Thursday, February 19, 2015

hiking and geocaching M hill

Last Friday's weather was utterly amazing for February, again (!), as it had been the weekend before. We're in the midst of weird spring-like weather - bouncing back and forth between 50s/60s and below freezing/snow. All the while New England is buried under like 100 inches of snow. While they were being battered with a crazy blizzard last weekend, we were hiking in t-shirts and 60 degrees. I love Rapid City.

So, Friday, February 13th found us hiking up M Hill in the very midst of Rapid City. Terry did this trail with the olders in September of 2013 when Ezra was only a few months old. But this time we all went and Snap managed the whole thing just fine (his legs kept giving out on him before...). Also, this time we went further by combining our hike with a geocache search

What was fun for me is that I hadn't actually done this trail since I was probably in elementary school. My entire family went and the only thing I remember about it was when my dad insisted we all go off the trail to get back down. He took us over the very steep front side of the hill! We left mom to traipse back down the safe trail while we followed dad down was seemed to me to be a nearly vertical mountain. I will have to tease my dad about that...

Here they are just getting started. 

We opted to hike with Ezra in a stroller since we didn't anticipate doing anything too crazy. Noah, Evie and I took a shortcut to the top, right over the "M," while Terry toiled up the steep trail, pushing Ezra. But Samuel wanted to stop so much for water that it wasn't too hard on poor Terry. And I gotta say how improved Samuel's attitude and stamina were for this hike. We went twice in the fall (the flume and devil's bathtub) and Samuel wanted carried from the halfway point. He did wonderful this time. 

Once we caught our breathe, Noah and Evie admired the top from probably about the same spot my dad led us down when I was little. Seems pretty vertical doesn't it?!

As Terry, Samuel and Ezra finally summited the hill, Terry took a panoramic shot with his phone. Ezra looks like he has a swollen eye... Oops!

At this point we were trying to decide our next course. We opted to attempt locate where the geocache was and if we could reach it with the stroller. 

As we came back down the trail we took a left hand spur that went up and back to the cell tower. You can see the "M" behind us. 

From the cell tower we turned around took a small trail south down the hill opposite the "M" which wasn't exactly stroller friendly. It was pretty rocky and Terry ended up lifting the back two wheels off the ground and navigating with just the one front wheel. It was like an extreme stroller edition of hiking. I think Ezra had a pretty fun time. I know I did. 

See, we went down the side opposite of the M.

At this point Terry is determining if we had to continue down what was a pretty rough trail. It wasn't too hard on two feet, but it was for three wheels. 

So Ez and I camped out right there and ate our lunch while Terry took the others further down the hill to find the geocache.  

And find it they did! Noah was the one to spot the cache hidden in the rocks. 

The kids prefer this kind of cache - one that's big enough to exchange treasures/junk. We've been leaving these little plastic bears behind, because, you know, we're the six bears!

This was their view. If they had kept going they would have come to a dead end cliff overlooking the creek and trail below.  

When they returned Evie led me back down to show me where the cache was. It took a little extra exploring to figure it out again but she managed it. 

And finally it was time to head home for naps. We took a trail that went west from our location and connected to the main trail back down the way we had come. The kids took another short cut and raced to this little bridge.

We discovered there was another cache along the trail that runs beside the creek. Evie found it and was the first to sign the new logbook. She even managed to stuff a little bear in there, though it wasn't meant to hold one.  

I can't wait for consistent nice weather, but it sure was nice to get some fresh air that day :)

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