which really looked suspiciously to us like a scratching post used by a wilderness-sized kitty. A good friend of mine is a runner who lives up in the mountains and she has indeed encountered mountain lions on her morning run (which? would TOTALLY be a reasonable excuse for me to never, ever run ever again. ever.), so I know they're in these parts. And I'm glad we encountered the above scratching post near the end of our hike, else I am fairly certain I'd have turned us all around and gone home to watch a movie in our living room--you know, where the cats only weigh 10lbs and are fed on a regular basis so as to keep them from attacking and eating us.
But before we came upon the omen o' doom scratching post, we had a really nice hike. Ethan and I took Husband back to the nature trail that we'd been to earlier this month with Ethan's summer camp field trip.
We did a lot of oooh'ing & aahhh'ing over the red woods.
we even laid down on the ground to get the full effect of their freaking amazing majesty and all that...
Here is Ethan, playing park ranger, as he told us that he was busy "scientist-ing" and pointing out to us all the different features of the park. He insisted that he needed a pointer in order to tell us about the sign--apparently he's been sneaking out and attending forestry lectures a local college or something....I took forestry in college to fulfill a science credit. I hope learns more than I did.
Ethan is the only thing in this picture not covered by a thin layer of moss.
Husband taught Ethan the fine art of descending a steep patch sideways to avoid sliding down into a gaping ravine. So, you know, that was helpful. Amazingly, Husband refrained from telling Ethan about the time he himself almost fell off the side of a mountain in Honduras. Maybe next time. (it is a good story)
Ethan the monster being ever-so-scary as he jumps up from behind a hollowed out tree stump. Much as I imagine the mountain lion who wanted to eat us may have done.
Chasing Husband down the trail, again, like the mountain lion might have had we encountered him. It was shortly after this that we found the shredded tree stump.
We came upon a massive hollowed out redwood trunk and the next set of pictures is taken from inside the trunk of the tree:
After Ethan and I scrambled out of the tree trunk and we all managed to successfully avoid an encounter with a newly manicured mountain lion, we headed back to civilization.
I never thought we'd be the hiking type of family--maybe a walk on the beach or a walk around the neighborhood after dinner type of family; but never a trudge through the wilderness on a trail vaguely maintained by park rangers type of family. We missed a lot of opportunities in Virginia and again in Los Angeles (which had some surprisingly good hiking), but I'm so glad we're making the most of Northern California and becoming less daunted by the great outdoors (mountain lions excepted, of course).