The weather was nice, Harper didn’t, have school, the entrance fee was waved and it’s my birthday so we went outside to Badlands National Park. We did a few small trails including a juniper forest and massive canyon but mostly we climbed and explored.
Went on a little hike today to the rock maze. It’s a super short walk from the car but provided tons of entertainment as the kids explored the “caves” forcing both Chad and I to squeeze through the tiniest crevices. Please excuse Willem’s mid 90’s “coming out of the grunge” style. Part of the boys terrible twos is wanting to pick out his own clothes so denim shorts, tye dye and cowboy boots it was.
Snack break was pathetic. As a mother to boys I know that snacks make the world go around and can prevent any meltdown. I should have been prepared with a pack full of food however I grabbed what we had, crackers and craisins. Apparently any food is good food because Harper was thrilled by it and kept thanking me for bringing a snack
Of course we stopped on the way home to fulfill the promise of throwing rocks in the water.
How gorgeous is this canyon? If we didn’t have small kiddos we would have hiked to the bottom.
For Chad’s birthday I bought him the northern plains map for his GPS because he had been talking about geocaching a lot lately. So on a whim this afternoon we went to find a few. Unfortunately the one we really wanted to find was on the bottom of this beautiful canyon and we could not figure out how to get down there. We still had a nice time getting out but now we have the goal of getting down to the water, finding the geocache and most importantly playing in those beautiful water pools!
We found other geocaches, hiked small mountains (while Willem slept in the car), took our Subaru on it’s first off road adventures and most importantly we all were out together.
This weekend we went to Elk Creek, only 20 minutes from our house. It was a perfect day and a perfect walk for Harper because there was water to play in and rocks to climb on. Chad had fun with bouldering, we spent a lot of the walk looking for rock climbing routs and wondering why there weren’t any bolts to be seen (I think because it was sandstone but still, couldn’t you put bolts deep enough to make sandstone safe?), there are some perfect cracks and climbs up there. Harper didn’t climb high but we did teach him about hand and foot holds and he practiced a little, he ended up settling for climbing the boulders on the ground which is still good for us.
The trail is 2.7 miles before a turnaround where it meets the centennial trail. We stopped about a mile short because Harper was tired and we were getting a little hungry. It wasn’t a hard or strenuous trail at all but we spent most of our time playing, climbing and talking with Harper so we had been out a while. Hiking with small kids isn’t as easy as walking but it is much more fun. When we first arrived at the trail head there was only one car and it wasn’t parked anywhere near us. When we got back we had a laugh at being surrounded by other subarus, guess we live slightly similar lifestyles.
Be honest, it’s pretty great out here isn’t it? Add milk 70 degree weather in mid October and we have nothing to complain about. The trail itself was very well maintained, people and dogs we saw were friendly, we didn’t see any garbage and it was never past the difficulty of a 3 year old so it is ranked pretty high on our list of favorites. If this is the last hike of the year I won’t complain (though it would be nice to get more hikes in, schedules and weather may not play along).
It has been an interesting summer. We’ve moved, fought illness, tried to settle into a new home and routine. In all of the stuff we’ve been stuck doing we haven’t had much time to get outside. Being outside is one of the things that makes Chad and I tick so when we get stuck doing things or even being outside separately we just don’t feel like we are living life how we truly want to. Therefor, even though Chad had been under the weather Friday, I was adamant about getting outside on Saturday. I’m pretty sure Harper hasn’t been for a hike since I was (very) pregnant with Willem and we were all missing out because Harper LOVED the “walk” so much that he actually never walked but instead ran the entire trail of Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon. The only time he stopped was to hide on the side of the trail in order to scare me.
Roughlock Falls is a little over an hour away from our house in Spearfish Canyon, a local attraction that is normally pretty popular this time of year for all the changing colors. The trail is fairly short and excellent for small children. Even around the falls and the water walk out there is railings that are 3 year old boy proof. The end is pretty to look at also.
After a quick lunch in the back of the Subi we headed over to my grandparents new place. Willem is getting better about not needing me, even went on a walk with Grandpa.
Then we went to the Spearfish pumpkin patch. The patch has some great activities for kids, a hay jump (stacks of hay piled high with old mattresses at the bottom for cushioning. This must be a midwest thing because I had never heard of it until we moved here), a corn sand box which is great for playing with tractors and dump trucks, and a little jungle gym made of old tires and ropes. Both boys had a blast. The pumpkins were not the best price or quality but they are actually grown right there and hay (haha), you pay for the experience of it all right?
When I asked Harper later what his favorite part of the day was, he said going for a walk. I guess that means we will be heading out somewhere new shortly, especially while we still have mild temps here.