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A lot of hard work went into setting up our campsite, especially with just two people – thank you Dave and Olivia.  Everything was completed before the boys and I arrived leaving only one option; find a trail and take a hike.

                    

The formation has changed as Noah becomes the lead guide and Dave checks the trail map.  All of us with our trusty walking sticks.

When the children were small and we would head out for a day’s hike, Dave always took the lead, I brought up the rear and the children were in the middle.  That way we knew they were safe – that the bear we were certain to see was going to eat one of us before it got to them!  And I should clarify that we have yet to see any animal larger than a raccoon.  Now that the huckleberries are older, they enjoy leading the way, especially Noah.

On this hike, our trail guide was prepared: backpack with first-aid, Camelback hydration pack, Gerber knife and compass.

                   

Noah checks his compass to get our direction and Bailey watches his brother scale the hillside waiting for his turn.

Although we were on an actual marked Wildlife Road – trail, it appeared  not to have been used in years.   In may places it seemed impassable with grass and weeds chest high.  The mountainside was bountifully laden with not quite ripened blackberries.  If we had been a few weeks later on this trail the juicy snack we would have enjoyed!  Of course, where there are so many free growing berry bushes there are also bears so maybe we were there at the right time after all.

          

There were beautiful sights along the way and slight bits of color here and there ~ And should you pick a daisy along the way, and tuck it behind your ear, you will have a traveling bee upon your shoulder for most of the way ~

          

There were times when we lost sight of exactly where the trail was.  Here Olivia and Noah both agree on which way we should continue, Dave and Liv tread ahead and yes, this really was the trail we were hiking.

         

We trudged and trudged and trudged through thistle and limbs, thorns and briars.  The only thing missing was Brer Rabbit himself ~

At one point the little fellow did need to pop a squat for a little breather on a skinny-stick bench he fashioned.

We were almost back down the mountain from this hike through the brambles when our princess became startled at what lay right in front of her.  She was more shocked that she almost stepped on his back than she was that he was sunning himself in her path.  Through the years, we have seen some wildlife but not anything dangerous, a few black snakes at best.  We had even seen a baby black snake on the way up the trail.

This three and a half feet long beautiful rattlesnake quietly posed for us as we carefully made our way between him and the bank of the mountain.  Yes, I did run from point A to point B with Bailey in tow.  I am still amazed at his camouflaging and the fact that we were not aware of his presence until we were so close to his rattles. Safely down the mountainside and we did enjoy the clearing of our campsite, where we would readily notice any more of these beautiful creatures!

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