A week ago, we took Rowan to Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve on his first official hike. I suppose I'm still trying to play catch up on my 2015 goal of "doing things in Birmingham we never have," and Ruffner was on that list.
It was a perfect 55 degree February day, and the trails are extremely accessible. No need to stop in deserted rural areas asking the folks at the gas station where a trailhead is as you scour your iPhone maps and get half-hearted advice... "The what? Oh, yeah just turn left and head up the road a ways." GREAT. THANKS.
We parked and checked out the facilities at the Visitor Center, and then set out on the Quarry Trail. This was just over a mile and then it branched off to the Overlook trail, which is less than a half a mile more.
If Rowan hadn't been lulled to sleep in the backpack carrier, then it would've been a very relaxing, easy trek. Unfortunately he was flopping all around while snoozing pretty hard, so Zack had to carry him like a sack of potatoes for a good portion as we tried to wake him up. It wasn't even nap time! Sheesh! That's just how peaceful it was.
Luckily once we reached the overlook and settled down, he woke up for snack time. All the snacks! I'm learning what it means to be a toddler mom, and it basically just boils down to snacks. haha!
We brought our favorite homemade cashew-peanut-date bars (lara bars) that Zack made. Maybe I'll post about those at some point, but it's stupidly easy... just check Pinterest!
There really isn't much picnicking room at the overlook, so I just spread our pocket blanket over an area without too many sticks... and it worked for our tiny fam. If it had just been Zack and me, I would've wanted to sit by the overlook, but with my mama-anxiety in full force I was needing a comforting distance from the edge! ha!
Overall, it was a perfect family hike. It's definitely easy for non-hikers, or if your kid falls asleep on you like a 25 pound rag doll. We are excited to check it out again when the nature center is open to hopefully see some animals, too! We did see an awesome owl on our way out, though. Rowan hiked back down on his own almost the whole way, and even tolerated holding our hands to navigate tree roots and rocks. (WE LOVED IT.)
Now we are two weeks away from our PNW spring break/my 30th birthday trip! Say a prayer for us as we plan our first plane-trip + multiple outdoor excursions. Any baby-toddler hiking tips or plane tips are constantly welcomed and appreciated!