The next installment in this great series by a Park Visitor. This trip is to Sky Meadows State Park.
Each park adventure has had a theme in a sense. So on the way home, I kept trying to figure out what today's theme was. I thought about the civil war re-enactor's camp, the historic buildings, missing all the presents the cows left behind, the beautiful view from the observation point, or the monstrous hill to get there. Maybe the theme is simply there was too much to chose from.
We were happily surprised when we pulled into the park to discover that there was an event. My husband and I have been discussing that we really need to plan to hit a couple of these parks when something was going on. We pulled in and I asked the kids "do you want to go see a bunch of grown men dressed up as soldiers, playing at war?" No offense to the re-enactors, but in my defense how would you describe it to a 2, 4, and 6 year old? By the way, my husband groaned and complained about my description as well.
Well I was hoping for full battle re-enactment, but it was just the camp set-up. That did not spoil my kids' fun though. They were entranced looking at the rifles and clothes. The two young girls playing with the older toys were interesting. I would like to see if today's kids who are obsessed with video games would have the hand-eye coordination to achieve these games. I am not sure most adults could.
After keeping my kids out of the fire and not touching the guns, we headed off to look for the geocache. After a quick search we found it. Finally taking our pictures and heading back to the visitor center to decide which trail to hike we noticed a couple walking toward us with the same "head down staring at a gps look" we just had.
"Looking for the cache?" My husband asked. "How do you know?" The gentleman asked. "Our gps is in my pocket." I said. We laughed and compared stories. They have well over 1000 finds and we just hit double digits, but it was entertaining to see that we can now start to notice other geocachers when before we would have missed them. As always the older two fought over who found the cache. Dad smiles because actually he found it.
Soon we are hiking up Piedmont overlook trail.
I have found that 2.5 miles is the limit for my kids on a relatively flat terrain, add a monster hill and mom's limit is about 0.5 miles. I know now I need to work out more and stay away from chocolate. 🙂 (Note I just wrote this after a delicious fudge brownie with icing.) The funny thing was that the child who usually starts to complain first was the one who continued up the hill with daddy, after the youngest and oldest decided the bench about half way up the hill was a good place to stop (mom was not complaining about that decision).
While sitting there we met some other brave souls hiking to top of the hill. Some were amazed the 2 year old walked up the hill, others were amazed they themselves were going to continued on up. But the view was great and the kids assured me they could see our house from there. (That would have been impressive, because we live on the other side of the mountain.)
On our way out, I could not help myself when I saw our favorite endangered species, "The Pay Phone" in a shed with a display of all the antique farm equipment. You can imagine the comments from mommy and daddy that our kids did not understand.
The park also had a fishing pond, camping, horse trails, and many hiking trails. The kiosk was broken, so I asked a park ranger about the trail blazer password and he knew it and even spelled it out for me. For a cloudy day, I wondered if the pictures would be worth it.
But the foggy look of the mountains, the re-enactors and the overall friendliness of the people made it a wonderful trip.
DADDY's Note: After we returned from Sky Meadows our middle child was still bouncing off walls so we decided to backtrack to a couple of geocaches we had forgotten at closer parks. Mommy was nice enough to look up the coordinates and off we went while the others napped for some father-daughter time. The first was right off the parking lot on a beautiful overlook. My little girl was so peppy she sang the whole way there "I'm not whining" her own creation which she made up as she went.
The second one I think was my wife's revenge for leaving her home with the others. She forgot to mention the medium trail difficulty and 2 mile length. Suddenly my peppy little one was pepped out, groaning "please no more steps" but she pulled through and was so proud of finding the cache that daddy "missed" between his feet.
All in all a great day to be a family.