Things have been a little different and crazy around here lately. Nick is in between a nice cushy, long-commuted, salary-paid job annnnnd a part-time grading/full-time woodworking job. Between jobs means he is being trained in the mornings and works late into the evenings. And I am on my own. All. day. long. Until after bedtime or so. I am not trying to complain (although I could sure give you an earful if you wanted to listen) I am just stating that, well, its been exhausting for everyone. This past Sunday was completely free, and so we took advantage of our day of freedom and drove off into the wilderness and ended up at Swallow Creek Falls State Park in western Maryland.
Muddy Creek Falls (above) was the largest and most impressive of the falls we saw. It is somewhat amazing how a seemingly normal forest opens up to such a dramtic drop in water! If you haven't noticed, we have a thing for chasing waterfalls all over the area. This park was about 2 hours away, and even though I had my doubts as our small town sunk further and further behind us, it was worth every whine and question... "are we there yet?" My husband delivered yet another sweet spot of beauty... within the borders of a far away land.
Kieran loves being outside and pretty much anywhere that isn't our house, stuck indoors with 3 women. He spent most of our adventure in the Beco on Nick's back. He was mesmorized by the water, as were our little hiker girls.
I enjoyed trying out my Nikon d3100 while photographing the amazing views, but more unfortunately I learned a very important lesson: When slowing the shutter speed to get the soft, flowing water look... USE A TRIPOD. Remember that advice when you venture into the world of dsl photography without AUTO mode. I am still happy that I have such a nice camera and feel that trial and error is the only way to learn... even if for me that means many, many errors.
The above picture is probably my favorite. This small 5-foot fall was very pretty and it cascaded into a sandy pool of freezing cold, crystal clear water! The kids were thrilled to death to cast aside their sandals and splash around for a while. Even Kieran enjoyed throwing handfulls of sand into the pool.... for a very, very long time. I think we could have stayed forever.
The entire forest surrounding the creek was composed of hemlock and white pines that towered over us magnificently. The entire ground, and fallen logs below were covered in a bright green moss and we felt as if we had stepped into a fairy land.
I am so grateful that we are so close to such neat little pockets of nature and that my children get to participate in it. I know that even though our house is tiny, and we are often imperfect parents, my children will remember these times, when we go venture in to the forest in search of magical places.
And on our way home, we happened to take a road that led past Black Water Falls State Park in West Virginia. We enjoyed a quick hike to Elakala falls there:
This is definitely one of our favorite falls. :) It is so beautiful and you walk across a bridge above the falls to get to it. Apparently there is a pretty long hike you can take and view about 6 different falls. Maybe next time! :) I already have so many ideas for our next trip out this way! There is a really neat site swimmingholes.org whre you can find a whole bunch of swimming holes in different regions. Some of them are "Walden's Pond" rated meaning that they are safe for children. Of course, safe means something different to different people, but I can't think of too much better than swimming in a pool fed by a waterfall. Can you?