Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Final hocking hills post.

We only spent two days in Hocking Hills- but I feel like we saw so much!  we will definitely be headed back to get in the stuff that we didn't on this trip.
On our last day the morning started out drizzling- but the rugrats couldn't have been happier about getting to wear their galoshes and rain coats. Plus they made for good pictures :)  
Although by the end of our day the boys were EXHAUSTED. 
 We climbed a lot of stairs and did a lot of hiking for two and four year old little legs.  
Ike kept sitting down and asking for a break.  On our last hike out of 'The Rock House'- it started raining a little harder and we ended up hiking out with Ike on my shoulders and Zeb on Kent's.  These little boys are spoiled rotten.
Old Man's Cave had a trail with two caves to walk through and then an amazing huge open face mountain.  I really had no idea that Ohio had natural features like this.
One of the highlights of the trip was being able to use Kent's head lamp. The kiddos thought they were miners or mountain men or something. We'll be buying a second for sure.
 My pictures just can't show how big and magnificent this place was. It was my favorite hike for sure.

I took so many dang pictures- I feel like I have to post at least some of the great ones!!

Our very last stop was 'The Rock House'.  We debated on stopping but I'm so glad that we did.  This place was really really cool.  We were just hiking along and almost missed it.  There are just a bunch of holes on the side of the mountain.  Then you step inside and find yourself here.

The one end of the cave opened up onto a big ledge and dropoff.  Our kiddos didn't really get that it was just a big deep and dangerous pit.  And that made Kent really nervous.  We almost lost Zeb's boot off the edge while looking over.

In the rockhouse we ended up running into some fellow teepee campers and they snapped a family picture for us.
Come visit and we'll take you to Hocking Hills to tire you out, too :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

teepee time.

We turned our trip to Hocking Hills into a full blown camping adventure.  After a lot of searching - we decided on leaving our tent behind and camping in a teepee!!  How cool is this? we got to sleep in a real live teepee.  The kiddos loved it and were happier than ever the entire time.  Best way to camp.  No tent setup/clean up- but it's still 'roughing it'.
This next picture of Ike is HILARIOUS.  Every time Kent and I look at this we can't help but laugh out loud.  He was such a happy little camper and was beyond ecstatic about roasting marshmallows.  We were waiting as Kent got the fire started and I told him to show me how excited he was about the marshmallows.  This is what he gave me. Crazed lunatic face.  Doesn't he look insane?!?  we love it.
Being out camping with just us was pretty fun.  Sitting around the campfire with our little rugrats trying to scare them with spooky stories and teaching them camp songs made me feel like we really are our own little family.
It also made me realize just how old these kiddos are getting!  They actually just sit and talk with each other a lot. Their conversations are hilarious.  Ike kept asking Zeb if he was going to sleep in the teepee.
There were lots of giggles in the teepee that night.  The teepee had four cots but we put the boys together to keep each other warm.  The shared cot thing didn't last long for these two- but as soon as we separated them Ike zonked almost immediately.
Unfortunately for Kent- Ike woke up in the middle of the night wanting to share a cot with him :)  I can't imagine Kent slept very well!  This kid is impossible to share a king size bed with.  A teeny cot must have been torturous.

It rained a little during the night and the morning was perfectly chilly.  I love the rugrats' sleepy faces.

Donuts woke them up pretty quickly, though.  They were super excited to pick them out at the grocery store the day before.

Zebby loves his 'Captain' shirt. He thinks that he's a captain just like his dad- and insists on saluting people when he wears it.  A veteran at the library actually complimented him on his 'tight' salute at the library last week :)
I've got one more day of pictures to post and then I'm done with Hocking Hills :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First and foremost, I'd like to know how we made it in Ohio this long without ever visiting Hocking Hills.  We went camping for part of our vacation and decided to venture here on the raving recommendation of next door neighbors.  I'd heard a few things about Hocking Hills here and there- but nothing that prepared us for our trip.  This place is AMAZING.  Like- ranks right up there with lots of the sites in Utah and Yellowstone- amazing.  And we didn't even get to go on some of the bigger hikes!  The views and the hikes and the caves and everything else we saw were stunning.  It didn't hurt that it was pretty empty and transitioning into fall!  

We'd had a lot of rain the days leading up to our trip and it made the colors so vibrant.  I feel like the green was fluorescent!  Our first day was picture perfect weather (therefore I took almost 500).  Sun shining- no rain- and just a few clouds.

 Our first stop was at Ash Cave. It is labeled as the most majestic of all the sites in the park.  My pictures don't do it any justice. It was just too big to try and capture all at once.

Our little rugrats were really impressive the whole trip.  Not until the very last hike on the last day did they start complaining about their legs being tired. They did a lot of running and stair climbing!  and we were all pretty dirty when all was said and done.

I was also impressed with how brave the kiddos were.   At one point I had all three boys (kent, zeb, and Ike) trying to climb up separate cliff walls.  It got a little treacherous.
And the boys were even happy to go into caves. They asked if there were any spider webs and when we told them probably not- they were happy to explore with us!
Honestly- this place was so much fun. I still can't believe we hadn't been.  It would have been worth the drive from toledo for sure!  It's only about two hours from us here in Dayton- and would have been three from Toledo.
Ike did get pretty nervous here, though.  Kent was trying to maneuver his way back down the cliff wall and Ike just wanted him to hurry.
The Ash cave is so big it's indescribable.  Sometimes I think Ohio is trying to keep all of its greatness a secret so that more people don't come.  Nothing we do is ever crazy crowded- all of their parks (city and state) are so well taken care of- and everything is free!!  If any of you Ohioans or veterans of Ohio know of any other great places- let me know!!!
Getting these rascals to sit still for pictures is ridiculous right now.  This is the one and only shot of the day where they actually agreed to sit and smile.  Maybe it's because we had them sitting on a giant rock ledge and told them if they moved they would fall to their deaths.

There were only a handful of other people on the trail the day we hiked so we got the park almost to ourselves.  There was one couple getting married here when we first arrived, though!

We could have sat here and played in the sand forever!  Zeb kept running ahead of us trying to see what was next.  He told Kent that the place was 'kind of beautiful'.
The only way to get the boys to smile here was to tickle them like crazy.  At least they aren't fake smiles!

After the Ash Cave we decided to head to Cedar falls.  We saw a gazillion mushrroms and both Zeb and I were obsessed!  Mushrooms remind me of Russia- and Zeb of mario-kart.

Look at this one! Red with white spots!!

And the falls were pretty cool, too.  Nothing better than a big pot of muddy water to stir around.

The one thing about waterfalls here is that they are almost waterless- but pretty nonetheless.

For some reason-EVERYthing these boys do has to be a race or a contest.  It helped speed up the hikes immensely- but resulted in lots of frustration when somebody came in second.  Finally we convinced them to play as a team and hold hands for a 'two way tie'. At the last second -on this particular occasion- Ike ran ahead at the very end- touched the car and then pointed to each of us individually and said: "you lose! you lose! you lose!".  I encourage speediness and doing your best- but I've never taught them to rub losing in other people's faces!  and he's only 2!!  I honestly think that he was born competitive.
But these two really are best friends and even though having them close in age can be horrific sometimes- it sure is wonderful that they have each other.