A few weeks back we took a stay-cation and visited someplace that is somewhat close to home. During our stay we decided to take the kids south to Giant City State Park in Illinois to hike some of the many trails and introduce them to hiking through the woods.
When we arrived we started at the visitor’s center and got some information about the park and also viewed some of the displays about some of many species in the park. This was a lot of fun actually because the kids were very interested to my surprise in what the animals are, where the trails went in the park, and genuinely enjoyed looking and playing with the different things. After this we went and climbed the water tower to look out over the park. I have to admit I was not a fan of the heights after we started, but pulled through for the kids and got to the top to look around.
Our first hike we decided to do the nature trail which is a moderate one mile long trail. I was concerned at first about how the kids would do with the hike because of the distance. We walked around the sandstone bluffs, climbed a few smaller rocks, and seen many sights. But to my surprise, they completely enjoyed the hike and even prompted us to do two more trails after we had been done! I was pleasantly surprised and we continued on.
During the hike a found myself looking around a number of times and floating back to those memories of my childhood roaming through the woods and enjoying the peacefulness of the wilderness around me. These memories I hope to instill in my children so that they can also look at the woods and nature as an escape for life’s many challenges as they grow older.
After hiking a few trails and working up an appetite we decided to hit the lodge for lunch. After reviewing the menu I settled on a french dip sandwich instead of the bison burger. Without question it was the best french dip I have had to date. Additionally, they offer a family style chicken dinner which by looking at the other tables around us must be a very popular option.
When we got back into the truck and started to pull out of the park we started the normal road driving chit-chat and you can bet Giant City will be on our short list of places to re-visit in the near future!