We went off trail and the kids played in a shady, muddy creek. Bea wore jeans and water boots, but waded in way past the boot tops. Amby wore jeans and crocs and got fully soaked. I know that wet jeans are miserable. But they aren't as bad as poison ivy. Also, as irrational as it might seem, the more skin that's covered, the less afraid of snakes I tend to be. We didn't see any water moccasins and maybe the precautions were unnecessary, but I'm a careful-ish mama.
We hiked through the woods and saw the mountain laurel in bloom. We found a moss-covered clearing with a crumbling altar off to one side of it. We found a rustic gazebo covered in professions of love. Everything was so idyllic, I could almost hear a Miyazaki-esque soundtrack in my mind's ear.
When we got back to the car, the children were covered in mud. They washed (sort of?) in the river and I stripped them for the ride home. I was so tired, I was sure they would immediately nap. Oh, but it doesn't work that way.
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To tie it all up with a nice bow at the end of the day, we started our new bedtime story, Howl's Moving Castle.