Way back when we started this blog (has it really been 2 years?) I published a post called Making Travel a Priority. In it I said:
…to me, travel is a synonym for living life outside of the daily grind. It’s about date nights with the husband, day trips with the kids, and seeing concerts with friends. It’s about exploring my local community as well as getting on that plane to visit some place I’ve never been.
Even though I still feel the same exact way, I’ve recently found myself slacking on my mission to seize “travel” opportunities as much as I could.
So I decided to take the kids on an adventure before school starts next week.
We are lucky to have quite a few state parks not too far from the house and there’s been one I’ve been wanting to explore for some time.
Rocks State park is in northern Harford County about 30 miles north of Baltimore and 8 miles northwest of Bel Air. It’s about a 30-minute drive from my house.
I’ve lived in this area for 14 years now and I’ve never gone there.
Isn’t that crazy?
So I took a minute to explore the park’s website and found a short hike leading to a waterfall called Kilgore. It sounded perfect for an outing with a 3- and 9-year-old.
We decided we would pack a lunch and leave the next morning.
Arriving at the parking lot around 10 a.m. I was pleasantly surprised to see the trail clearly marked and easily accessed. There were a couple of other cars in the parking lot but no other people around.
We hit the trail and immediately this guy asked if he could hold my hand.
That may be one of my favorite things about parenting a toddler. The 9-Year-Old will still grab for my hand here or there but I can pretty much feel his mom affection slipping away.
But 9-year-olds are fun for a whole laundry list of other reasons. While walking I heard him yelp, “Hey! An acorn!” like he just won the lottery or something.
He was so excited to find an intact one with the cap on and everything.
Just as the site promised, after about a half mile we made it to the water.
They, of course, jumped right in! And when I say “they” I mean the 9-Year-Old and his friend.
We are entering that age were it’s just not cool to hang out with Mom alone.
I don’t mind, I like to see him bonding with his friends.
The water was FRIGID!
That doesn’t seem to bother either of my kids. They are fish!
My dad used to describe me the same way. I lived in the water growing up.
The 3-Year-Old was enjoying the falls his own way.
Finding and throwing rocks.
By far, it is favorite pastime.
When it’s just us, the 9-Year-Old enjoys that too, but today he had some exploring to do.
The only problem is I’m stuck in the middle.
Thankfully this spot by the falls allowed me to keep an eye on each kid, allowing them to explore on their own.
After a little while we found a nice rock by the falls and took out our lunch.
Yes, my friends we brought waffles. What can I say, my kids are weird but it worked and it was super easy to pack.
I also made a little trail mix with what I could find in my pantry: cashews, almonds, pistachios, honey-roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, dried apricots and a few mini chocolate chips.
It was delicious!
After lunch we decided to climb to the top of the falls for a different perspective.
Then I persuaded the kids to take a little creek walk before heading back down for some more swimming.
While the kids were all throwing rocks, the 9-Year-Old ran up to me saying, “Mom, Mom — isn’t this that kind of rock you break with crystals inside?”
I said, “I think it is! But I can’t remember the name of them right now.”
We got home and researched and I think he found a geode!
I love seeing him excited about things like rocks and acorns. At home he’s more interested in Minecraft and Roblox than anything else so it’s nice to know these kinds of outings and my enthusiasm for nature is at least rubbing off on him a little.
Much to their dismay, I told them it was time to go soon. It was getting quite crowded. I’m glad we got there as early as we did and next time I think we’ll go even earlier.
We agreed to do a bit more creek walking before getting back on the trail.
On our way back to the trail we made a new caterpillar friend.
I haven’t been able to identify it but I think it’s some kind of moth species.
It was finally time to wrap ourselves in towels and head home.
We had a wonderful day!
Every time I do something like this I wonder why I don’t do it MORE. It’s cheap (free!) close to the house, and the kids have a blast.
This is EXACTLY why I started this blog: to remind myself that having a “traveling” mindset takes just a small effort and really can have a big payoff. Instead of watching TV or playing video games we had a fun outing, explored a little more of our world and bonded.
Plus, it wore them ragged!
In the best possible way!
Anyone else planning a fun day trip? I’d love to know!