Today we wanted to share our family outing from this past weekend. We finally feel like we’re getting to the point with the three kids where we can go hiking with all three successfully. We’re also preparing for our big family trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon in a little over a month, so we’re trying to get the kids out to practice as much as we can.
This week we trekked up to Waxahachie to Getzendaner Memorial Park to follow the Mill Creek Lake Nature Trail. We found this trail on the AllTrails app by looking for hikes nearby that were kid friendly.
The trail is listed as only a 1.6 mile loop, so we packed light. We carried the two younger kids in their Osprey backpacks, and Parker hiked with us carrying his new Deuter kids backpack. He shoved his pack full of snacks and water (he’s his father’s son!) but otherwise we didn’t bring anything with us. In hindsight we should have packed water and a bottle for the baby just in case since we didn’t know where we were going. Jordan has it engrained in me that we should always be prepared.
Once we were over the first bridge we followed the trail to the right, where it indicated hikers should go. The sign indicated cyclists were to go left. Parker started out in the lead, but ended up hiking between Jordan and I as he was most comfortable hiking at a regular speed with someone else leading the way.
Parker was really interested in nature while we were out in the woods, so Jordan consistently pointed out interesting things. We saw a ton of poison ivy and showed him how to watch out for it. At one point a butterfly took a ride with me and baby Griffin, and then Jordan came across what we think was an American Dagger Moth caterpillar (which are poisonous) and we took a look at that too.
Parker enjoyed climbing up and down the varied terrain.
Unfortunately the hiking portion of the trail dead ended, so we had to turn back and follow the cycling trail. The trail was not very clearly marked, which was a bit frustrating as experienced hikers. We ended up following the GPS on AllTrails to make sure we were tracking with the loop shown on the map. A few times it appeared that we jumped from one portion of the trail to another on the map, despite following the physical trail. It would have been very easy to get lost out there or wander for a long time, and by the end we had walked 2.25 miles total.
The cycling part of the trail did have some cool little ramps and bridges that Parker enjoyed walking across. We also spotted a Bigfoot!
Even Charlie bean had a good time riding along.
The fall woods were absolutely gorgeous, and photos do not do them justice. The golden light filtering through the trees combined with the yellow and red leaves falling was about as good as fall in Texas gets.
One of the most shocking moments of our hike occurred as Parker was walking between Jordan and I, with baby Finny and I leading the way. Parker suddenly called out “Look at that snake!” which we generally wouldn’t take really seriously because he’s only just 4 years old and often engages in imaginative play. However, Jordan looked down and said, “oh shit, there is a snake!” and by the time I turned around he had rushed the kids past it.
Then, Jordan being Jordan, he had to go back for photos.
I don’t know how Parker spotted that thing, considering I had walked past it completely oblivious and it was right next to the trail, camouflaged in the fallen leaves. We had a long conversation with Parker about Copperheads and other venomous snakes, and how to tell a nice snake from a mean snake. We also had a conversation about the difference between poisonous and venomous (this is a huge pet peeve of Jordan’s). It was definitely an exciting moment on our hike!
After we finished hiking we headed over to the playground at the park to let the kids burn off a little more energy. Finny hung out in the backpack as he was having a good time while the other two played.
Once we were ready to go, we drove back through Waxahachie to one of the easier, kid-friendly restaurants for lunch, Jalapeño’s Lemon Pepper. Just off the highway, this restaurant has an outdoor patio with a large grassy backyard that makes it easy to let the kids run and play safely when they’re tired of sitting at the table. We enjoyed a quick lunch with a few tasty margaritas before heading home for everyone to take a long nap.
We’ll be back soon with a house update, as well as some info on our plans for Bryce Canyon and Zion!