Tuesday, December 25, 2012

McKinney Falls State Park

We may not have much "winter" here in Texas, but, boy, do we have gorgeous weather this time of year!  Sunny, 60s and 70s.  It's weather made for being outdoors.

So, outdoors we went!  I took the kids north to McKinney Falls State Park.  Hiking is difficult with little ones (anyone under 5), but the beautiful day made it worth the effort.

We started out with one of the paved trails, but my little adventurers quickly dismissed that as lame:  too much like "walking in the neighborhood."  Well, we certainly didn't drive 75 miles to walk in the neighborhood!  We turned around and headed for Rock Shelter Trail.

We stopped first at the Falls.  Not much falling going on- too little rain- but really cool rock pools to jump over.  (Click on any picture to expand.)

Everyone carefully read over the sign that could save their lives.  Except Carsten.  He was trusting to good old-fashioned common sense.

The biggest challenge we have with hiking is Steffen.  Unlike Carsten, he is not very enamored with the entire concept.  He stops and sits down on the trail and keeps asking how far it is back to the car.  That means that I have to put him in the backpack.  Austin, at 20 pounds or so, is pretty packable.  Steffen, at 30 plus pounds, is heavy.  Plus, if Steffen's on my back, that means Austin is on my front.  Between the two of them and the gear, I'm lugging an extra 60 pounds.  That makes two hours of hiking feel like a major athletic feat.

But they like it!

And the rock shelters were very impressive.

Even Steffen got to touch the top.

Onion Creek is so pretty.

Carsten was nervous about the bridges, but he mastered them manfully.

Justin went hiking cowboy-style.  (Yes, his feet got sore.  I don't think he'll do that again.)

Being lugged around is hard work.  Austin needed fortification!

The older five would have kept going for a good while after lunch, but the little ones were ready to head back.  It'll be so much fun when they're all old enough to carry themselves on hikes!

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