About a month ago, just as the Frozen Tundra was beginning to feel whispers of the Big Thaw, our little darlings were given a week off of school for spring break. For a stay-at-home mother-of-five with a work-from-home husband, this means donning the title of Children's Entertainment Coordinator. Meaning the more time I can spend away from the house with the crazies the better.
One such afternoon, I decided it would be fun to take the kids hiking at the falls. Thankfully I was able to leave Elliot home napping because I'm pretty sure that had he come with he would not have lived to tell about it. Or maybe I would have been the one who wouldn't have lived to tell about it as I'm fairly certain I would have had 598 heart attacks instead of the mere 19 I actually had.
Not bringing Elliot meant we had two extra spots in our van, so Brenna and Maya each brought a friend along. I strapped Wyatt on my back and we started off on our adventure.
After stopping to do a bit of posing that is. You'll notice that the majority of the pictures are of these two cuties. This is mainly because they were the only two in the group who actually wanted to slow down long enough for me to photograph them.
I believe it was a balmy 40-some degrees on this sunny spring day. Almost warm enough for shorts and flip flops. Almost.
There are not a lot of trail options at this park. Or at least not a lot that I'm aware of. The trail we took involved a long set of stairs that was separated from a steep drop off by a rickety old rail. This would also be the scene of heart attack number one.
On the other side of the stairs is a cliff with a few interesting little hidey-holes. The kids thought it was great fun to climb inside of the holes. Being rather claustrophobic myself, I saw them climbing into the holes on purpose and promptly had a panic attack. On the inside. Because if you've ever been responsible for kids you know that no good comes from them knowing that you just threw up a little in your mouth.
I also didn't tell them that there were probably all kinds of icky creepy crawlies that made their homes in those little holes who would love nothing more than to hitch a ride out into the Vast Unknown in their hair.
After coming down one long set of stairs, we crossed a little wooden bridge and began making our way up another set. This is the part where I thought somebody was going to die. The two older girls went up first, followed by Ethan and then the other two girls. Everything seemed hunky dory until I reached a point where the stairs turned. I'm still not sure how the kids made it past this turn. Apparently this area does not see much of the sun because the stairs there could be better described as a hill of ice. Not only could I not find a safe way up, but suddenly I had to figure out how to get five kids down. On either side of the stairs was a steep drop down a rocky cliff. And once again, the only thing separating us from the stairs and the cliff was a rickety old rail. With the baby on my back throwing my balance off, I found a spot to dig in my foot, held onto the rail, said a prayer, and one-by-one grabbed the hands of each kid until they were all safely on an ice-free step.
They all continued on down the stairs and across the bridge as if it were no big deal. I took a deep breath and followed them down all the while pretending I wasn't having another massive heart attack.
After crossing the bridge to the relative safety of the first set of stairs, the girls climbed back into another hole to take a little break.
And then it was up....
and up the stairs.
All the way to the top. At which point Maya needed another little break.
Having escaped with all lives and limbs intact, Ethan, sporting his oldest sister's rain boots, had great fun making muddy tracks in the snow...
while the girls jumped for joy because they were so happy to be alive. Or maybe because they were about to eat some Pringles for a snack. It's hard to say. And then we went home where I poured myself a stiff glass of H2O on the rocks and drank the stress of the day away.