Monday, January 20, 2014

Blazing the Orange with My Girl

Ava, my 5 year old, didn't have school scheduled for today in light of the MLK holiday.  Seeing this schedule change in advance, I requested the day off.  Yay.  What a great idea!  Last night, I asked her if she would be interested in going for a hike.  That question sparked a fire in her eye.  She immediately rattled off the list of supplies required for this excursion - #1 being snacks.  :)  But of course.  

I got up at my usual hour (4:35) to squeeze in an hour of cycling class before the rest of the house started stirring.  Knowing that we didn't have to meet the bus crunch, I dawdled.  After brewing a hot cup of joe, I parked my butt at the kitchen table (in the same spot it's in right this moment) to buzz through a few websites as my hard boiled egg finished up.  Post-shower, I gently nudged everyone from their slumber.  The girls ate breakfast together while I packed a bag.  I wasn't yet sold on the location of our hike, but I knew, wherever we went, that a knapsack of supplies would be necessary.  Within ten minutes, all bundled, we piled into the car to take Alli to day care.  Part of me felt a twinge of guilt as I left Alli behind, but I know she couldn't yet hang with me and Ava.  Another day, darling...

We made a quick pit stop at Staples to pick up two journals.  Ava suggested we chronicle our journey, or as she'd say 'adventure'.  Before making our way across the parking lot to the car, I pointed to the horizon while asking Ava to look 'up'.  South Mountain hovered over the little town of Emmaus.  I informed her that we'd be climbing that mountain.  Instead of backing off or being shy at the idea, Ava embraced all the excitement and reflected it with a huge, bright eyed smile.  

At the trail head, we discovered the perfect walking stick to help her along the way - it was definitely needed.  
Ava hiking up the mountain

The backside of the orange trail (headed east) was icy with patches of hard packed mud.  We also encountered a few icy water crossings.  

Ava prior to crossing the 'run'
Rodale Run

I'm impressed with Ava's determination in climbing the hills and navigating the terrain.  Occasionally, she pulled ahead of me with her head up and her stick by her side.  I couldn't resist in falling back to snap a few pics.    Not as fast as Ava would have liked, we eventually reached the boulder outcropping where we discovered a snow-free rock to sit on.  

I passed out snacks and shortly after we journaled our experience to-date.  I was in heaven watching Ava draw pictures of her observances.  

Soon enough, we made our way back down the mountain.  Ava talked NON-STOP.  She loved the trail, the trees, the rock hopping, the water slowly moving under the frozen surfaces, the dogs we encountered, the bridges, the fallen trees, the...the...the.  We rounded another corner approaching the trail head.  After hitting the road, we jogged to the car and hopped in to get warm.  Hot chocolate was definitely in order.  We had a great time.  I can't wait to embark on another adventure with my baby girl.

The Girls