Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sometimes the Rockiest Paths Lead to the Most Beautiful Places

Is that a metaphor for life or what? Talk about ringing true for me. Life is all about rocky paths - but when we choose to go down them anyway - great things await us!

On Monday, we got the kids ready and went on a hike. I can't even tell you how many people stop us while we're hiking to tell us we have our hands full...or tell us we're outnumbered...or ask how we do it! It's all said with big smiles on their faces and a tone that is almost congratulatory. There used to be a time when it bugged me, but honestly, I take pride it in. I think it's their way of saying, "WOW! Good for you for getting out here and not letting three small children deter you from your adventures!" And, honestly, go us! It's not easy. But boy is it ridiculously fun!

I wanted a new rocky path to explore, so I did some research and found the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls. It's a waterfall that flows all year round in Cool, California. I wasn't too sure with our drought if it would have water, but I thought it'd be worth the trip anyway.

The twins are 2.5 and they're getting hard to carry on our backs, but we're going to stretch the backpacks a little bit longer - because boy is it convenient! Aiden is so adventurous - he'd scare the living daylights out of me (Connor is already daredevil enough for this scared Mama and he's not nearly as adventurous as Aiden; they definitely take after their daddy in that respect). The twins LOVE the backpacks! Love!

Isabella likes to rub my arms and shoulders while we're hiking. No joke. She's SUCH a little love.
Connor got these new sunglasses and hat from Nana and he was SO excited to wear them on his hike; that is, until about five minutes into the hike. Then, I carried them for the other two hours. Ha!
Daddy had the camelbak hydration pack and Aiden was so excited. He kept the tube in his mouth the entire time! He really is by far our most excited child. He is just so content to be adventurous and is SO animated about everything. He's constantly telling us to "Look!" or "Watch!" or pointing out animals/plants we should look at with the most expressive little eyes. I love how ridiculously excited he gets!
Isn't this a beautiful view of the American River?
It was a pretty easy hike for Connor, but we've learned little tricks to make hiking with a four-year-old pretty do-able. The most important thing is that we always bring snacks - which is a big motivator for him. We tell him we'll have a nature valley granola bar when we get "there" (for example: when we get to the falls) - which gets him moving the whole way there and then he gets his other half when we get back to the car. The hike was about 3 miles and we didn't carry him one bit of it. We also use lots of praise. Connor responds REALLY well to praise. "Wow, you're such a great hiker! I can tell it isn't easy for you - but you're working so hard at it! I can't believe it. I wish I could go as fast as you!" He is so much more willing to hustle it along when he knows what a great job he's doing. We do have a major rule that we are HUGE sticklers about and that is that we absolutely do NOT whine while we're hiking. Period. It's okay to be tired. It's okay to need a break. But we do not whine at all while we're out there. Mr. Howard and I model this a lot (even when our backs hurt and we're tired).
This very sweet couple asked if we wanted a picture of our whole family. How sweet was that?
On our way back to the Mountain Quarry Bridge, Connor asked if we could hike down to the American River. It was cool on our hike, but it sounded like such a great idea to take my shoes off and get in the water. Well, just in case you're wondering - the water was cold. Cold, cold, cold. The water was in the 50's and since it was probably only 60 degrees out, it felt wayyyy too cold for me. Connor, of course, waded right on in (he even went all the way to his waist in the water).
Aiden wanted to be right with his big brother in the water - so he was right there with Connor doing everything he did. If Connor threw a rock, Aiden threw one. If Connor explored in the water, Aiden did too. Isabella REFUSED to get out of her backpack. We tried - but she kept saying, "No Mama. Stay in backpack!"
American River:
This photo below is my favorite. Mr. Howard and I were holding hands while we were hiking. And all of a sudden out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Isabella's hand sticking out. I realized that Aiden and Izzy were holding hands too. Talk about adorable. 
Here was the waterfall. We had to cross a creek to get to the other side of it. This was the only thing that made me nervous with a baby on my back. 
This is Calcutta Falls below. There are MUCH prettier pictures of it out there, but I had a baby on my back and I was perched on a little ledge on slippery rocks - so I wasn't really in the best position to get the perfect shot. 
Interested in our other Northern California Adventures, click HERE


J Howard said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh my goodness that looks like so much fun! Love love love the holding hands picture! You're so brave to take the little ones, we are going hiking this Sunday and I get a sitter for our two and four-year-old ha ha three and four I don't even know my kids ages;)

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