Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Gabriel's First Hike on Rhododendron Creek

Gabriel's First Hike on Rhododendron Creek 


Sunday January 21, 2018

Kenny, Dana & Gabriel Koogler




  We bought a newer child carrier as we had worn our old one out.   We wanted to 
take Gabriel hiking and get him outside to test it out.  He wanted to get in it immediately on
seeing it.  The weather warmed up into the high fifties low sixties one weekend. We got
him outside to the Smokies.  We were thrilled we got him to ride in the jeep all the way to the
far side of the National Park to the Greenbrier.  It was during the couple days of the Federal
Government shutdown.    The last of the snow was melting in the shadier spots.  
 We pulled up only to find the road gated.   We decided what the heck we'd walk the road. 
We started out and just then a ranger pulled up and opened the gate!  They got the road open
far as the ranger station.  Kenny let Gabe sit on his lap and "drive" far as the ranger station.
Gabe was thrilled with that.   

    We got there to find they hadn't planned on opening the road any further.  The rest was still gated.  We were still pleased at our good fortune, and opted to walk the road the additional distance to the trailhead for Rhododendron Creek. I toted Gabe all the way there and he sang
in the pack all the way. He only stopped singing long enough to point and exclaim "Wah!" and point to the beautiful river. It was that pretty snow water color of Winter and early Spring. 
 Gabriel age 19 months
 Rhododendron Creek in Winter
 !
 Glad to see the sunshine and blue skies and get some exercise and fresh air!


    Once we got to the trailhead we stopped and let Gabe run around.  We rested and had a snack.  Kenny toted Gabe then and carried him until nearly time to emerge at the trailhead.
His shoulder got to bothering him so we switched places again with me carrying him the rest
of the way back to the jeep.  Kelty Country child carrier is the way to go for day hikes.  
More room to carry snacks, diapers, wipes, bottles, and toys.  It is also far sturdier.

    We crossed Rhododendron Creek without any trouble.   Gabe was fascinated at the idea of
people tromping on rocks to get across!   We stopped on the other side and let him play in the water.  We'd done this with the other grandkids when they were babies.  We weren't prepared for what this boy would do.  He waded right out into the creek shoes and all up to his ankles.
I remember being the same way as a child so I shouldn't be surprised.  He played with the snow. He threw rocks. He played with sticks. He floated the toy boat on a long string.
We had to closely corral him because he continued to want to go into the stream. 

 Playing with the toy boat with Papaw. It was fun!

But not as much fun as being IN the creek! 

 Fascinated with the snow!


        We only went as far up as the first two cascades because of Gabe's little feet being wet.
He is healthy now and we don't want him to end up sick from getting chilled.   We also don't want to turn him against hiking.    
Mike's Falls on Rhododendron Creek.   Gabe liked it so much he immediately tried to go IN to the waterfall.  I need to go up and touch it and shower in it!  

  
Kenny helping Gabe get close without getting IN.

No.. we can't go IN the waterfall in Winter.  


Papaw's boy

Working on being a reknowned rock thrower!

Relaxing and checking out the view with "bah"..  He still likes his bottle and we are not going to hurry him to get rid of it. He's our last grandchild.  
  


   On the return hike Gabe started nodding asleep while on my back.  He woke up when I put him down in the jeep's rear compartment to change him into a dry diaper, pants and socks.  Shoes were soggy and cold. We headed toward Sevierville and stopped at the Shoe Dept. to get
him a new pair of sneakers.  Caught a great sale and got a good looking pair of shoes for him for $9!  I asked if he liked them to which he said "no!" ..

    He enjoyed the hike and we now know we need to do more of this sort of activity with him.
I foresee in Magicmomma's Crystal Ball of the Future... a Spring and Summer full of 
water play in the creek, the pool, lots of hikes to waterfalls, camping trips, Brrrrmmmms on the RZR, and rock throwing!  

Last of all is a short video of the waterfall and baby playing in the creek

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