backpack carrier. It was my turn to carry him, so I sang the Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts song on repeat, which settled him down for a bit until he fell asleep. When it comes to kids, you do what you gotta do. #amiright?

Overall it was a good hike. It didn't rain. It wasn't too hot. Endurance is definitely improving in both of our kids. If we had hiked before lunch instead of after, it would have been a better experience for Isaac. It wasn't the same as hiking on an open bald on the Cherohala Skyway, but it wasn't a bad way to kick off our long weekend doing something together as a family.

Previous Mushroom Rock Hikes: January 2016March 2016

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