18 of 40 - smoke and davey trails
Saturday found us in the woods, and of course, I couldn't have been happier. Jesse too. The kids endure our love of the woods and are good sports. They both actually really enjoy hiking. Roone would use the word "love" and although Ella would say she'd rather be reading or writing she gets plenty of time do those things so a bit of fresh air doesn't hurt her. We are very thankful both kids have grown strong, both mentally and physically, because we hiked 7.5 miles over the course of five hours and no one complained. We didn't intentionally set out to hike so many miles, but did start out early in the day, around 9am, so that we could have the entire day to enjoy ourselves. Seven and one half miles is a good workout, however, and we were all feeling it later in the day.
We began at the Smoke and Davey trail head at Smithville Lake which provides both a paved trail and single track mountain biking/hiking options. We, of course, wanting the challenging, rocky, scenic trail opted for the mountain biking trails. These were a connected group of trails including: Old Grandad, Happy Jack's, TNT, Neal's, Possen Trot, Lower Lakeside, Paradise Alley, Thirty-Four and WTT. The most enjoyable trails to me were Neal's and Lower Lakeside. We hiked these at the beginning of the day (before I was tired, maybe?) and they provided the most consistent views of the lake. Jesse has been fishing here and brought the kids to view Snowy Owls some years ago, but I had never been so it was a treat to be in a new place. The trails were well marked and cared for, always a plus, and it was great that a paved trail was provided for road bikes, runners and casual walkers. All the trails ended at Sailboat Cove providing a pretty view of an area with, of course, sailboats, and then looped back to the trail head.
After having a very long break from hiking due to the hot, humid season of Summer, it's very sweet to have the option of being back in the woods for a family hike. I'm not sure we'll make it to 40 for the year, time IS running out, but the number really isn't important. Hiking has become a consistent activity for our family that is healthy and fun and bonds us together ~ the number of hikes doesn't matter, but strengthening our relationships does.