Today was sort of a monumental day. First official day of summer, my last day of Facebook after 8 years, and our first official trip on our tour of the NC State Parks.
Destination: Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines.
Thankfully, this was a relatively short trip which did not require the kids to mindlessly zone out staring at the screen of the emergency entertainment, otherwise known as iPad.
Of course we get half-way there and Baby Bear asks, “So where’s the picnic?” Fail #1-we forgot the lunch I spent all morning packing. I would not lose faith, for I planned a surprise stop at the Fresh Market AFTER we completed the trails at the preserve. Because of course, one can’t just go somewhere with kids without scouting the area a bit first.
I didn’t scout well enough, though. Because a little further on the trip I was thoroughly convinced we were going the wrong way. I stopped at the first place I saw, a “Lucky” joint which turned out to be a gas station/motorcycle repair shop/fried chicken joint/NC-Dept of Corrections hang out. Yes, little did I know, I chose the gas station directly next to the Prison in Hoke County. The kids got a clean bathroom, and I got the vague impression from one of the several men with guns that we were going the right way. Sweet.
We finally arrive and I was so glad to see the Visitor’s Center. I love to get insider tips from the people there. It’s also nice to have clean bathrooms Tiny Bear decided she liked it, too. Only her favorite part wasn’t hearing about the trails or creek we might see; it was climbing over/sliding down the couches they had set up in the lobby. Great.
Upon seeing this, I apologized for my children’s behavior and got out on the trails as quickly as we could.
After walking for a bit, I started to realize I didn’t entirely anticipate all that hiking in the summer might include…and the sign indicating the area might have pine snakes didn’t help my nerves much.
But I was determined we were all going to have a good time. So we looked at mushrooms, lots of dragonflies, pretty purply moths, and of course, the item most advertised at Weymouth-the long leaf pine needles.
The kids favorite part was the Boardwalk that took us across the tiny body of water known as James Creek.
We stopped at a small gazebo for some shade and watercolor painting. I asked the kids to paint what they had seen. And I was about to read some passaged from the Bible I had brought along when I saw a spider and decided it was time to move on.
I carried Tiny Bear pretty much the whole way back (which was only a mile, but still exhausting). Baby Bear said he never wanted to go to a “park” like this ever again. His legs were MUCH too tired. And we got to the Fresh Market and lunch as fast as we could.
En route, I was in awe of all the amazing estates; beautiful homes accompanied by large acres of barns and horses. I said a silent wish that I could have the chance to live somewhere like this someday.
At the Fresh Market, the kids tapped into their second wind of energy which made shopping not so enjoyable. But probably saved me from spending any more than I did.
The trip home was quick and easy. We are home rehydrating and resting.
Baby Bear changed his mind and decided he had a good time. Tiny Bear is happy as long as we’re singing relevant princess songs…”Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest…” -Pocahontas
*Shout out to my mom for always putting me on the right path. Symbolically and Mapquestingly.