This week we decided to take the children hiking. We chose a new trail called Horse Creek that is part of the Cherokee National Forest. This was a beautiful hike full of fall colors and family. A perfect outing in the Tennessee mountains.
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My husband and I made the 12 mile drive from our home to Horse Creek. The smell of Christmas immediately assailed our nostrils! Seriously, when we stepped out of the car the smell of evergreens was wondrous. Apparently, this was a day that the hemlocks and pines were particularly aromatic. It was lovely!
Our daughter, Jade, loved bounding along large boulders and fallen tree stumps. Our son, Gabriel, was a bit more thoughtful and reflective as he wondered about the creek noticing berries and the remains of summers flowers.
Papa convinced our son to throw stones in the creek to see how big of a splash he could make. The splashes were tremendous. Who knew that boys, water, and rocks went so well together?
We came to a bridge which crossed over Horse Creek. It made for a few delightful candid photos as the children explored it.
Once we crossed the creek we came to a fork in the path. The sign said Sampson Mountain Wilderness, Cherokee National Forest. It reminded me of the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken." We also came upon an awesome geological find. There is a section of the mountain that shows where the rock was pushed UP! Then of course, the children wanted to "climb" the mountain.
I love how hiking gives our children the opportunity to be wild and free. Exploring the National Forests in our area helps us to learn about our local flora and fauna. The smell of Christmas and the gorgeous colors of fall were an added bonus. We have much to research and add to our Nature Journals when we get home. Did you get out and into nature this week?