Sunday, May 24, 2009

Forests and Waterfalls and Cougars, Oh My!!!

A pre-script: Pictures of Saturday's excursion are in the next post. I wasn't able to get this posted sooner. I was having trouble getting to a computer. The sunshine was simply too gorgeous to ignore! And even though this says I posted it Saturday at 3:30 pm... that's when I started writing it. It's actually almost 9:30 am on Tuesday. 

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Matt drives a Jeep. He's only had it a couple months, and it's used but it's pretty cool. Granted it's a two door, but the back seat is big enough and it has belts, so it's alright. And pretty fun. :) Can you see where this is going? 

Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day.  To celebrate his new status as one of the employed, we decided to pop the hard top off the Jeep and christen it with our first full family ride. And just so you know? Watching me try to help get that hardtop off was hilarious. I'm too short to get the darn thing over the spare tire in the back. Thanks to Mr Neil, Liz's friend Hong Ngoc's dad, we finally got the darn thing topless.

About 12, we finally got everyone showered, dressed, bathroomed, and the picnic lunch packed in case we found a good spot. The first 15 minutes were a serious test of both Matt and my tempers as we waited for both kids to get over screaming with what I think was excitement... or was that abject fear? And then there was the quick trip to the coffee shop for mom.

What? Did you honestly think I would brave a topless vehicle that is so tall I literally have to do a chin up to get in the darn thing with out something to boost my own courage? Hah!

Ok, so coffee in hand (since the straw was in the way of the gearshift, the drink was indeed in my hands) off we went, still dealing with squeals from the back seat. I will admit, it wasn't as bad as I thought. As we drove along Highway 203 at a calm 50 mph, I even imagined some pretty pictures taken of my family along side one of the creeks that are scattered through the forest I knew we would be visiting. As the noise from the backseat quieted, I resisted the urge to do a little excited squealing of my own at the prospect of those pictures.

After about a 20 minute drive, not long at all, we arrived at the forest. Markworth State Forest to be exact. I wanted to cry, I was so happy. I've been waiting for 13 years to this particular picture. A picture of both of my children next to a sign. Corny, I know. But I got one!!!! Woot! I even got a few shots of this extremely hidden waterfall. Seriously. If you couldn't hear it, you wouldn't have known it was there. 

We stretched our legs, got the pictures, and then we all hopped back in our seats and set off again. And that's when we saw it. A large animal sunning itself in the road. And wanting to show the kiddos a real live coyate, Matt drew our attention to it.

"Hey look guys! A Coya.... Oh Lord, it's a Cougar!"

I froze. I mean, I was in my seat and all I could think about was all those shows you see on TV where cars drive through nature parks and animals jumping into the car. The shows where bears break into cars with the windows open. And there, nestled in the back seat with no hard top to protect them were my two children... with our picnic basket with our uneaten lunch inside sitting between them. I freaked out. 

And all this happened in under 60 seconds. Mr Cougar heard Matt's engine and those huge tires crunching and he ran away. Did this little episode stop Matt from wanting to continue our trek through the forest? Nope. Onward Hooooo!

The rest of the trip, although we found some really pretty scenery, I wouldn't get out of the Jeep and I was to scared to let the kids get out. Once, we came up on this gorgeous waterfall and Matt got out to  get some pictures for me, but the rest of the trip passed in peace and safety. It was fun.

We decided to take our picnic lunch home and go to the lovely McDonald Park right by our apartment. After lunch, Matt and Liz went over the suspended bridge, while I sat with Eli and he battled the invisible army attacking our now empty picnic basket. The only real damper came later that evening when Matt realized exactly why I insisted on everyone wearing hats. His poor head looks like a lobster!

Hope you guys had a safe and happy weekend. A simple thank you to all the Veterans who have given their lives in service to their country would never be enough to equal the sacrifices made. Simply living our lives and being thankful for the freedoms we enjoy... do you ever wonder if that is enough?


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