A couple weeks ago, Jake and I decided to take the kids on a hike at Castlewood State Park. This is a nearby State Park that is about 15-20 minutes away from our house. I've seen a lot of pictures and they all looked beautiful, so I had been really wanting to go check it out.
I could give you a short and sweet version of this little adventure of ours, but to have the true version to look back on (and hopefully laugh about) I'm going to give you the longer version.
Of course, the day we planned to go was on a Saturday and we woke up to rain. But later in the afternoon it cleared up. So we thought we'd go once Avery woke up from her nap. Avery decided to take a long nap that day though, so we were pushing it on time. I had done a little research and found a trail that took you to the cliff that over-looks the river, but was only about a mile and a half long. The estimated time was about an hour, so we had time to go but would only have a little bit of time to spare beyond that hour before it would start getting dark. We still decided to go and thought we'd be just fine.
We packed water, snacks and all the things I thought we'd need, forgetting the most important... bug spray! We even mentioned that we needed to grab the bug spray, but in the chaos of getting 2 kids ready and out the door (you moms know what I mean) we forgot the bug spray. Well how bad could it be, we thought. Ha.
We found the park and trail easily. We were doing great, taking turns carrying Avery along and managing quite well. Jackson found a walking stick right off the bat and we were all excited to get to the top. We made it up to several look-outs and the view was gorgeous, just as I expected it would be.
At some point though, the trail we were on merged with a longer trail. I'm not even sure where we went wrong but we ended up down several flights of stairs and down right along the river. This would have been totally okay with me except we were running out of daylight and the mosquitos down there were literally trying to carry us off. I was starting to get a little panicked because I was worried we wouldn't make it back to our car in time before it got dark. It didn't help that Jake was hot, tired and getting irritated that we somehow got turned around and Jackson was going crazy with the mosquitos buzzing around his ears. He kept saying, "these bugs are making me nervous." Ha. Thankfully, Avery is still too young to care and was just happy to be outside.
We walked quickly though and thankfully found our way back to the car with only a sliver of daylight to spare and unfortunately, a ton of mosquito bites! I was never so happy to see the car! I ended up counting around 30 mosquito bites on myself and around 10 on each of the kids. Jake somehow came out with very few (not sure how that's possible.)
However, minus the mosquito bites and getting a little lost, I'm really glad we did it and we did have a good time for the first half of the trail. I'd really like to go back when we can go in the morning and remember the bug spray! It's a really nice State Park with very nice trails, playgrounds and creeks. The views from the top are spectacular and there are train tracks that run right alongside the Meramec River, so the kids loved seeing the trains go by. It was something really fun to do as a family and I'm looking forward to a day when we can go back.