Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brandywine Falls, Sagamore Hills, Ohio

Our friend P., Bug, and Monkey

Last week, we visited an incredible park: Brandywine Falls, which is actually part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  It's only about 30 minutes from where we live, and yet I'd never been there before.  (For shame!)  You start off the 1.5-mile trail walking on a boardwalk along the rocky gorge walls.  Of course we had to take the optional detour down a long set of stairs that leads to the observation deck for viewing the falls.

This picture doesn't really do justice to the size and beauty of the falls; they are breathtaking!

A warning though:  once you are ready to leave the observation deck, you have to climb back up all those stairs.  (This is one of two sections.  Maybe there were three.  Yeah, it definitely felt like three...)

The trail then goes up and over the falls, then it gradually winds down the other side of the gorge, until at the bottom you reach an easily accessible, wide open stretch of creek bed.  We all spent a long time playing there and had lots of fun... and all three boys ended up soaked from head to toe, despite the water being mostly just ankle deep!

The view upstream, with a cute little boy for scale...

The view downstream

As I took this photo, Monkey was saying to me, "This place is amazing!  This is the awesomest thing ever!"

Bug, doing some investigating.

Me & my guys.  Photo courtesy:  P.


It was Monkey's idea for them all to pose here...

The whole time we were there, these dragonflies were all around us.  I kept trying to get a good shot of one, and this was my best.

Overall, a great hike, a great park, and a great day.  The kids all absolutely loved it.  The only drawback is, after you leave the creekbed, the trail heads back up the gorge and there are more steep steps to climb.  By this time Bug was tired and wanted to ride in the backpack carrier, so I was climbing those steps, with 30-ish pounds of kid on my back, in 90-ish degree temps.  It was a challenge, to say the least!  We were all really glad to make it back to the van and crank up the a/c!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Transit of Venus Was a Bust For Us

Here we are at the top of the sledding hill at Firestone Metro Park, where there was supposed to have been a gathering organized by the Astronomy Club of Akron.  You can see the rainy, hazy, overcast weather behind us.  I had spent the afternoon cleaning up the telescope (it was pretty dusty from not having been used in a while) and hunting down all of the relevant accessories for it.  We loaded it in the car and headed out, hoping it would clear up for at least a few moments but gave up after standing around looking at the sky for an hour or so.  Monkey did have a good time - he found another little kid to run around and play with, so he was perfectly content.  So the scope got to go for a ride in the car, and I got to visit a local scenic spot I hadn't been to before, but alas - not a single peep at Venus.  I was disappointed, but it also made me feel even luckier for getting to see it 8 years ago.

Mama's Boy

Monkey:  Why does Daddy live at a different place from Gommy?
Me:  Well, when he grew up, he married me, and moved into his own house.
Monkey:  I want to be with you always!  I would never think of moving, 'cause I love you!
Me:  Okay that's fine with me!  *heart melts*