Yesterday was a beautiful spring day here in Virginia. The sun was bright, the birds were singing and everything was returning to life once again. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day than to do a two family picnic and hike along the Shenandoah National Park.
Last October when we were out east visiting family we did our first trip to the lovely Shenandoah and were mesmerized by her spectacular beauty. We had only done the drive to admire the fall colors and stopped several times along Skyline Drive, the main artery through the park, to take pictures at the many road side lookouts. There are several excellent hikes along the way but with young children, we thought it was too soon to do anything of distance.
Five months later we thought perhaps it was time to give it a try. We packed a lunch and joined my sister and brother-in-law and their family for our first family hike. Four adults, five children ranging from five to thirteen years old, and a camera. We were all set!
We picked one of the most popular trails within the park, a 5 mile hike roundtrip to a waterfall. The terrain was relatively flat and easy save the large rocks. The moment we started the hike, all fears of our kids not making it were gone. Instead of lagging behind, they took off running and we were the ones who had to keep up.
It was a beautiful hike and I was amazed how behind springtime is in the mountains. Most of the leaves were not out and a few native spring flowers had started to bloom such as the lovely white trilliums which dot the forest floor in early April. We saw very tame deer, lots of people and fragrant tiny flowers along the trail. It was a gorgeous day and the perfect two-hour hike. Even my five year old daughter Sophia made it without having to be carried once. She must have some of her mom in her!
Here are some pictures along the way.
The best part of all was the sign above. We took a wrong turn trying to keep up with my husband and the kids and ended up hiking a mile or two straight downhill out of our way. The kids and Paul were back waiting at the parking lot wondering where on earth we had been! They really thought we were slow.