Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Break Hiking Trip: Part One

The kids' Spring Break happened to fall on the last two days of a special rate on cottages at some Kentucky State Parks, so we headed down to Pine Mountain for a couple of days exploring.

Our 2-bedroom cottage was really cool.  And it even had a television so we could watch the Kentucky Wildcats punch their ticket to the Final Four!

Essie & Chloe were really proud of their color coordination (and their new water bottles).

AJ exploring around the cottage

Chloe showing off her climbing muscles

Some early morning reading so Mom & Dad can sleep in...a little.

The ladies are ready for a hike!

A bison on the Virginia side of the mountains

Way up there is our destination - the White Rocks, on the border of Kentucky and Virginia

Our path up the mountain - a 3-mile hike, one-way!

Dad offers some guidance on stream-crossing 

Cool mountain stream

Our climbing girls

Can you see the cliffs above us?  That's where we're headed.

Slowly climbing upward

And the views begin to get more spectacular

A quick rest with a nice view

The girls begin to drag, so Dad offers two helping hands.

Looking up at our destination

Almost there!

Surprised to find some snow remaining on top of the mountain

AJ makes a snowball on a 70-degree day

Essie, with the White Rocks in the background


Eating lunch on top of the mountain

The last few hundred feet

And what a view!

Looking back into Virginia

More climbing opportunities

Mom & Dad

Some kind hikers from East Tennessee were nice enough to take our only family picture of the trip.

Always monkeying around

Heading a mile across the ridge to see Sand Cave

Descending down to the cave

Sparkling waterfall next to Sand Cave

Sand cave is not so much a cave as it is an overhang - over a football field-sized expanse of deep, soft sand.

Some ice remains on branches below the water drizzling off the overhang

Looking back at the waterfall

Amy's been asking for a beach vacation.  This isn't exactly what she meant.


Chloe:  "That looks like nostrils!"

The cave really is a spectacular sight.  But not very easy to get to.

Essie finds a perfectly-sized seat.

Chloe checks out the waterfall

Climbing back up to the ridge.  Legs getting pretty tired at this point.

Finally, headed back down the mountain

This was by far the most strenuous hike we've ever been on - about 8 miles, half of which was uphill.  Honestly, it nearly did us all in.  We got back to the cottage as one tired family.

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