After our 5K mud run, Jennie and I went home and showered, and then collected some family members to hike Stewart Falls with us. We were both surprised and happy that so many people could come. We ended up with Josh, Erin and the boys, Jacob and Scar, Jennie, Me, Kevin, and the girls, and Grandpa Uda and Gizmo!
We went into the hike knowing that Lily would have to be carried the whole way, and Brooklyn would need some help here and there. It was a 4 mile hike after all and that's a long way for a 1 and 3 year old! But Kevin was a good sport and did his fatherly duty like a pro!
Although the girls spent most of their time on Kevin's shoulders, they were lucky (as was Kevin) to have so many other people around who didn't mind shouldering them for a while :)
Jennie took her turn with Lily at the beginning of the hike. I thought they looked really cute together in their matching orange clothing.
I took Lily for a while as well, and she did her very best to make sure my hair was a disaster by the time she got down :)
Even Grandpa Uda got in on the action. He handed Gizmo (who also got carried the whole way) over to me and took Lily for a while. She LOVED all the attention!
Grandpa also spent some time carrying Brooklyn, or just walking with her and listening to her jabber on about unicorns and fairies.
Brooklyn actually managed to walk the entire 2 miles up ALL by herself! And most of the way down for that matter. But it helped that Grandpa was willing to take it slow and stop for some Gizmo-petting-breaks.
We also stopped a few times for photo-ops...obviously. After all, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a picture of this little guy. Kevin and I spotted this tree about 5 years ago, right after it was plowed over by an avalanche. We've managed to take a picture of it almost every year and in every season since then.
Finally we reached the waterfall (along with about 30 other hikers) and were able to sit, relax, and enjoy the view together.
Brooklyn and Josh were both very deep in thought about that view as you can see here!
We took some time to play around while we were at the falls too. Lily probably had the most fun though since she was the only one small enough to go on the Daddy ride!
I was pretty tired by the time we got there because of our early morning race, but I was SO glad that we went. ESPECIALLY since there are no mountains to be seen in Illinois, and thus, no where to hike.
Kevin wasn't tired though (he never really is) so he spent some time playing with the boys!
And then he and Jake took off to practice being irresponsible and dangerous...
Which of course meant they hiked up the steep cliff to get a better view of the falls.
And possibly drove their wives to tears when they were spotted on the side of the mountain. :)
But despite the craziness, we all had a fantastic time together and I felt SO lucky to have a family who loves me and who were willing to spend the afternoon hiking Stewart Falls with us! Thanks guys, we had a BLAST!