Introducing our kids to our old stomping grounds

We’re back in Illinois for two weeks. Our kids are growing up fast. And while we love the abundance of new and exciting adventures available to us in Pennsylvania, sometimes a little taste of nostalgia is needed.

Our mornings are pretty much our own these couple of weeks. Just because we’re on vacation doesn’t mean everyone else is. So, Tuesday my husband had the brilliant idea to take the kids on a hike. It’s one of our (his and mine) favorite activities and the couple of times we’ve taken the kids, they’ve enjoyed it too. Our hometown area offers all kinds of natural scenery and organized parks from which to enjoy the beauty. It was hard to pick one place to go, so we went with location. Closest to my parents’ house won.

We packed a bag and headed out to Franklin Creek State Natural Area. We passed the Franklin Creek Grist Mill on the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open. I haven’t been there since probably middle school. Both of our families spent significant portions of our childhood at Franklin Creek. It’s a simple yet beautiful area, and the day we went, it was almost deserted.

Here’s one little explorer who is ready to go. Both kids insist on carrying maps with them. Isabelle likes to follow along.

Franklin Creek is home to a spring, so we planned to hike at least to it. One of the nice things about this part of the park is it’s handicapped accessible with a nice paved walkway to the spring. So, the kids could run mostly free for the beginning part of the hike.

We also discovered a lookout area near one of the ponds in the park. We tried to capture a nice family photo of our hike.

What we got instead was more the reality. Oh well. At least it’s us to a T.

The walk to the spring isn’t long and we had all morning to kill, so we decided to trek on. The kids were in good spirits, we had snacks and drinks. The weather was perfect: cool, breezy and clear.

So, one by one (sort of) we crossed the spring and set off to explore more territory.

Corban blazes a trail and sometimes wanders into the weeds. Isabelle likes to dawdle and look at flowers, plants, trees and bugs, if we can see any.

The trail was full of obstacles in the form of downed trees and limbs, which was like a playground for the kids.

Little miss kept saying, “I have to go first because I’m the sister bear.”

So, she’d get a leg up and swing it over and climb down the other side. Not to be outdone, her almost 2-year-old brother would try, too. Unfortunately for him he’s been “gifted” with the long torso, short legs from his father’s side of the family. But it was funny to watch all the same.

I kept saying they’re going to be ready for boot camp. Just kidding. I think.Limbo, anyone? Sometimes over just wasn’t good enough. Pretty sure they wanted Phil and me to go under it, too.Overall, it was a blast. Our summer has been so packed with Phil’s schooling (last summer of seminary … what?!?!) that I feel like we’ve forgotten to have fun. So, I’m glad that we could have this little bit of family fun in the midst of our visit home to see family. Few things fill my soul like spending time with my three great loves. And it ended up being a 2-and-a-half hour hike. More than I’d planned on but fun just the same.

Hiking plus family equals satisfaction. I never really liked math, but this is one equation I could get used to.


2 thoughts on “Introducing our kids to our old stomping grounds

  1. oh my gosh, I LOVE Franklin Creek, our hikes there were the best. I’m so glad that the kids got to experience it’s awesomeness 🙂
    Also, on the mention of the long torso and short legs I literally shouted ‘yes!’ out loud, Zach and I have talked about that SO much (well, and his monkey arms).

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