Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trip Report: Eleventh Anniversary Hike - Interpretive Trail Loop FHSP

Robin and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary back in April. We didn't get each other anything fancy or what-not, but what we did do, was all the better. Considering I had been out of work for over a month while Robin was recovering from back surgery, our finances were looking a bit thin and well we really couldn't afford to do much of anything. So with the lemons we had we made lemonade by spending the day with our girls, outside.

We decided that since it had been almost a month since Robin's surgery, and she hadn't set foot on a trail since late January, we would head to one of our favorite State Parks and give the mostly pain free feelings a test drive for Robin. We got everything ready including all of Bug's stuff (diapers, bottles, etc.) and loaded up in the vehicle and headed out for Frozen Head State Park to hike the Interpretive Loop Trail or as Kiddo has dubbed it, the Interpretive Dance Loop Trail. Teenagers can be so funny sometimes.

After arriving, we started gearing up, changing diapers, arranging bottles and all other things that a toddler will need for a little over one mile hike (which feels like everything except the kitchen sink), and getting it and her stuffed into our Osprey Poco Plus Kid Carrier. Total time lapsed from arrival to hitting the trail was somewhere in the ballpark of 30 minutes or so. Something we are still getting used to.

We were finally off and down the trail. I carried Bug in the carrier, while Robin and Kiddo happily hiked along behind us. Hiking with camera at the ready and in no pain at all, Robin was in pure bliss considering she wondered before the surgery if she'd ever get to hike pain free again.

Not even halfway into the hike, we reached the small cascade into the creek that follows alongside the backside of the interpretive loop. It was here, that Robin had realized that she had forgot to bring extra memory cards and she had now used up all the space in the one that was loaded in her camera. With such a dilemma, Robin opted to walk back to the car since it wasn't very far and she was enjoying the new freedom from pain. Kiddo, Bug, and myself hung out at the bench across from the creek from the cascade and enjoyed the scenery.

Robin finally made it back and onward we went. We eventually reached the end of the interpretive loop where it meets back with Old Mac Trail. We turned right to head up towards Judge Branch and after a tenth of a mile Robin was feeling the weakness in her leg due to not using it as much from all the pain pre-surgery. With that being the case we decided not to go any further up Judge Branch trail as it was a continual uphill and with the lack of strength, it hurt to go up. So back down to Old Mac and towards the parking area to round out our hike. We decided at this point to let Bug out of her carrier and start the basics of teaching her how to hike on a trail.

You have to take your time with little ones. They love to explore, but you also have to establish boundaries with them, yes the same ones over and over again and again. Sometimes you even have to bribe lead them down the trail with bananas well in our case that's what we had to do otherwise we would have spent a half hour or more sitting in the middle of the trail playing with rocks and dirt. Regardless, it was a ton of fun to watch her explore and get excited about all the little details that we grownups take for granted when we hike, a single leaf or 50 of them, a small pebble or 50 of them, and the list goes on and on.

We finally made it back to the parking area. Bug had hiked her first trail on her own two feet, or at least a third of it anyways. Afterwards, her and her sissy, took off to play on the playground in the picnic area at the trailhead. Robin got to take many photos of them, and I packed all the gear back into the car so that we could make our way back home. It was a great day and a great hike to celebrate our Anniversary.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin