Friday, August 26, 2016

Mt. Cheaha Family Fun

August in Alabama is always hot and humid, and in past years I was always longing for fall with everyone else, but on this trip home I've been relishing the heat.  It keeps catching me by surprise each time I step out the door to feel the warm embrace of hot, hot air and what now feels like the novelty of hot sun on my skin.  So the heat has been bearable, but the mosquitoes are not.  KJ has said, "I forgot that's one of the reasons we don't go outside in the summer."  They can be vicious.

At the beginning of the month we drove up to higher altitudes where it was 10 degrees cooler, put on our bug repellent, and enjoyed some fun time with my family at Mt. Cheaha State Park.  We were especially excited to meet a nephew and cousin who was born since we moved to the UK.

KJ was a real trooper going to the mountains barely a week after ankle surgery.  Thankfully one of our chalets was handicap accessible.

We made a trip to our favorite local library before the weekend away, so this was the nightly routine.

The pool overlooked the rolling hills, and it felt so good to soak up some sun again.

The kids loved having time with their Murphy cousins.

I went on a hike with my dad to find a waterfall he wanted to check out.  I got nervous when he warned me to watch for rattlesnakes, and I was grateful that was one thing I didn't have to worry about in England.  I do enjoy walking through the Alabama woods, though.  It makes my imagination fill up with all the things we learned in Alabama history in 4th grade.  I know my parents didn't love all the dioramas she made us do, but Mrs. MacArthur had a way of making history come alive in the classroom.

There had not been much rain at this point in the month, so there wasn't a lot of water flowing.  We had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to make it from the top of the trail to the bottom where the pool of water was.

My dad is not daunted for long, though.  The descent wasn't too bad in the end, but I'm still not allowed to show my mom those pictures.  She worries for his waterfall-hunting safety.

We found a great swimming hole at the bottom.

It was a beautiful walk through the woods, and we saw a lot of huge butterflies.  I was happy to be able to get a picture of one enjoying a flower along the trail.

I won't attempt to describe how completely soaked with sweat my clothes were at the end of this walk because it would be sure to be a disgusting description.

Besides some good outside time we enjoyed my brothers' amazing cooking skills on the grill and in the smoker.  There was a lot of good meat-eating.  Jackson loved the smoked chicken legs.

We celebrated Caleb's 4th birthday with my mom's extremely delicious chocolate cake and a surprise new bike for the birthday boy.  The birthday boy managed to beat his injured uncle in a race:  bike vs. wheelchair.

All the little boys wanted a turn on the new bike, even the littlest.

We went to watch the sunset at Bald Rock that night, which had also been made accessible to wheelchairs.  I was happy I could push KJ and give him some fresh air and some time outdoors.

We had such a fun weekend.

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