Getting Off of the Grid

The kids have been asking to do a couple of things lately.  One is to go camping.  The other is to get out and get hiking.  So we did both this week.  Sims and I started the week off with a kayak and camping weekend.  We paddled with a group out of Latta Plantation Park up the lake a bit and camped out on the shore of Mountain Island Lake.  The night was beautiful.  Of course, we had a few unexpected lessons from the group members.  We learned about how to find satellites in the sky and the space station.  We also sat and observed all of the animal activity on  the lake.  Sims and I could have easily stayed one more night.  I look forward to taking the rest of the family next time.

The next trip, everyone was in on except for Dad (that working thing gets in the way of a lot of fun stuff).  We headed up the road to the Wilson Creek Trails.  The trails were recommended to us, so this was our first adventure there.  Getting to the trails was a little more off of the grid than I had expected.  You go from a smooth dirt road to a long gravel road which makes you wonder the entire time if you are lost.  My plan was to hit the Gragg Prong trail but as most things in our life, the plan changed.  We decided to do the Harper Falls trail.

The day was beautiful and the hike was awesome.  The first 10 minutes of the hike is fairly steep but very doable.  The trail then levels off with some fun areas for exploring.  We took a little break at the lower camp site to play in the water and explore the creek before heading up to the upper falls.  At the end of the trail, there was an (unexpected for us) large descent to get down to see the falls that requires you to lower yourself down a rock face with a rope.  We decided not to go all the way down with the kids so we turned around to find another way down.  The next trail down was still steep but was much safer for our crew.  At the bottom, the kids were able to play in a terrific swimming hole, slide down the falls and explore.

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Overall, I think it was a successful trip.  We came home with tadpoles that will hopefully develop into some beautiful little frogs. I look forward to heading back up one day soon to do the Gragg Prong trail now that I know what to expect.