I was catching up on some All Sides of Life posts this past week and noticed a story on hiking. With Allison recovering from a long week of sickness and mothering, I decided it would be good to take Emma out on an adventure! I called up Murray Williams and invited him and his daughter, Mary Hadley, to go with us. I'm not sure how to write this blog shortly...I'll try to be brief.
We all met at McDonald's by the Springdale Airport and ate breakfast. Loaded up my car and headed out toward War Eagle Mill (WEM). On the way out there, Mary Hadley (MH) and Emma began chatting up a storm. Murray introduced me to TomTom. I fell in love with it. I want one.
Our first stop was War Eagle Mill. We took several pictures of the water wheel, the river, and the geese. The girls chased the geese a lot. They also climbed a hill under the bridge several times. We went into the mill to browse and grabbed some flavored honey. Note: it's 4/$1.00...and 2 is all one person needs. Number 3 is overkill.
After an hour or so, we loaded up the car again and decided to go over to Beaver Dam. So we drove up to Eureka Springs and ate lunch at McDonald's. While we were there, Murray picked up a local publication that gave us some ideas of things to do around Eureka. We pinpointed Lake Leatherwood and decided to go there. This is where we started our hiking. When we entered the forest, we notified the girls that this is officially "hiking". Emma kept calling the forest the "jungle". We told her that this was, in fact, a forest. She looked at us very seriously and said, "No, these are trees". It's hard to explain to a 3 year old that a large group of trees IS a forest. Murray did a pretty good job explaining it, but Emma lost interest in the conversation and started looking at the bark hanging off trees. We hiked for about 1/2 mile then turned around and hiked back along the lake. Lots of throwing rocks into the lake occurred at this point. We played around the swimming area for a while then loaded up the car again.
Our next stop was Beaver Dam. Murray and I had a lot of fun with saying the word "dam" over and over again. Men never outgrow their inner 10-year-old boy. Never. Dam! We drove over the dam and snaked around to the parking area below. The girls enjoyed climbing over the boulders while Murray and I took more pictures. There were lots of people fishing, so we had our hands full reminding the girls (specifically Emma) to be quiet so we didn't disturb them. We left pretty quickly, though, since Emma yelled "I have to go poo poo!" pretty loudly. We rushed back to the car and hurried to the Dam Store (again, we had a good time with that one). Of course, the "urge" had left Emma, so we got some snacks. We ended up driving home (by way of Rogers) and calling it a day.
All in all, we drove about 100 miles, 6 hours of play time, ate at McDonald's twice, and got to spend some great quality time with our girls. It was a pretty amazing time. We all agreed (especially the girls) that we should do this again sometime soon (the girls meant NOW, despite their tiredness). In fact, based on the ridiculous amount of fun I had, I may be the initiator of a Father-Child Nature Day during each of the 4 seasons from now on! So, if you're a father and your kid can walk and skip a nap, stay tuned: the next phase is coming!
You can see my pictures of the trip here.