This year, I believe that the girls and I gave him the best gift imaginable... our first family backpacking trip! (Correction: The girls have joined us on two winter backpacking trips at Oil Creek State Park the past 2 years, but we only hike about a mile, so it only sorta counts!) We headed to the Adirondacks (ADK) in upper New York. It's a place near and dear to my heart since backpacking there in college and Jake fell in love with the area last year on his "guys trip".
We weren't sure if 6-year-old Heidi was really strong enough, but she was determined to prove her merit. PROVE IT SHE DID! Afterwards, I confessed that if I had known the difficulty and length of our hikes, I never would have agreed to bring the kids, but I'm so glad that we conquered it together!
Backpacking gave us so much time for deep (and not so deep) conversations, overcoming fears, celebrating each other's gifts, laughter, and memories. I look forward to a lifetime of this with this crew.
|Heidi and Hazel hiking in...they carried their own sleeping gear and clothes! Tough kids :)|
|Our home away from home for 2 nights! We erected the tent in the lean-to so that we could sleep bug free!|
Jake is in his element deep in the forest. He is tireless, confident, and a walking guide book. Hazel is also particularly interested in picking up every creepy crawly, finding egg sacks under leaves, and dipping into every mountain stream.
What I didn't expect, despite being married to this man for almost 12 years...was that on our long hike day, we would take AN ABANDONED TRAIL. Sigh, this should not have surprised me.
|Guess which trail the Kosker's chose?|
We hiked up Benny's Brook to Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain. The first half of the rock slide hike led past streams that the girls enjoyed playing in. As we went up, it got steeper and steeper. We needed breaks about every 20 feet!
|I always appreciated it when Jake grabs the camera so we have photo proof that I'm there too :)|
|Natural water slide!|
|I couldn't get over how fearless the girls were. Even when they were nervous, they charged ahead without complaint!|
|What a view! We started deep in that valley.|
|Sisters who summit.|
|THE SUMMIT (and giving Mama a heart attack.)|
After our hike, we were TIRED! We ate a delicious dinner at the lean-to and then headed across the creek to Johns Brook Lodge...where they sell homemade ice cream! We enjoyed that each evening along with some friendly, competitive Jenga!
|Guess who lost this round? |
|2 nights backpacking and we were still all smiles!|
After 2 nights, I was ready for the Lake Placid part of our trip! My mom had been near-by, enjoying a lovely BnB (The Snow Goose Inn) and she picked the girls and I up for a day of swimming in a pool, hot tub, delicious meals, and cute shops.
What did Jake do? What Jake often does... head into the mountains for a trail run. He ran the Great Range Traverse, 22+ miles and conquered 12 high peaks. To each their own ;)
We capped our trip off with a day at Niagara Falls. We enjoyed revisiting some of the places from my childhood when my dad worked in Buffalo and spent 1/2 his time there and 1/2 in PA. We also treated the girls to a ride on the Maid of the Mists...we were the first ones on the boat and got a prime location in the bow of the ship. So much fun!
Happy Father's Day Jacob Kosker! We are so blessed to have you as our adventure guide!