Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Trippin' .... Day Two ...A Little Hike

We decided to take one more vacation day ....sooooo, we finished up the farm chores and chose Stone Mountain State Park as our destination.  The kids were all pumped... :)  They really enjoyed the hike on the Parkway and were ready for another one.  We arrived at the Park and after studying the map, decided we would hike the stated "4.5 mile strenuous loop"....that was not an exaggeration folks.  Stone Mtn rises 600 ft from its've gotta go up.  The hike up wasn't so bad...gradual incline with a nice wide path.  It was very well maintained.  We arrived at the summit and it was breathtaking.  Darren and I both expressed the desire to sit up there for a very long time and contemplate...but there wasn't a lot of contemplation to be had...with our four beautiful children walking around on a summit....that drops off abruptly into forest.  I nearly tossed my cookies every time one of them looked like they might trip and fall...and it goes without saying that Isaac could not move without my hawk eye pinning him in his tracks...I have a "slight" fear of heights....
That was only 1/4th of the loop..the easy 1/4th might I add. :)  From there, you wind around the side of the mountain and down...I mean fairly straight made steps and lots of them...there were steps and steps and more steps...some were more natural distract you from the gentle, and then violent, trembling that is sneaking up your legs...
We got to the lower parking lot (the halfway point), filled the water bottles and were off again.  The kids were slightly less pumped at this stage...still going, just less pumped.  This part of the hike was steps or very few ...  Isaac wanted to meander....every stump, log, and rock was a "seat".  He wanted to hit each tree with his "gun" (stick) ...and I like to take time to enjoy the walk as well as the next person...but...we were all getting a little tired and wondering what the rest of the trail would reveal.  Actually, inside we were trembling at the thoughts of hiking back up the mtn to the upper parking lot.  
We were able to stop by the old Hutchinson Homestead was so beautiful.  I think I could live like that.  The home was nestled at the base of the mountain...surrounded by trees...Stone Mtn was the backdrop...birds flying overhead...small stream at the bottom of the was in love.  Wonder if I could get internet reception there???  :) 

It was time to continue hiking...Isaac was getting tired ...well, past tired...Darren was gracious enough to carry him on his back.  I didn't realize I was married to a pack mule...I will share the significance of that with you as the story unfolds.   
We hiked and hiked till we reached the few steps that led down to the falls.  They were pretty...not spectacular, but pretty.  We turned around and Malachi's fatigue was fairly obvious when he said, "What??  Is that all we can down those steps for?  Now we just have to go back up"  Part of me was much in agreement with him.  But that wasn't the worst part...we trudged up those FEW steps to discover that we had many, many, many more steps ahead of us.  Those man made steps leading to the top?  ~ Well, they were designed to punish you for every wicked deed you've ever committed ...and I must be very, very wicked because I suffered greatly.  :)  There were many casualties along the little girl crying because she couldn't make it...a lady slumped over in defeat because the punishment was too great...I overhead a man exclaim that he "just wanted to be able to breathe" was scary stuff.  The kids did excellent...and the pack mule???  He carried Isaac up every step...God bless him.  I huffed beside Sarah and fear struck my heart when she uttered those horrendous words..."Mom, I wish I could be carried."  My heart clenched, my already labored breathing took on a more feeble beat, my palms sweated profusely...with as much of a calm demeanor as I could muster, I choked out..."It's okay sweetie...don't look at all the steps in front of you...just concentrate on the one you're on"...which is the mantra I had being screaming at myself since the billionth step.  Amazingly, we all made it to the top...and crawled to the vehicle.  Sweet, sweet vision of hated van became. :)  As we were coming out of the forest, we passed the gentleman who said he "just wanted to be able to breathe" checking out the trail signs with his family...apparently they had only hiked down to the falls and back up...he was debating "The Loop"!  I nearly jogged over to tell him not to try it...but my legs would not take me and besides what's a little hike??  Oh yeah...a little hike....
Anyway, we totally enjoyed our children turned out to be champion hikers...little soldiers who did not quit.  Sarah did do a face plant in the path once...she was so tired....and I carried her on my back for a while...then she carried me...just kidding.... :)
It was wonderful and I highly recommend the trip to anyone.  (Just make sure you wear your walking shoes)

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