I was looking through some older pictures and came across this one. The bad weather will be upon us soon enough. I promise to not complain when it gets really hot! No complaining lately for sure because our Chicagoland weather is simply gorgeous! I love the warm weather and wish we could just do away with winter.
About two weeks ago we took a drive out to Kentucky again to visit with my cousins. We had the twins with us and they would have my cousin's eight year old daughter to hang around. One of our friends had recommended we visit Natural Bridge State Park while in Kentucky. We configured our GPS and off we went. The first thing you do when you arrive is get your ticket for the skylift. You can purchase one way or round trip. Since we are brave souls, we opted for the one-way because we were going to hike down. Here's the view as we started up....doesn't look so intimidating, right?
We moseyed along and then all of a sudden there was a sharp ascent! I am terrified of heights but seven-year-old Jack was alongside me and I needed to remain calm so he wouldn't get scared. I looked straight ahead and just snapped some pictures.
This is a perfect view of the sharpness of the incline while standing at the top of the bridge.
Natural Bridge State Park is named after the nature-made stone arch that sits high above the tree tops. There are several hiking paths for the adventurous down to the bottom from easy to expert hiker. We chose the easy path. Well, there was a nicely cut stone stairway down to the path but this was our first obstacle. Easy for the kids but suck in your gut and scoot sideways for the adults!
A view from on top of the bridge. It reminds me of Starved Rock State Park, here in my own backyard of Utica, Illinois!
Here's some interesting trees and their roots that seem to grow out of the rock. This was definitely not an easy trail! I don't know what they were thinking when they labeled this route. At times the path was so narrow, one false footstep and you'd be tumbling over the edge. Several times I had to help the kids down steep sections which were slippery with no good footholds. I was praying that I wouldn't slip and take one of them down with me!
We made it safely to the wooden staircase. It took us about an hour and 1/2 to climb down from the bridge. It was hot, hot, hot (not complaining...see above) and we were not only tired, but sweaty. I wonder how many people fall walking down these paths. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little....but really, I was surprised that they labeled it "easy" because I surely wouldn't have!
When our visit with the cousins in Kentucky was over, we headed home through West Virginia. I have never been through this state and wow, it is one beautiful countryside!
Finally, back on I-80, heading home to Chicago, we stopped for a quick dinner at Panera. Now what was I thinking?!!! I know better. I've been down this road before. See this blog post. I had a taste for a nice, light salad since I had been eating picnic fare for the last several days. I walk into the restaurant and this sign greeted me.
Mmmmm, perfect. I love this salad! Those strawberries are luscious and those blueberries.....I could pick them right off the picture. So, I go up to the counter and order the Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. The cashier says to me, "We're all out of chicken." Excuse me????? How could Panera be out of chicken? She asked if I'd like another kind of meat. I toyed with turkey but I only eat turkey once a year on Thanksgiving. The other days of the year I can do without it. I ordered steak strips. It was a big disappointment. At Panera. Again. Never stop at this Panera. Ever. Again. Two strikes and you're out! No third chances! It was a miserable dinner and we still had about six hours to get home. I was happy to get a latte at Starbuck's and that satisfied until my head hit the pillow.
I hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July!! Eat some watermelon and wave your flag! I think I'm going to a waterpark. Maybe I'll have some fun pictures to post!