It's been so long since I spent quality time with children, I had forgotten how much I like them. I remembered this past Saturday when my husband and I went hiking at the Carl Sandburg Home "Park" with a former co-worker and three of his iddy-biddy daughters.
There are three trails at the Sandburg Home: Big Glassy, Memminger, and Glassy Mountain. Andy (my former co-worker) suggested the one-mile round-trip Big Glassy hike for one very good reason--one of the old trailheads is literally in his parent's back yard.
I hadn't hiked with kids before and wasn't sure how a 2 yr, a 4 yr, and a 6 yr old could handle it. On this slightly inclined, easy trail, the older kids handled it very well, and we had a blast walking up the gravel road looking for flowers and laughing every time the Little One asked her dad for a ride. After he had to put her down one too many times, I remembered I was once a creative mother and could troubleshoot these situations. So I collapsed my walking stick and gave it to her. Fortunately, it was just the right size and interesting enough to keep the munchkin happy for the remainder of the trip up the hill.
There are several rock outcroppings along the Big Glassy trail, though none have the view that the last rock, Big Glassy, had. From it, we had a spectacular view of Jump Off Rock, Mt. Pisgah and, we suspect, Devil's Courthouse. After admiring the view and taking photos with the camera that still worked after I dropped it TWICE, we explored the plants that edged the rock as the kids rested, and then headed back. To our amusement, it wasn't long before Little One hitched a ride.
I was surprised to learn the Carl Sandburg home is part of the National Park Service. In addition to a guided tour of the house, one can hike over five miles (total) on the three trails and visit the goat dairy barn. Like Pearson Falls, this is a perfect half-day activity that the entire family (ages 3 and up :o) can enjoy. For more information, including times and directions, go to http://www.nps.gov/carl