Sorry for the long hiatus - computer issues are now resolved....
Thursday, July 30th
This was my best day on the trip. It was perfect. Instead of jumping right into worrying about breakfast and all that, I decided that I needed to "stop and smell the roses." So I put Elisabeth in the stroller, grabbed the camera, sippy cups and a couple of snacks and took the kids on a relaxing stroll around the campground. This was the walk I referred to in my post, "Defining an Adventure." The morning was beautiful - it was cool and bright and didn't look like it was going to rain - hallelujah! I enjoyed taking pictures of a deer and some butterflies and just enjoyed the scenery and the kids. It was a lovely way to spend a morning.
Afterwards, we had a nice breakfast and then drove to a nearby trailhead for a hike down to Dark Hollow Falls. We strapped Elisabeth to my back, but Jonah had to hoof it down on his own two feet. The sign at the trailhead said 2.1 miles round trip.
The water at the falls was icy cold but refreshing after the hike down. After some time down at the falls we started back up somewhat dreading the climb. We assumed Jonah would have to be carried at some point. I took the keys to the RV and went ahead. Elisabeth and I made it back to the RV in good time and I started to put sandwiches together expecting Kelly and Jonah to show up a bit later. To my surprise they were only 7 minutes behind us and Kelly reported that Jonah had walked the whole way back. Woohoo! Mom and Dad were very impressed as were others on the trail who commented on his endurance as they passed. We were all ready for a break and some food as it was 1 or 1:30 by this time. This was one of the times I really appreciated having the RV with a refrigerator and a place to comfortably eat some lunch. This was also when we took my favorite picture of the kids while on the trip - they look like they are having a great time.
After lunch, we drove a short distance back to a spot across from the Big Meadows Visitor Center. It was such a picturesque area. We just walked along a dirt road that ran along one side of the meadow. We walked probably a good mile and half going through meadow and forest areas before turning around. It was a lovely walk with some great scenery. Again, Jonah walked almost the whole way. He rode on Dad's shoulders a bit toward the very end.
Here you can see the visitor center in the background. The Skyline Drive skirts the meadow and passes just in front of the visitor center.
My feet were aching by this time. So we drove down the road a bit hoping the kids would go to sleep so we could shower and chill out before dinner. They did, but on arriving back at our campsite Elisabeth woke up pretty quickly. Jonah slept on though, but then he did walk about 4 miles that day! So mom and dad got showers and had a little down time with only one kid awake. I gave Elisabeth a bird bath and got the kids in some clean clothes and we walked to the lodge for dinner. Here is a a picture of Elisabeth during a game of peekaboo with the napkin.
We ended the evening with a little stargazing and actually saw a couple of shooting stars. The perfect ending to a perfect day.