This weekend we camped on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Ohiopyle campground, which was especially fun because we were there with Laurel's friends from school and their families. However, the campgrounds are super crowded in the summer and kind of noisy. It's less than a mile from the parking lot to get to the 653 Shelter so we did a sort of hybrid backpacking trip. We didn't hike very long, but we were far enough away from our car that we just carried in sleeping stuff and water and a few snacks. Marko would have made it, except we were running out of daylight so M threw him up on his shoulders for the last part of it. We made a fire and ate some pistachios.

The next morning, we woke up and hiked out (Marko made the whole distance this time on his own two feet. Yay!). We took them down to the river in Ohiopyle for a while and they splashed around, collecting sea shells and drawing in the sand with sticks.

I don't have a single picture of the weekend. I never carry a camera anymore and my phone doesn't really work in Fayette County so I just left it in the car. We didn't really have any toys or books with us, and it was fun to see the kids find stuff to do. The overnight trip was a total reset for all of us....a chance to hang out without a lot of distraction and enjoy each other's company and the beautiful surroundings.

Not that it's all bliss and relaxation. They cry, they fight, they won't go to sleep at the right time. Marko needs to stop a lot when we hike and we still have to carry him sometimes. I have to be prepared to clean up poo and then haul it out. Everyone gets really dirty, there's poison ivy and ticks. I've learned to never, ever run out of snacks, but sometimes it still happens. And the car is utterly trashed every single time we go anywhere. It kind of creates a lot of extra work for me. But still, I'm always glad we went.

I love that we have a place to go. The kids are getting to know the trails we frequent and the terrain and features of the region. They recognize the landmarks on the way to our favorite places, and Laurel especially understands how everything changes throughout the year and depending on the weather.

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