Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hiking the AT #optoutside

Back in September we hiked a small portion of the Appalachian Trail. When I heard about the #optoutside movement for Black Friday, I decided we could head out and do another portion of the trail. I actually looked at several hikes in Shenandoah NP, but they looked a little hairier than I was willing to try with the kiddos and without Mr M (since he's still working crazy hours) and longer than I thought River was capable of just now.

In my googling around I found several parking spots that were right next to the AT, so in the end we went to one of those parking spots and headed out on the trail. It was an overcast day and as we drove along Skyline Drive we came across this view. I'm not sure if it was fog, or super low clouds, but it looked cool.

doesn't Ocean look excited?

As we walked along the trail we saw this little chipmunk peeking out of this rotten tree. We immediately stopped and quietly watched and waited. The chipmunk watched us for a bit, then retreated into the darkness. It came to the edge and watched us some more before retreating again. It repeated this several times before we left, leaving it to continue its business in peace.

River was walking right in front of me, pointing his walking stick out into the woods and making noises. After a minute it dawned on me (and I asked him to confirm this) that his walking stick was a lightsaber and he was shooting things in the woods. Never mind that lightsabers don't actually shoot things.... :)

I somehow ended up with my two trekking poles and River's walking stick, so I tucked them under my arm, pointing behind me. I could feel Ocean tugging on them, so I took this picture. He was helping me hold them :) too cute!

And here's how glamorous I look when hiking with Ocean on my back. I still need to carry my daypack, and it needs to be easily accessible, so I clip the chest strap through the straps of the Boba carrier. Not a super attractive look, but it works. I like using trekking poles to make sure I keep my balance, especially with Ocean on my back. I'd hate to fall and have him get hurt.

This was the first time Ocean carried a backpack on a hike, and he did really well. He had an extra pair of pants and shirt in case it got colder, his sandwich, and his water bottle. He thought he was so grown up! He now wears his backpack around the yard, going on adventures.

The kids don't usually wear backpacks when we go on our shorter hikes, but I think I'm going to have them start doing so. Sunshine also carried her lunch and water bottle, though I don't think she carried any extra layers.

We passed two women who were going on a longer hike (they had large packs with camping gear), though since they were heading north I'm pretty sure they weren't thru hikers. As we drove home, just a few miles from where we parked we saw a couple guys with big packs resting on a grassy spot. I'm guessing they were all taking advantage of the extra long holiday weekend to go hiking.

We had a nice little hike, but I think it would be more fun to not have to turn around and retrace our steps. Someday we'll go up with two vehicles and two drivers, which will allow us to park a car at either end of our planned hike.

As we drove home we saw this view. We may not have high jagged mountains out here, but what we do have is still beautiful.

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