Blevins gap nature preserve

After J did well hiking the Keel Mountain Preserve, we decided to test out the Blevins Gap Nature Preserve. This trail has a significant amount of elevation, and is about two hours round trip. It is quite shaded, which was nice, and has a spectacular view of our city at the top.

The beginning of the trail is sunny and open…

But a few minutes in…

You can see a difference! Much shadier. After awhile on a straight path, we started heading up the incline:

And found a cave along the way:

And after awhile we finally reached the top:

Gorgeous view at the top of the rock!

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Stone cut trail on Monte Sano

As I previewed on Friday, B and I hiked a pretty significant trail this past Friday. Close to 3.5 miles, with climbing and caves, in fog and sporadic rain, and some awesome views the stone cut trail is no joke.

We climbed through spider webs…

Sloshed through mud…

Entered caves…


We found a little snail:

And some fallen trees that looked like they were still falling…

And enjoyed a foggy, but peaceful landscape at the end:

Well, I thought this was the end. Forty minutes later we were actually back to the truck. Ha!

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Friday Favorites

B and I took a long hike Friday morning, our first since the boys headed¬†back to school. I have more pictures to share, but this one that B took of me is one of my favorites. Isn’t it nice to stop and breathe for a minute? God is great, y’all. You just have to stop sometimes and pay attention.

This picture of Echo Park reminds me of driving through California.

Indian butter chicken sounds so warm and inviting, like the last days of summer.

Lipstick primer I need pronto for work.

Creating a gratitude journal.

Tundra in our study? I’m headed to find a paint sample.

Seeing the biggest dinosaur ever is on my family bucket list for the boys.

And when we head to New York to see the biggest dinosaur, we’re going to 375 Fries for dinner.

Four Ted Talks to share with my students about moving out of ideological comfort zones.

On taking your kids on trips even if they don’t jump and down with gratitude.

And finally, advice for high school success. Saving this, I’ll need it in about six years!

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Navigating the bike trail

Same creek, same trail, what’s new?

All the boys biked the trail!

I ran behind so that I could stop with J when he paused to look at sticks, butterflies, and bunnies:

We only went as far as the creek because that’s about J’s limit (plus it was fairly hot even though there was shade):

The boys did great! And after we had lunch and immediately headed to the pool to cool off:


Hurray for summer!

 

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Trails & trails

Before the weather gets too hot and we have to do any hiking really early in the day we headed out on two different hiking excursions this past week.

First up, the boys and I started venturing through our closest trail, The Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary :

This particular trail is a flat elevation for the part we walked:

And once you get past the beginning of the trail it is shaded:

It also has a shaded bench area at the start to bird and animal watch:

It was a good thing the weather was nice and a little breezy because we were still hot and sweaty by the time we returned home:

Then the next day my Aunt and Uncle were in town, so our whole family headed out to hike one of our favorite trails at Hayes Nature Preserve:

I think we’ve only hiked this trail in the winter, so it was definitely different to see it all in the late Spring:

We found a cool little cave:

However, I think the kids’ favorite part were the rocks to climb at the end:

And a fuzzy caterpillar to inspect was also the talk of the morning:

We had a great time adventuring through the forest!

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Hiking gear musts

Whenever we go hiking we have some must haves to bring and wear. First up what I wear:

Light weight tank & leggings, hat, sunglasses, and quality shoes that I don’t mind getting dirty. You honestly don’t catch B and I outside without sunglasses on. It’s not because it’s sunny all the time (which it is a lot here), but it’s because it prevents allergens from getting in our eyes. Seriously. I don’t know if you’ve been to the south, but allergies here are no joke. I keep trying to convince the boys to wear sunnies by buying them new ones constantly. It hasn’t worked great, as you can see above. Hats are also a must to prevent ticks from getting in your hair (insert wide eyed scary face here).

The boys wear athletic gear (our favorites are under armour and champion) and lightweight shoes that are washable.

Our must haves to carry (besides lots of trail mix!) are:

All of these are on the Cub Scout list if hiking essentials. We’ve convinced A that we have a map and compass on our phone, so we don’t need to bring those as well, however we also carry a battery pack charger for our phones. And if you need extra help you could always read our go to guide:

Just kidding! However, this is one that’s great for our area:

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Keel mountain preserve

On a whim after church on Sunday we headed out to hike a new trail. This was the most challenging trail we’ve attempted with both boys. It was a mile out and a mile back, but a good part of it is steep inclines and we were climbing to hit the higher elevations. In the past the boys would have wanted to turn around part way, but they were determined to see the waterfall at the end, so we hiked almost nonstop until we reached the waterfall.

As you can see here the trail is pretty heavily wooded, and at points the trail is quite narrow. Howeve, the canopy makes this great for hiking when it is warm because it keeps most of the trail quite cool:

B led the trail with J and A and I followed behind. I pray that this boy always shares as much as he does now with me. He talked for the entire two hours that we walked. I have the low down on all the happenings in second grade now.

The pictures don’t really go the waterfall justice, but it was awesome! Definitely a sight to see.

And here is A’s collage collection of cool things we found on the trail:

And some more pictures of the outstanding waterfall:

It was well worth our Sunday afternoon!

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Two mile hike

Hiking HuntsvilleIn the past we have hiked part of this loop, but several weeks ago we decided the boys were old enough to complete the whole two miles. Here is a little bit of our adventures on the hike!

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Trail adventurer

On Saturday, B and the boys headed out for a trail walk, but A ended up getting sick and they had to turn around. J was BEYOND disappointed, so B took him out for a special trail walk the next day. I couldn’t get over the outfit he picked out…the binoculars took the cake. Trail Adventures Trail Adventures Trail Adventures Trail Adventures Trail Adventures Trail AdventuresThey were gone for almost two hours and apparently J didn’t want to leave even then! This boy loves the outdoors!

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A lake of chocolate…

J has been asking for several weeks to go to the trail, and this past Friday while A was at school, despite both B and I having caught J’s cold, we headed out to his beloved trail. The things you do for your kids, I tell ya.

Lake of ChocolateJ trots at a slow pace, unless B gets too far ahead and then he runs ahead yelling “wait for me! wait for me!” This always reminds me of me trying to keep up with my Dad when I was little. One day they are all going to walk too fast for me, I’m sure.

IMG_3869When we reached J’s favorite stopping point, the stream/mini river, we were surprised to find it not only high, but completely mud filled. As many times as we have stopped here, it amazes me that it is different every time. We have seen it completely washed out, to the point we couldn’t walk up to the edge, and completely dried up where we could walk out towards the middle to gather rocks. We have seen it completely clear so we could see the bottom. However, we have never seen it look like the lake from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.¬† Chocolate LakeThe mud was caked up high on the landing and hardened from the sun. J found this infinitely interesting, inspiring him to stomp on the dry mud and compare it to the wetter mud near the rocks. Which made for some messy shoes, but since it was for the sake of scientific discovery I let him test to his heart’s delight. As we bid the muddy lake good-bye, J ceremoniously tossed all of the sticks he had collected on our walk, and trudged back to the car, excited about the trip and excited about the Gatorade waiting for him at home.

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