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This has been, thus far, our busiest homeschool week since we started seven weeks ago. Between new stuff kicking off and extra practices for flag football, as well as our all day planned field trip for today, I was looking forward to this week with a bit of respectable fear. Would I make it through all the driving, and planning, and organizing? Or would I barely make it through with my sanity? Thankfully, the planning and organizing led to a pretty successful school week. We made it to all our planned activities as we moved closer and closer to what The Boy and I were looking forward to most: apple picking, hay riding, cider drinking, donut tasting fun at Carter Mountain Orchard AND a hike at Crabtree Falls. 

Obviously, even the best laid plans must be waylaid. As I mapquested our way from here to there to the falls I realized I’d forgotten to check the weather forecast. And sadly, although it wasn’t 100 percent certain rain would fall at Crabtree Falls I wasn’t risking the drive there to face a three hour back without a hike under our belt. I figured we’d go to the orchard and then come home, maybe even bake something with our apples, watch a movie, something. But I couldn’t shake the hike out of my veins. I wanted to hike so badly, and I was looking forward to seeing the beginnings of seasonal changes in the trees. 

Monticello was literally down the road from the orchard. And as we’d driven up the mountain I’d noted a pretty sweet trail that cut across the road. I told B, let’s find it. I love his trust in me. He was certain we’d find it though I had no clue where to go. Thankfully, Google never fails. Monticello has a pretty sweet trail that you can access from one of their parking lots. It’s called the Saunders-Monticello trail and we took that sucker almost to the end, only returning as we noticed how much time we’d spent back there. 

The trail was beautiful. And easy, though there are inclines to contend with. Most of the trail is above ground on a wooden walkway. Some is covered in stones, but, it’s incredibly accessible. I saw several momma’s running with their babies in strollers. We were able to go “off trail” onto what they called their rustic trail, which seemed to me more like traditional hiking, but it was pretty steep, and although gorgeous was the toughest part of the hike. 

B’s favorite part was the pond. He could have stayed skipping stones past dinner. He reluctantly left the side of the pond to join me for the rest of the hike but he enjoyed his time there most. 

All in all, I love how we are kicking off fall around here. I’m loving all this time with My Boy. And although I know he’d cringe if he knew it, for some reason, this fall is especially bittersweet. As the seasons change, summer into fall, it reminds me of how B is changing as well. I’m watching him grow and mature before my eyes, and the process seems so rapid these past few weeks. As he held my hand through various parts of the hike, or called in delight at a new discovery, I marveled at all the changes and felt grateful beyond measure for having been witness to it all. 

Life is so incredibly sweet. 

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