Oh, Chimney Rock, how we love thee....
We love Chimney Rock State Park so much that we typically go every couple of months, year round. I was shocked to realize that we haven't been since November of 2009! Why? Cause its been FREEZING here or raining (or snowing) almost every weekend since early December. And I don't do Chimney Rock in anything lower than 50 degrees. Its okay to call me a wimp. I don't mind :)
Jayce asks to go to Chimney Rock every time I drive him to school. You can actually see the mountains 45 minutes away clearly from the road in front of Jayce's school. As soon as he sees those mountains he says, "Hey mom... I have a great idea! Let's go to Chimney Rock today! School is canceled, mom." Nice try, Jayce!
We finally got our chance last weekend. It was a GORGEOUS day outside! Sunny and warm, in the 60's even! We packed up and headed out. We stopped at Subway before reaching the park to get sandwiches to eat on the kids trail.
The kids' meals came in cute little recyclable bags with animal facts. Jayce got a polar bear bag. Jaina got a spotted cheetah one. Jayce kept referring to her bag as the "Cheetos" bag.
Keeping with tradition, we hiked the Woodland Adventure Trail after lunch. Jayce did the entire trail without complaint or being asked to be carried.
After lunch, we drove up to the main parking lot of the park. There was left over snow and ice everywhere! Because of this, the 20 minute trail (which is really a ton of stairs) up to the chimney was closed. But there wasn't a sign, so we started climbing up. We got *almost* to the top to only have to turn back around and climb back down. Then we had to take the elevator up to the Chimney.
The Hickory Nut Falls trail was also closed due to ice. Brian, the impulsive kid he sometimes is, had to touch the closed sign. And he broke it off by accident. Whoops!
Jayce liked "squishing" all the ice. He actually asked me to take this picture of him!
This is Jaina's version of "rock climbing" :)
Look at those blue skies!
And this view!
Sometimes I like that view above, too :)
Some gorgeous light up on the mountain...
We didn't have to wait long for the elevator. We were surprised that the park wasn't crowded at all! Probably because so many trails were closed. That didn't bother us :)
The elevator conveniently lets you off in the upstairs gift shop. This may be my children's favorite part of our trip. My husband's kind of a pushover when it comes to his daughter's "puppy dog eyes" and begging skills. And, of course, you buy Jaina something so you have to buy little brother something, too. Jaina normally makes sure he picks something she likes, too, because chances are, Jayce won't care about his pick once we get home.
Jaina, up at the Chimney.
Brian and Jayce decided to stay downstairs. Ever since a little boy fell to his death at the park last year, we keep our children that much more close to us.
Some daddy love :)
Feeling a little guilty at how many pictures I took of Jaina this day, I resolve to take more of Jayce. Except that he was kind of in his own little world the entire time we were at the park. Eh, you got to take what you can get sometimes!
Want to see what the kids ended up getting at the gift shop?
Jaina was having a hard time naming her squirrel, so I suggested the name "Zipper" after the Squirrel Nut Zippers from the 90's. She liked it!
Jaina "helped" Jayce pick a racoon to bring home. We named him Ringo for Jayce.
Then it was time for some ice cream. Oh yeah baby!! This is mommy's favorite part of the day!