The return trip was a success! Everything worked out just about as perfectly as could be expected, especially when dealing with small children and a dog. Izzy joined us for the walk, and she did really well despite the odd terrain and new people. The nieces immediately took to hiking, and the first thing we did was consult a map and have them choose a trail. They picked Kaskaskia canyon, which was the longer of the two, and it ended up working out well because the second trip seemed faster and easier by comparison.
They were fearless with all the bugs and mud, which was great. We found several huge millipedes, some six or seven inches long. This one was dead, so we got a good close look at it.
The only downside to the trip was that it had rained heavily the night before, and the paths were thick with greasy grey mud. Didn’t phase the girls any, though there were a couple of times that we had to ferry them up a steep bank or over a deep stream. Even my sister-in-law, who’s not big on either mud or bugs, had a good time and was patient with all the ups and downs. I was really proud of everybody for rolling with the punches.
We stopped for a snack at the waterfall of Kaskaskia Canyon, and the girls got to get their feet wet. Izzy made short work of all the food the kids dropped.
My brother purchased a souvenir set of binoculars from the gift shop for A, and she had fun checking out the cliffs and trees.
We also made it back to Ottawa Canyon, and the approach to the waterfall was shallow enough that we even got to walk behind it.
It’s not as dramatic in the photo, but it was a beautiful little curtain of water, just enough to be exciting for the kids, but not too intimidating.
Two canyons proved exactly enough hiking for little legs, and we went from there over to the shelter for lunch and letting Izzy run around a bit. Our timing was perfect, and the girls slept in the car all the way back home. Before she fell asleep, Tom said that E. kept saying, “That was really fun.” Cool Aunt achievement unlocked.
Best part? There’s a bunch of other canyons there and at Matthiessen State Park that we can explore next year.