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That’s a Wrap!!!

Another school year in the books, the last day of school is one of my top five favorite days of the years!!

The boys and I now get to get ready for the adventures that come with our summer break. This year will be no exception in just over 48 hours we will be on the road heading towards the great north-west!

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Hikapalooza the Fifth Day!!!

What a difference a day makes….

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Today I didn’t pick the trail until this morning and decided on one I had done before and was pretty comfortable with, I went with the Kiwanis Trail in the South Mountain park system. The funny thing with this trail is that last week when I started thinking about this hike a day for spring break I thought this trail would be to long and challenging for the boys at 2.7 miles in length. Well with a technical 5 miler and two other 2 plus milers under their belt this now seemed like a very doable hike for these super trekker kids. The backpack was double checked and we loaded up and headed to South Mountain with a quick stop at Circle K to refresh my depleted gum stash. Taking the trip through South Phoenix is always full of interesting things and people even at 8:30 in the morning and just like that you go from the city to a huge nature area.

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I was happy to see only 3 other cars in the small lot at the trail head as today was going to be a take our time and no rush type of hike. Everyone had good attitudes and only Munch had to pee so things couldn’t get much better. Once I got Munch situated behind a bush to handle his business I got the other 2 some gum and then we hit it. I had already figured I was going to be carrying Luc more then normal with his little legs tired from a week of adventures, but it turned out to be most of the day. The perks of being a super special two year old… This was the first hike where we were able to see petroglyphs on the rocks not far off the trail but far enough after the snake nobody dared explore. The weather was perfect in the ravine that our hike lead us through mostly shade with some sun patches. As we made our way up the trail before we knew we were climbing the last bit up to the main road that ran through the park. This where a vote was taken we carry on across the street and jump on the National Trail and finish up at the 85 year old rock building on the top, Munch voted yes and Drew said nay and the yes’s had it. Drew slightly dejected fell in behind us as we headed up the last little bit of climbing for the day, the reward of a snack kept the pace up and with Luc in my arms we made it lickity split. Once at the top you could see how much crap was in the air today more than normal for sure, a quick photo and some water plus the much anticipated snack everyone was ready to head down and call it a day. With very little traffic we were able to knock out the return in almost half the time plus with Luc on my shoulders for all but the last 100 yards it the day was done. With only a couple minor falls and some very knotted shoulders today was the kind of mellow no stress hike the boys need to avoid becoming jaded about hiking. Today was nearly perfect and will be hard to top but we shall see what tomorrow holds….

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-F2P

 

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Hike #4 : The missed turn…

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Today was already starting out with a little less enthusiasm then the 3 previous days, but we still were able to get out of the house by 8:30.  I had decided last night that we would be hitting the Piestewa Nature Trail 304 I read in Take a Hike Phoenix that it was a super kid friendly 1.3 mile loop, just what I was looking for especially with the current attitudes in the truck.  We got the trail head and 2 of the 3 boys had lightened up but my sweet Drew had dug in and was ready to battle for the next hour or so…

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We set off and I decided to help Luc up the first little climb just to avoid an early burn out and potential melt down from a hyper sensitive touchy group. We quickly crossed paths with some young ladies who tried engaging Drew in a chat about lizards and he not only ignored them he gave them the “why do you think you can speak to me?” squint and stare. This is where I draw the line and its time to have a little chat, it went something like this….

”you want to have a bad day? Okay have one, but you’re not allowed to be rude and try to ruin others good day. So you need to take a seat on this rock and we will come back for you in a bit, but once you’ve decided to snap out of it you can try and catch up.”

…and away Luc, Munch and I went. Maybe 10 feet of trail were covered before a teary seven year old rejoined the group and once again we were 4 and onward we went. At about 25 minutes in we had reach a ridge and figured it was a good time for snacks and drinks, this was welcomed with open hands and mouths. Out of no where I was struck by the quart and a half of water I drank earlier wanting to exit my body but there wasn’t an ideal place to relieve the pressure, so we carried on and this is where the day was about to make the day EPIC. I finally found a spot off the trail and still able to see the boys, once the euphoric relief had come to an end we marched on. Slowly as the minutes and steps passed I started to get that feeling that we had missed the turn that would have finished the loop back to the parking lot. I went to retrieve the trail guide when to my surprise it wasn’t in the backpack but rather next to my bed where I had been scouting out today’s hike last night. I pushed on with a 15 min time limit set internally for the next evaluation of the situation, and the distance covered in that 15 minutes had to be a record for a 2 year old because we covered some ground with no left turn to be found. At this point I was pretty sure we had ended up on the 1A trail mostly to the trail markers that said “1A” its usually a good indicator anyway. So we took a break to get some more water in and I made the decision to keep moving forward , I was pretty sure this trail was a loop and the fact it was still in the 60’s out the adventure began. At this point we were squarely on the back side of the mountain from where we had started which solidified my decision to just not turn back and just return the way we came. To the north I could see what I was pretty sure was Trail 100 that runs east to west through the length of the park for almost 11 mile one way which all I could think about is how much I want to run it, but that was for a different day. Then out of no where there was the VOAZ trail that headed south and appeared to head up the mountain, but I didn’t recognize the name and there were no one else around so we continued on the trail we were on. In hind site if we would of hopped on that trail it would have taken pretty much back to 304 the trail we were on, oh well next time. This was the moment I truly didn’t know where we were and I thought “this is a great chance to teach some life lessons” so I told the boys we were lost but we were lost together. They took the news a lot better than I had anticipated I told them “we will be fine, we have water and snacks” I’m pretty sure that’s all a 7 and 6 year old care about. We had been on the trail for about 2 miles and had only carried Luc a few times I was prepared for a melt down from him as we kept going into the unknown. We had started heading straight west and had gone about a quarter mile when we had another opportunity to take a left and head south so I took it and this was about the time Luc had had enough, to my shoulders he went. We began our blind faith climb up the trail that I know now is called the 1A irregular, we moved at a good pace up to the ridge. Once on the ridge I could see what I wanted to see it was the Freedom 302 Trail that looped around the mountain and would take us back to the promise land, down the other side of the ridge we headed down to the sweet Freedom Trail. We had now surpassed the time and distance we had spent out during the previous hikes and the temperature had began to start creeping up we took our last snack break. Spirits were incredibly high we crossed paths with and older couple and rude boy drew was the first to say “good morning”, things were looking good. I was pretty much carrying Luc in one way or another all the time at this point. Then it happened…. There was a snake on the trail that drew had stepped over without having a clue it was there. The good news it was an just an 18 inch garter snake taking in the rays he looked up and noticed the crowed and headed into a hole, however this was a great teaching moment for the importance of trail awareness. Munch on the other hand only knew that there was a snake and a mini melt down would be with us until the end, no hysterics just a light sob and snot. We finally made our way the mountain until we connected to the Summit Trail and talk about culture shock, we went from seeing 4 people all day into one of the busiest trail in the Phoenix Parks. The descent was quick as there was a resurgent of energy now that the parking lot was in view, the rest was a breeze.

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It turns out we ended up hiking almost 5 miles and I could have been happier about the way it all played out. Its rare we can be thrust into situations that test who we are and how we are going to handle it especially when we are also responsible for children at the same time. Before anyone calls child protective service on me for being an irresponsible father, I did have my phone with full service the whole time and at any time I could of called someone or brought up a map. But I don’t want my kids to rely on that, I want them to know that staying calm and paying attention will keep you much safer than freaking out and shutting down. We also learned that we need to double check our supplies before we leave for the house to make sure we have everything, it was just a book this time. The boys now know what 5 miles feels like so if we were stranded some where they know what they are at least capable of doing. I know I have transformed myself from an obese dad to one that can carry his child up and down a mountain for miles with out losing his breath. And finally and most importantly Luc knows he can chew all my gum and not get yelled out because he is the baby and is spoiled rotten, but I think he already knows that.
-F2P

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Hikapalooza Hike #2 Double Butte Loop!!!

Today’s hike was a pretty big step up from yesterday’s jaunt up Hole in the Rock, today’s hike was on the Double Butte Loop trail which was also part of the Papago Park trail system. Though its spelled BUTTE in a house of boys it was pronounced BUTT with lots of giggles every time. Go big or go home was today’s theme going from under a mile yesterday to almost 2.5 miles today was going to be huge test for 6 short legs and possibly a bigger test of patience for me.

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We arrived at the trail head this morning and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect with the temperature right around 60 and with only few cars in the lot my hopes for the day were already pretty high. Munch, the middle boy, would be carrying the back pack on today’s adventure.  The contents of the pack was, of course, water plus a few snacks, a pair of gloves, baby wipes, a field guide of North American insects, a 7 in 1 tool, and most importantly my copy of Take a Hike Phoenix which has a map of the trail in it. A quick photo in front of the trail signage and review of trail etiquette and how to avoid being eaten we were off! The trail was very well established and marked well with the blue 5’s on the trail markers which was made things super easy to stay on course and also gave the boys something to focus on. The first segment flew by and we arrived at the Eliot Ramada in about 20 mins and took a moment to drink up and do a quick check of everyone’s well-being and general attitudes, and all were good. At this point we could have just turned around and returned to the head or headed west and taken the shortened version of the loop which I had originally planned on with it being just over 1.5 miles, but with spirits high we headed east to tackle the Big Butt (butte) Loop. The trail begins to get a touch more technical with looser footing on the rolling parts.  This is where we had our first and only skinned knee which was handled like a champ and not one tear shed. As we round the mountain it’s the first time we cross path with other hikers and without skipping a step the boys fall into single file and stay to the right and allow the not as friendly as us folks pass, I praise the boys for their manners and effort as we continued on our way. We approach the back side of the mountain we reach the amphitheater which is used as another trail head since it has available parking on the road there is a small group of people running the stairs and I usher the boys through quickly to avoid Luc wanting to participate and mostly a meltdown. Once we are free and clear of the group and I offer up snacks and another drink break which was received with open arms, the snack part anyways.  We take a moment for a picture or two and make our way back to the Eliot Ramada where again we have a fork in the road. At this point we could of returned on the original trail or continue following the loop with everyone still holding on to smiles we stayed on course to finish the loop. This puts us on a trail that again is fairly wide and flat and heads towards the western boundary of the park right along the neighboring golf course, the boys have now also been taught golf etiquette. Moments after this life lesson, Luc has decided his little legs where finished and promptly took a seat to express his feeling about the situation, with less than half a mile left this wasn’t a battle worth fighting so onto my shoulders he happily went. As the end neared the boys again responded to traffic on the trail flawlessly this time with 2 mountain bikers on a descent, the two gentlemen were very appreciative of our allowing them the right of way and I was very proud of my tired little adventurers. I put Luc back on the ground for the closing steps of our journey and as he had the day before expressed his pride of a job well done and said hello to the ladies just beginning their trek.

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I could not have been any prouder of my children and how they absolutely killed it out there with little to no complaints. All 3 were treated to muffins for a job well done and a ra-ra pep talk for tomorrow’s new adventure!!!

-F2P

 

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Back Yard Farming Friday!!!!

The biggest irony of my life is that I’m plant based and I have chickens that lay lots of eggs, and I’ve never eaten one!  At this point if I was ever to go back to eating animal products I don’t think I could eat eggs again, the egg/pooh hole is one in the same….

I now present to you my girls doing what they do, turn up the volume and enjoy!


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RoadID!!!

I am now a RoadID affiliate! What does that mean? Well if you are interested in buying a RoadID or any of their products click on the ad in the side bar and i get a few cents kicked back my way. Its a WIN WIN!! I wear mine everyday running or not,  think about any time you are out and who around you would know who to call in case of an emergency.  Chances are very few would know that info…. There are tons of styles and options to choose from.

Check it out!

-F2P