Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My Favorite Hike Of The Year

Each fall we make a day of going to our favorite hiking place in Iowa: Ledges State Park. We head to Frey's Pumpkin patch first then for a day of hiking all the trails at Ledges. This year we added in a local BBQ place Whatcha Smokin'? for lunch too! It was a great day filled with fall colors (well, the beginning of them because apparently they're later this year), good food, lady bug swarms, and family fun.

We got a late start on Saturday due to rain. The minis were a bit tired due to sleepovers Friday night, but they perked up as we pulled into Frey's Pumpkin Patch. This is my favorite place to get pumpkins. It's no frills, simple, and family run. I grabbed pumpkins for the Museum for bowling, a "pimple pumpkin" to make pumpkin goop slime with for daycare, and the minis picked out more mini pumpkins (what they're doing with them is tbd).

Friday night at home means running around with neighbor friends until dark and then having a living room slumber party while watching Halloween movies.

Saturday, presented by Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Our annual Frey's pumpkins picture.

We wanted to give the ground some time to dry from all of the morning rain, so we decided to do lunch at Whatcha Smokin? BBQ in Luther, Iowa. I regret all of those times we've driven by and haven't stopped! The food was great!

So, maybe eating a big meal before hiking all the trails at Ledges wasn't the best idea, but it worked out and kept the kids energized for hiking several miles in just a few hours. We climbed, we posed, they were instructed to "stay away from the edge!" only a dozen times, and we were checked for ticks after spotting several on our car after leaving. 

I like to go to Ledges mid-October because of the fall foliage. I was surprised at the amount of green that were still in the trees (especially lining the Des Moines River to the west of Ledges). I have to imagine that the colors will be in full swing my mid-week (when we're working and busy, of course).

We wanted to be sure to hike all of the rim trails to take in the best views. We parked at the top, hiked down the canyon, back up the canyon, up the other rim, back down, and back to the top. My legs definitely felt it!

You can't see them well, but in the sunlight were swarms to lady bugs! We had to walk through them multiple times. They got caught everywhere! I was pulling them out of my hair in the shower later that night. The minis were not fans.

They started to get tired and required a few breaks. All in all, they did pretty great with all of the hiking.

Not sure what was happening or being said, but the picture did come together.

Things did not come together for this picture however.

So happy we wore boots because the trails were muddy!

I wanted a picture of the minis on this rock overlooking the Des Moines River and fall trees. But someone was having a date picnic--complete with mini bottles of cheap wine and lunchables. I could not stop giggling because they were oblivious to the crowds of people waiting to get pictures on the rock!

Hubs had somewhere to be, so the minis and I got a special Mom and Minis Night complete with mug cakes, pumpkin painting, a movie, and mom falling asleep on the couch. Love my time with them (when they're getting along that is).

Sunday was a busy stay home day. I completed my week long project of going through the boy's clothes. The middle mini needed "new" clothes, so we switched clothes out. The oldest got some new clothes, the middle mini got the oldest's clothes, and cousins got the middle one's clothes. Hand-me-downs are the best! I also got everything ready for the Des Moines Children's Museum's Halloween event, daycare prepped for the week, meals made, writing done, and the house cleaned. Meanwhile, as I ran around the house, the oldest did his science fair project and the two youngest minis played outside with friends. 

It was obviously play food washing weekend too!

We ended the weekend with our weekly chili (no pictures). As the weekend drew to a close, my legs were sore from miles of hiking and climbing, my hands smelled like bleach cleaner, and I felt accomplished! Best feeling ever!