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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

There's More Than Corn in Indiana (Week 19, Day 6)

Saturday in Chicago is absolutely gorgeous, and we decide to make the most of it by driving down to the Indiana Dunes and going for a family hike. After packing up a lunch and getting Maddy ready for the trip, we head off. Now, a more reasonable parental unit would probably choose a short, easy hike as their first outing in the Dunes, much less with a small child. But not THIS parental unit. We choose a moderate route consisting of a 4 mile loop, and head off. 
Bernard family trip to the Dunes!
When we get to our first climb up a sandy dune I’m thankful we didn't choose a more rigorous route - it’s a fairly steep incline, and difficult to navigate alone, much less with a baby strapped to your chest. Phil is carrying Madeline as I've somehow managed to get tendinitis in my bicep - most likely from lugging around a giant car seat on a daily basis.
At the top of the Dune is a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, and a steep drop down. We admire the view, but don’t stay long as there is no shade and it’s hot in the mid-day sun. The path leads us along the top of the dune, along a very small sandy path. While I’m grateful I’m not carrying Maddy, I can’t help but constantly look back to make sure Phil is okay and watching his step - there are a few legs of the trail that are a bit nerve racking.
Once past the treacherous ridge, the path gets easier and more shaded, and we enjoy a nice leisurely and very secluded walk - in fact, we don’t see anyone else for most of the trip! The last mile of the hike becomes the hardest leg of the whole hike - not because of the elevation; in fact, the last leg is mostly downhill, and an easy path. It’s the hardest because we are now tired, hot and ready to be done. Phil is covered in sweat from the hike and carrying Maddy, and his back is starting to ache. I've been lugging the diaper bag on my one good arm, and now have 2 sore arms. Maddy is now well past her nap time, and has no intention of sleeping while there is so much to see and do. She spits out at least two binkies onto the sandy path, leaving us dangerously low on pacifiers to calm her down. Perhaps a 4 mile walks WAS a bit of a gamble for our first hike!

In the end we made it back to the car, and got Maddy (and Daddy) changed out of their sweat drenched clothes. The car ride home was quiet, as Maddy got some much needed rest.While our execution of our hiking plan didn't go quite as planned, it was still a memorable and fun day with the family, and a great way to spend a gorgeous day outside.