Remember last month when I posted that I was craving a more rural life? And the last few weeks when I posted here and here on feeling sentimental about my homeland of Minnesota? Well those trips and photos and write-ups have gotten me thinking about where it really is I want my kids to consider home. Sometimes I'm intimidated by the idea of choosing that place for them. After all, they only get one childhood—no do-overs, no backsies. Perhaps we should move them to the mountains? Or perhaps to the beach? Or perhaps we should stay here in Raleigh, an area that is comfortable if a bit bland?
This weekend, we declared we would take a break from feeling antsy and anxious about our next steps. So at the invitation of my niece, Iris, and inspired by Design Mom's Love the Place You Live series, we headed to the Eno River State Park in Durham, NC, for a hike with the little ones.
And I'm so glad we did. It is days like these, places like these, that remind me why we live here—why we call it home. Sure our area isn't the most exciting spot, but it has all our girls need to explore, to learn to appreciate the world around them, to laugh, to run and to hold hands with their mom and dad when the terrain is too tough to handle on their own. Plus the weather here in the fall is perfection.
Who knows where we'll end up in the future, but for now, we’re home.
Above: Cricket hiking with Dad.
Below: In addition to Jeff and my sister, Meg, and brother-in-law, Christo, my hiking companions included Nora (left), Iris (middle) and Cricket (right). (Thanks to Christo for taking the photo on the right.)
Below: We hiked down to the river—and by hiked, I mean some of us walked while others ran, galloped, skipped, tripped, fell and ambled off into the forest—collecting rocks along the way to throw into the water. Some of us have better aim than others, so some of the rocks landed in the water while other rocks landed on members of our party. (Oops.)
Below: Tearing around the inside of this old cabin was a huge hit with the toddlers. The only challenge was to avoid the copperhead that guards the place.
Below left: A park ranger informed us this bridge and the one at Grandfather Mountain are the only suspension bridges in the state.
Below right: Orange fungi.
Below: This metal cover, which made great sounds when stomped upon, was a favorite park feature among the toddlers.
P.S. I cringe at posting iPhone photos, but sometimes you just can't carry a DSLR and two kids at the same time. That said, I do love some Instagramming. You can follow my Instagrams here: @jsoplop.
P.P.S. Stay tuned for Nora's 4-month portraits in my next post.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.