This past weekend I wanted to go hiking. Not just any hike would do. Granted, there are plenty of hikes much closer, but I wanted to be on the Appalachian Trail. It's a slightly further haul for us - about a 50 minute drive - but on this day I decided a drive was worth the effort. So the boys and I put on lots of sunscreen, stocked up on granola bars and water, and set out for Catawba.
Cort is a little bit bow-legged, and I know from experience that he tires easily. So he got to do the first round in the backpack, while Pierce and Reid hiked.
We headed South on the trail.
Reid was quite a trooper. He stuck right with Pierce the whole time.
See the white blaze on the tree where Pierce is pointing to?
That's a sign you're on the Appalachian Trail.
And now, a rare spotting of camo-toddler.
Camo-toddlers blend in with their natural surroundings when on the trail.
Can you find him?
Pierce took this photo of me with Cort and Reid at an overlook.
Not bad photography for a 4 year old!
A few places were rocky and we had some spills, but my boys got right back up and hiking without delay each time.
And finally we found it. Toad House. I'd told the boys to keep an eye out. Actually, originally the sign said Toad House. Then a couple of years later it said "Home Sweet Home". This time when we found the hole it said "Mouse House".
Lucky little mouse has his very own campfire ring.
Is there really a mouse in there?!?
Me with Cort. Who started to get a little disgruntled at the halfway mark, because his brothers were having all the fun. So I relented and let him out, mistakenly hoping he'd be able to walk the whole way back.
Reid decided to help keep Cort on track by holding hands with him and showing him how it's done.
Alas, Cort kept getting distracted. Playing in the dirt, trying to pull up poison ivy, and climbing trees.
Back at Toad/Mouse House again. This was when I decided Cort had to go back in the pack.
He'd moved a total of about 100 feet in 15 minutes.
He was pretty mad, but maybe next time he'll do a little better with walking instead of sitting in the dirt.
Overall, we had a great time, and got in about 90 minutes of hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
We didn't cover much distance, but we sure did appreciate the outdoors!