I woke up this morning about as sick as I’ve been in over a year.   Over a week ago, S decided to take this morning off, and made reservations for us to go hike at a very popular area not too far away.  I couldn’t even sit up without getting nauseous, so he decided to let me sleep and rest, while he took 4 kids on the hike.  I am so proud of him!  Here are a few pics from the morning:

The area is popular because it is a privately owned and managed historic castle, surrounded by beautiful grounds and hiking trails. This is the kids in front of part of the castle.

Very shortly after they started their trek, just off the trail, a herd of bighorn sheep were grazing in a field. The kids were fascinated, but S made them stay close by. It is rut season after all, and he didn't want any bighorn rams heading his direction!

JR hiking down the trail. Along the way, they encountered another herd of about 30 bighorn sheep, on a rock facing just above them.

My little tomboy.

At the main end of the trail is a beautiful waterfall. With the snow they've had in the mountains recently, it was flowing well.

The waterfall was a great chance to take a rest, enjoy the scenery, and let the kids do some rock scrambling.

Even Will got to have some fun. Despite the fact the air temp was around 40 degrees, and the water much cooler, Will is a water-dog, and won't miss a chance to swim!

All in all the kids hiked over a mile, plus all the rock scrambling and playing along the way.  S said it was probably the slowest hike he’d ever done, but they all had a great time.  They returned just before noon, famished and cold, so I prepared warm grilled cheese sandwiches and some hot cinnamon-apple cider for everyone.  S claims some important lessons were learned to.  The kids mostly got to dress themselves before they left, and M (as usual) chose one of her long skirts.  S said between the tree-climbing, water crossings soaking her hems, and always getting her legs tangled in it as she climbed steep hills, we should probably convince her to wear pants on our next hike.  Another big lesson was for JR.  His dad told him it was cold and he needed a winter coat, but JR insisted on wearing nothing but his lined wind-breaker style outfit.  At 40 degrees in the hills, he was rather chilly, and suffered the consequences of his decision.  Fortunately, he was active enough he kept himself fairly warm, but I suspect he will listen to his dad’s suggestion next time! 

They all had a great time though, and want to go back again sometime.  One day, we would like to actually tour the castle itself, and go beyond the waterfall, where we’ve heard there are some hot pools you can swim in.  After lunch, though, all the kids went straight to bed and I think most were asleep in moments.  S headed off to work, and I am anticipating a quiet, relaxing afternoon.