Saturday was a fantastic day. Where last weekend was cold and snowy, this weekend was dry and warm at 72 degrees. Like I've said before, recently, Midwest weather wildly fluctuates. We decided before the weekend even got here that we should definitely get out for a hike. So, all four of us (yep, The Teen is still hanging out with us, yay!) packed a picnic lunch, hopped in the car, and headed for Platte River State Park.
We parked near the bigger of the two observation towers, and went into the forest for a good hike. We really explored areas of the park we hadn't gone before, and I pushed myself to hike up every hill without stopping (I'm preparing myself for some serious hiking that we're going to be doing on our family vacation next month). It's a beautiful place with many differing views.
Along the main trail, you can hike up to--and around/on--the small falls that are contained in the park. We've visited these falls in every season, including winter when it was frozen solid, and they're always a treat to see.
A wider view of the falls.
Nature Girl and The Teen love to climb things, especially when we're out hiking.
We moved from the falls trail up into the hills. We came back down over on the side where the Platte River sits. This is a view down the creek that feeds into the park, and thus the falls, from the river.
Dad and Nature Girl climbed up this tree. Gee, I wonder where the kids get their love of climbing from?
When you get to the river itself, there are train tracks that run alongside. A train was coming right after we got there.
After the train passed, we went over the tracks and spent some time admiring the scenery and skipping rocks into the mighty Platte River. Look at that view!
When we finished hiking around the park, we made our way back to the Walter Scott Lodge. The trailhead we entered the forest from is located behind the lodge. Also located behind the lodge are picnic tables, which is where we had our picnic. NG and I made homemade breadsticks, and I brought greens with all the fixin's, veggies with dip, chips & salsa, peanut butter pretzels, and some fruit cups. The weather was gorgeous and we each took turns talking about what we liked about each other. It was absolutely wonderful.
Here's the amazing view we had from our picnic table. Not too shabby, huh?
While Dad and NG climbed the big observation tower, The Teen and I put our cooler back in the car. We noticed behind us were some horses in a field that belongs to the Park. I had no idea the park had horses, so we went over to check it out. A nice couple in their 50s were there feeding them with carrot chunks, and they gave us some. When Dad and NG came down from the tower, NG came sprinting over as she absolutely loves animals.
The Teen went back to our cooler to get the carrots we had for lunch, and we shared them with the nice couple and a few more kids so we could all feed the horses. They were beautiful creatures.
Me petting a horse.
The Teen really enjoyed it. The wife of the nice couple in their 50s asked my son what grade he was in. When he told her he was in 11th grade, she responded with, "You're awfully polite for an 11th grader." It was a nice compliment. Both of our kids are great kids, and it's nice to know other people think so as well.
NG was even wearing her horse t-shirt. *laugh* She especially enjoyed the horses.