Dave and I have not always been on the ball about celebrating our anniversary, especially since having kids, but the ten-year anniversary didn’t seem like one to be skipped out on. We debated for a while; meals out are nice, but childcare is always a sticking point, and anyway we’ve had more fun when we’ve done things a little less traditional. So this year we put thought into something that would be fun for the whole family. We decided to go for a hike and a picnic out in the Columbia River Gorge.
Initially we chose the Bridal Veil waterfall hike because it seemed like a nice short hike that we thought the kids could do. And they did — in record time. Sometimes I think we underestimate the energy that those young legs possess.
The day was still young when we finished both the hike and our picnic. (We went a little crazy on the picnic, eschewing sandwiches for oven-fried chicken, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, cheese, nectarines, and snickerdoodles for dessert. Oh, it was so worth it.)
Fortunately the Gorge is one of the most beautiful places on earth (in my completely unbiased opinion), and there are a wealth of hikes and attractions within just a few miles of each other. We headed down the road a bit, chose a likely-looking spot to pull off, and found ourselves right next to an old tunnel. This was part of the original highway along the Columbia Gorge, which was apparently very impressive for its time. The tunnel had been restored, and was the perfect structure to interest two small boys.
After that we explored the creek below for a while, and then headed out on a longer hike that eventually took us past three more waterfalls. Our favorite was the one that shot out from the edge of a rocky cliff, allowing the path to actually curve behind the waterfall. The boys thought that was pretty exciting.
This was certainly a longer hike, and there were occasional moments of complaint from our little troopers (“My legs are tired!” Ryan complained whenever he got bored), but we took it slow. Overall they made remarkably little protest about all the walking. Nathan in particular seems to light up when he gets out in the woods. When we finished the hike and found yet another waterfall with a pool, they both had enough energy to go wading.
It is true, though, that they both fell asleep within minutes after we got back into the car.
Ten years. I have to love where that time has taken us.