After Labor Day, the local parks are practically deserted–a few diehard campers and some rangers, and us! We had a blast running around the park, enjoying the gorgeous fall weather. The campsites are really well-groomed, so there is a lot of room to run off some steam.
This picnic bench had the loveliest tree arching over it. But no rest for the wicked, we had trees to climb!
Here’s the path to our favorite hollow log, where we occasionally have meetings of our preschool group. I felt like I was walking through an inspirational calendar.
Quick detour to climb a smaller log…
Here’s where the other end lets out.
And here’s what you see when you look up.
The log has been carved by decades of campers, so we had to spend some time reading the letters and messages. They’re fun to trace with fingers, many of them are quite deep.
Balancing and practicing some dance moves on a campsite barrier.
So much space to run around! No one to be disturbed, except the birds.
These amazing roots are one end of the Hollow Log. They’re way better than monkey bars.
How shall we climb next?
The blow hole at the top, where small skinny persons can shimmy through to the hollow interior of the log. Not certain mommies who are too fond of their own kitchen experiments, though.
View from the penthouse.
Snack time! Homemade yogurt and Maple Almond Granola, one of my new favorite recipes from the Earthbound Farms cookbook, Food to Live By.
We were still having fun, so we decided to do a little more exploring after lunch. We followed the trail down to the Old Swimming Hole.
Must. Keep. Up.
Another inspirational fall scene…
On summer weekends this area is packed with campers playing in the creek.
I passed this draw and couldn’t help but take a picture, thinking about the massive volumes of water that will be shooting through here in another month or two. It’s hard to see the erosion lines with the leaf cover, but this chute has been carved by water from the top down.
Now this looked like a lot more sliding fun than the last chute.
A very cool mushroom. We had no idea what it was, but we examined the gills, touched the soft tops, and talked a little about why mushrooms like to live in logs and how they make baby mushrooms.
Aha! Two banana slugs. We didn’t see a whole lot of others, compared to some days, but these two were having a picnic just like us!
Here’s another fallen tree we passed, the crater it tore in the ground was pretty massive–you can see the broken bits of root sticking up out of it to the left.
These trees are very cool, from the ground they look like the five fingers of a hand, leaning out over the creek.
A fun place to hide.
Finally, we made it to the largest tree!
Hugging Grandmother Tree.
Another calendar-worthy view on the way home.