Take a hike

The weather here has been far to warm for our annual ski trip.  Since driving to Canada was out of the question, we had to find other opportunities for exhausting our children.  With yesterdays temperatures hanging in the 60's we headed out for a winter hike.  Armed with water bottles, snacks, and every possible electronic gadget known to man, we loaded into the Camery and set off for the higher elevations.

The kids love to hike. They love to be outside.  They love discover nature.  Most of all they love to joke, tease and harass one another.  Yesterday proved to be no exception to this rule.  The good news is that no one cried and no one ended up in the urgent care.  There was some bloodshed but that is to be expected, and was minimal.

We took off to Crowders Mountain State Park, which is on the border of NC and SC about 30 min from Charlotte. Let me say yesterday, it was more like Crowded mountain.  It soon became apparent that everyone in the metropolitan area had the same idea. It was packed.

After a quick stop at the visitors center, we took off towards the trails.  While Emma suggested that we start off slow with an easy or moderate trail, the boys would have none of that.  They declared that the strenuous trails were the only trails that were worth their time. After a short protest, which included a little whining, a few foot stomps and amazingly no tears, Emma relented and we were off to the Backside trail.

The trial is only .9 mile one way, but it climbs nearly 1100 feet in that distance.  Needless to say there were steep inclines and a lot of man-made steps.  Mark was not at all pleased to find actual steps.  In his mind strenuous means backwoods, no trail and definitely no steps. Trust me when I say, it may have not been strenuous for a near 15 y.o. who plays soccer year round, and works out 5 days a week, but for the rest of us strenuous was a good definition.

After climbing 343 steps, my thighs were doing a good bit of complaining.  Oh, but it was totally worth the climb.  The views were beautiful.  Emma and I rested on the large rocky cliff top while the boys explored the top.  After 20 minutes at the top, the boys were getting dangerously close to falling to their death or at the very least loosing a limb. We started our decent. (I am convinced that teenage boys loose all access to their brains at age 12.) Apparently I really do need to say things like, "No you cannot hang yourself out over the edge even if your brother says you wont fall" and "No, you cannot try rock climbing without a rope."

Our decent took less than 15 minutes, mostly because everyone decided to run down the mountain.  Knowing my limits, I chose to walk.  I arrived at the bottom just in time to watch the end of a game called "let's pelt dad with acorns."  Not a good choice for games if you are dad and a really, really bad idea if you are the one throwing the acorns.  (did I mention my brain theory?)
Although the hike did little to wear out the kids, it was wonderful to get outside.  After a week of baking, eating, cooking, sitting and eating some more, we totally needed it!
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