Sunday, May 13, 2012

Whetstone Gulf Hike

The above trillium picture was taken on our first annual Mother's day hike. This year we went to Whetstone Gulf State Park which is about 10 minutes south of where we live.  It has an almost 6 mile loop that runs along the ridge of the gorge.  Below are pictures that document this harrowing and fun day.

 It was a beautiful day and there is no better way to keep people interacting with each other and not have to fight screen time than to put them out in nature where a misstep could lead to the end of their lives. (That last part isn't an exaggeration)
Getting started on the North Trail
Here is most of the group heading up one of the not so steep and really wide part of the trail.
Oh yes, this post would not be complete without a picture of one of the very plentiful signs that warned that you were taking this hike at your own risk.

Here are the kiddos at one of the good openings down into the gorge.  Its about 75 or more feet down to the bottom right on the other side of that rock.
The mother we were celebrating and her date.
Some good pictures of the gorge and the loose rock walls that you don't want to fall down. (The trail runs right on the edge of that loose rock so you can see everything.
One of the small waterfalls that fed down into the gorge.  This one was quite spectacular about 20 feet from this point.
 The water is getting closer
Even closer!
The long awaited sign. This indicated we were about half way done.  We had given up and broken out lunch about 200 yards before the sign.  Oh, well.
 Making the turn to the south side.
Sonja crossing one of the foot bridges
Very calm and tranquil 
This is one of only a couple of purple trilliums that we saw
I see farm land out there - we must be getting close to the end!
We came to a crossroads and decided to head down the dead end to the look out spot.  The kids are sliding down the pine needle covered hill as it was safer and quicker.
Hannah, in the orange wasn't planning on coming but when she saw how much fun her siblings were having she decided she would come as well.
Sonja really wasn't coming but since all the rest of her family was going to the look out she decided to come as well and sliding seemed safer after Glenn wiped out on a loose branch.
It reminded Sonja of this page from Come Over to My House by Theo LeSieg (Dr Suess)
The first 2 made it to the look out.
Since we all made it to the look out we decided to take a family picture. It was fun but Sonja said if you are tired don't bother going up and down the two or three hills it takes to get there.
Heading back up one of the steep hills.  Abigail is close to the top.  Can you see her?
We like the open woods like this. This is leaving the gorge trail and heading back to the parking lot.
Playing pooh sticks after making it back to the car.
Our splits, which are not too great. We passed a guy heading in as we were almost done. I asked him how long it took for him to run around and he said 45 mins to 1 hour and 15 mins depending on the day. That is impressive!
Here is the picture of our loop.  That one little jut out part is when we went to the look out.
Did you notice the elevation changes during this hike?  We were really glad we have been walking or it would have been a tough hike and the kids would not have made it so well.
 Note from Sonja: A special thanks to Glenn for putting the comments on this pictures for me while I was doing tick checks on the girls and for stealing me away for our Mother's Day hike and all the work he did to make it possible. It was a fun day (though there were several times  today on our hike that I just had to close my eyes and bite my tongue so that I didn't scare the kids off the edge when they were scaring me by getting too close or walking too carelessly for my comfort!) 

A note of caution for future possible hikers of this trail: Things to know if you want to take this hike.  There are guard rails on this trail in 2 places: (1) on the sides of the initial bridge getting to the North Ridge trail and (2) around the look out spot on the dead end. The whole rest of the loop consists of very steep drop offs, loose ground cover, and very narrow trails. (It claims to be a cross country skiing trail but I could not imagine cross country skiing on it!) Our kids are pretty obedient and are used to hiking. I'm not sure that I would take kids not accustomed to hiking or those that you don't trust to obey you on this trail. I've never seen so many signs warning of the dangers of where I was hiking on any other trail I've been on in my life. (I'll have to count them next time we do this hike!) This hike, though lots of fun, is definitely not a leisurely stroll in the woods.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:02 AM

    I loved the last sentence! Let's reword it! Motherhood, though lots of fun, is definitely not a leisurely stroll in the woods!


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