Today, is the first day of our Spring Break. And how did we spend it??? By hiking in Red Rock! I was actually really excited to do this for several reasons. First, the weather is still relatively cool and so now is the time to get outdoors and explore. Second, Jacob’s physical therapist has been telling me to expose him to different terrains to help strengthen his leg and core muscles. Third, I wanted to keep the kids routine relatively intact (waking, eating, sleeping, etc.) so that it won’t be such a shock when it’s time to go back to school. And fourth, a friend of mine wanted to do a hike and I knew the perfect place to go!
Some of the pictures are similar to the ones I took several months ago for Michael and Amy’s engagement pictures, when we did that hike. The only difference is that Jared didn’t go with us! Oh, and that there was water to be found on each of the hikes that we went on!
I love this picture of Joseph! It shows just how excited we all were to discover water! The waterfall made for a good resting spot. It was refreshing and cool, but even if you stood under or around the waterfall and got wet you’d be dry in a matter of minutes! It was that warm!
Jacob didn’t want anything to do with the waterfall itself, but there was quite a bit of standing water at the base that he enjoyed! It got to the point that we needed to take his shoes and socks off so that his tootsies could enjoy the colder temperature and so he wouldn’t ruin his shoes. We were in no rush to move on so we spent quite a bit of time playing in the water and the rocks while breaking out the snacks and water bottles!
I’m not one to let my kids get overly dirty but I knew that was going to be a fight I’d never win and resigned myself to the fact that they were enjoying their spring break and the great outdoors!
The last time we were in this spot it was toward the end of fall and everything was a lot dryer and browner. This time there seemed to be more colors, flowers, and even water. There was the waterfall, the creek, the little ponds and streams, and we all know that with water there comes wildlife!
While we were exploring the water fall and surrounding rocks, Amee noticed something moving in the water. As she got closer she realized it was a toad! She was able to catch it and gather the kids so that they could see it. Several of my kids were a little apprehensive, but as soon as I informed them that toads didn’t have teeth and only ate bugs they were more than willing to touch it and hold it. Jacob got a little overly excited and accidentally pinched its head 😦 . We thought it best to leave it alone from that point on. I hope it survived!
We hiked our way back to the car where the kids enjoyed their lunch. Man, I can’t help but notice how WHITE my kids are! Especially next to Amme and Willie.
After lunch we drove down to another trail marked on the map. Once we got about 200 yards into the hike you started to see all kinds of vegetation.
Jacob walked and climbed more than half of the seven hours that we were out hiking. I had to help him climb up and down bigger rocks but all in all he did an amazing job! We did have to take it a bit slower than we would have liked, but the kids were very understanding and took everything in stride. In all honesty, Jacob fell quite a bit! It was hard to watch him do this on his own but it is what his body needs. It was one of those things where you go to help him and have to physically fold your arms to stop yourself from doing it for him. I was pleased that he didn’t get any scrapes or bruises, especially for how many times he fell.
It didn’t seem like we had gone very far before we came to a little creek with a sandy bank. The three big boys proceeded to cross to the other side and remove their socks and shoes while Jacob and Emma were content to find a spot on the bank and make sand castles. Jacob never moved an inch except for when he would slip closer and closer to the water’s edge. He spent the whole time throwing sand and rocks into the water and watching the ripples. I’m sure it was a nice thing when we took his shoes and socks off again and he got to squish his toes into the water and sand.
So some of you remember that the boys removed their shoes and took off upstream. When I went to go find them a little while later I found them huddled together over the water. You might as what they were doing, some of you might already know! They found these little beauties…
They’re TADPOLES!!! The water was full of them and frog eggs in different phases of the growth cycle. It was so fascinating for the kids and it was a wonderful chance to talk to them about spawning and the ways to know whether these eggs are frog eggs or toad eggs. FYI, frogs lay their eggs in groups while the toad lay eggs in a long chain. The boys went around looking for eggs and announcing what species they belonged to.
It wasn’t long before we heard the croaking of a small frog that was probably there to watch over the little ones. We caught him and played with him for a bit. We noticed that if you opened up your hand he was more apt to crawl around on it than jump out (like the toad). The kids thought it was so funny that he could hang on upside down or sideways. After everyone had a chance to hold and pet it (all except for Jacob 🙂 ) I had Benjamin and Willie go set it free. This is where I might have been a little tricky. I told them that they needed to wade into the water waist deep, stick their hands under the water, and then open your hands and let him out.
That’s exactly what they did. They followed the frog around for a bit, catching it and setting it loose again. They were so enthralled with the frog that they didn’t realize that the water got a bit deeper until they were having to swim 🙂 !
It was funny to listen to them. I showed them where they needed to swim to on the bank get out. We were all laughing so loud that we didn’t see it until it was a matter of feet away.
I guess we interrupted its afternoon stroll! The boys tried to run after it but I knew it wouldn’t happen.
Wow, so much jammed into one day. It was such a great way to start off our spring break!
Such a tired little man, but what a trooper! I can’t believe how much fun we had today!