I was going through some photos, trying to get an order ready to get some prints, and I ran across these -- these were taken when we went hiking up at Swallow Falls State Park here in Maryland last month. We try to get up there about once a year, and this visit was particularly nice because for some reason, hardly anyone was there. The weather wasn't great - at one point we had to duck under some hemlocks to avoid a passing shower and some thunder rumbled in the distance, but we escaped the worst of it, luckily and were able to do the whole trail, and see both Swallow Falls (that's the one Matthew is looking at), and Muddy Creek Falls, which at a whopping 53 feet, is actually the highest falls in Maryland. They're running high in these photos because we had such a wet spring. Usually, the water's not quite this high - but it's always nice to see a waterfall at it's peak!
It's a nice spot - Garrett County is Maryland's westernmost county out in the panhandle, and is the county just west of where we live. There's lots of nice parks up there, lots of public land. Lots of places to go hiking and camping, or rent a cabin for a few nights if you wanted. We're pretty fortunate to have all that practically in our backyard - we love to pack a little picnic lunch and drive up there for the day. And because of the elevation, it tends to be cooler so in the hot summer months, it can be a cool escape, especially if you find a trail under some of the old, towering hemlocks. Nothing beats a hemlock forest on a hot summer's day - it's Mother Nature's air conditioning!
Anyway, we were pretty proud of our boys - although Matthew spent very little time in the stroller (Mark folded it up and put it on his shoulder for most of the hike!). He's sort of at the stage where we can't trust him to walk with us, but he won't be restrained! But Jonathan's getting to be a regular woodsman! The kid loves trails, loves to hike. He WANTS to go off on side trails and go to the water's edge and throw rocks. We try to gently discourage this, but his sense of adventure just runs non-stop, and we have a hard time not letting him just go and explore - after all, how else do they learn?
There's nothing like taking a kid outside and exposing him to all nature has to offer. Recently we took a drive close to home doing a little birding, mostly from the car, and Jonathan had a fit because we forgot his binoculars. He loves to be outside and explore, and I think Matthew's going to be much the same way.
Stay tuned for more pics along this theme: we've been trying to get up to Blackwater Falls in West Virginia for several weeks now, but life keeps getting in the way. Maybe this weekend!