Our family really wants to invest in the necessary supplies needed to go on a weekend camping trip. It was even one of my "goals" of 2012 I hoped to accomplish. We still may but, of course, it is a large investment if you only consider a family-sized tent, a camp stove, and sleeping bags. I can think of a few other items I would want to purchase if we were to be camping regularly such as few tarps, rope, a hatchet, a lantern, and probably more camp chairs. Since we are a way off from committing to these investments, we are taking the kids around to visit local parks with decent hiking trails (the more un-paved the better!).
Half way through our hike, my husband turned to tell me and Ella - aka "the stragglers" (ahem, short-legged, almost-two year old) that there were two deer below us near a stream. Of course, the boys started shouting with excitement! And, I was barely able to snap off a few decent photos. You may not believe me but just before Casey alerted us to the deer, I was formulating the thought of how we wouldn't have to worry about seeing unfriendly animals should we go camping because between the wee-voices chattering and the older, sterner warnings of "stay on the path" and "don't touch that plant" we were making quite a ruckus. I suppose those deer were rather used to humans traipsing through their woods and felt quite safe being still a good distance away from us.
I took along a water bottle because, while it was actually a cooler day than we've been having (maybe 95-100 degrees only), hiking with short legs is hard work and the little ones all needed to stay hydrated.
This is the name of the park located in Olathe, KS.
The park was closing when we got there, other than the hiking trails which are open until dusk. However, we got to get a look at the beautiful birds on display before they were taken inside for the night. Above is a gorgeous owl.. And, below is a hawk.
We found a large stump along the trail and Sean was excited because he was as tall as his dad!
Both my almost-two year old daughter and my three year old son collected handfuls of sticks to drop over the bridge into the stream below.
We had such a lovely afternoon as a family and all for free! I can tell our children would have a blast going camping and would run off so much energy that we might, might be able to go to sleep by 9pm. As long as we go after Day Light Savings Time ends!