This morning we set off on an adventure in an effort to get out and explore the areas around our town. Spencer told me earlier this week that we needed to start hiking with the kids and going to parks, which we did all.the.time in Atlanta but have yet to do anything here in Columbia. Spencer and I were in Nashville yesterday and on our way home we met up with a girl that was selling her baby backpack on Craigslist in Franklin so we picked that up and were set for the hike with Little P!
We left the house relatively early this morning and arrived at Cheeks Bend 20 minutes later….literally, right by our house. We had packed a picnic lunch but wanted to get the hiking in before we got settled so off we went! Pierson started off on Spencer’s back but I had to man up pretty quickly and carry her 90% of the time because Spencer’s shoulder was too sore to carry her from our tennis lesson Thursday night, poor thing. :) I appreciated the extra exercise anyway from carrying Pierson’s 25-pound self so it was fine. We got really deep into the woods and it was absolutely beautiful. The weather couldn’t have been better and we never got hot because it was cool in the woods and breezy. Spencer mapped out our hike the day before so he sort of knew where to go and what exactly waited for us when we got to the end of our 1-mile hike into the park. I know 1 mile in doesn’t sound like much but when you are wearing Pierson and have a 4-year-old that wears out easily you have to realize that was a lot for us AND we had to hike it out! We were right along the Duck River and were up high in the hills so the views were spectacular on the many bluffs we were on. The kids l-o-v-e-d it and were thrilled to have gotten to see a very strange centipede, a box turtle that was sitting right in the middle of the trail, a snake, beautiful flowers, cacti, very cool rocks/boulders and a big snake! Nature outdid herself today!
The grand finale was an awesome cave at the end! Spencer packed our head flashlights so I knew we were probably going to go in one but the kids were totally surprised. Of course the first thing Rane asked, was “Are there bears in it?” One of his all time favorite books is “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” so all caves and forests have bears in them! The kid is always afraid of bears, even in our backyard! We had to carry Pierson through it because I had to crawl at one point and her in the backpack wasn’t happening. She was afraid but as long as Spencer held her she was cool with it. The kids thought the cave was the coolest thing ever and I couldn’t contain my excitement either! It was so fun! We stayed in it for a bit (it was short) and came out the other end to see beautiful views of the hills and the Duck River. Amazing! We had to go back through the cave to get back on the trail and head back to the car which was fine with all of us. The hike back was easier but not as engaging. Rane was toast about 1/2 mile from the car and wanted to be carried. I tried distracting him with talk of lunch, popsicles when we got home and having his best friend from school, Betty, over this week but he wouldn’t have it. I carried him out. He did so good, though; that was a lot to keep up with our speed walking! Ella-Ann can hang with the best as far as hiking goes, she never complained and loved being in her element…..with all the bugs, spiders, rodents, animals and plants!
Once we got back to the car we threw out some towels and laid out lunch. It was a blast! The best part was knowing we were so close to home and didn’t have to spend the night in a tent to do something outdoorsy like that! Ha!