Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

The 2016 Craggin’ Classic

It’s the middle of September, and that means it’s time for two things – migrating north for the Craggin’ Classic at the New River Gorge…and my kids getting sick.  Last year, it was a mysterious fever for Little Zu.  This year, it was a tummy bug that left its mark on several family members before heading elsewhere…but that’s probably all you need to know about that.

Mutiny 11d

Mutiny 11d

Anyway, by the time the event was underway, everyone was (mostly) okay, and our logistical plans (always the crux when climbing with kids) went off without a hitch.  The kids and I had headed up on Thursday afternoon, and managed to squeeze in a hike at Beauty Mountain before heading over to the Sponsor’s Dinner.  The first 10 minutes went well.  Then Little Zu took a digger to the face on the blacktop, leaving her with a giant fat lip and bloodied-up face as a souvenir.  The rest of the night pretty much went downhill from there, but by the next morning everyone was psyched and ready for a day of climbing and photos at the Lake with the rest of the Trango gang.

Yay climbing!

Yay climbing!

Our resident photog, Dan Brayack, had his eye on Mutiny 11d, a gorgeous arete that is easily recognizable even from the highway.  The only “catch” was the water level, since the first 10 feet of this route are submerged during high water.  Usually by mid-October the water is low enough to be climbable, so we were a little bit early.  As it turns out, however, the water was juuuuust low enough for us to sneak in and get some amazing pictures.  A foot higher and we would have been soaked.

My belayer and I rolled our capris up as high as we could, I clipped my climbing shoes to my sports bra, and we waded out across the thigh-high water to the arete.  Conveniently enough, one of the boulders at the base was sticking out of the water enough for us to drape the rope across.  We pre-clipped the first bolt, I put my climbing shoes on while dangling over the water, and away I went!  Climbing out over the water like that was a surreal experience, and the route itself was amazing.  Big moves to big holds down low, then a thin face crux heading to the anchors.

Somehow, despite my best efforts, my shoes had still gotten a little bit wet.  That combined with the flash-pump that comes from not warming up properly meant I pretty much went bolt to bolt first time up.  Luckily though, Dan wanted to shoot the route again from a different angle, and I was able to send fairly easily second go.  A BIG thank you goes out to Everett from La Sportiva for keeping the kids corralled back on the beach while I was climbing.  By the time I waded back across, Big C was “fishing” with a pole Everett had helped him procure using a stick and some string, and Little Zu was sitting contentedly in his lap with some gummy bears.  Three cheers for the village it takes to climb with kids!

Upper sequence on Hot n Bothered 11d (aka Six Dollars)

Upper sequence on Hot n Bothered 11d (aka Six Dollars)

We then moved down to Long Wall at the main area, where I got a chance to tick another classic 5.11 I’d been wanting to get on – Hot and Bothered 11d (aka 6 Dollars.)  This one took two goes as well.  Pretty sustained crimping, with some finishing moves that could easily botch a redpoint attempt.

A sweet little girl with her Daddy

A sweet little girl with her Daddy

By this point it was time to head back down to set up our booth for the event.  The CragDaddy rolled into town shortly after we got back, so I tagged out of kid duty and put my “athlete hat” on for the rest of the evening.  It’s always fun having conversation after conversation with other like-minded folks.  In fact, talking to random people is one of my favorite parts about doing events like these.  Catching the Reel Rock Film Tour was also a bonus.

SUP fun!

SUP fun!

Saturday brought even more heat and humidity than the day before (seriously, where is fall?!?)  My crew headed back to the lake.  The CragDaddy and I hopped on a few routes in the Coliseum, but our performances were far from noteworthy.  One highlight was an impromptu hangout with a SUP family from Ontario (the dad was competing in a whitewater SUP competition the following day.)  Big C scored multiple rides, and if he and I wanted a family SUP before…we sure as heck do now!  (#gearjunkies)

We attempted to get out Sunday morning, but got rained out after just a couple of pitches at Bridge Buttress.  As far as the weekend as a whole, I might not have gotten in as much climbing as I’d wanted, but what I did get on was classic.  And, I won’t lie, it felt good to get back into town at a reasonable hour on Sunday!  Thanks again to Dan for taking some awesome pics, and the rest of the team for a great event!

 

 

 

 

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The Fort Bragg Spartan Race

At the starting line - can you tell which one of us is nervous?

Best cheerleader ever to have at the starting line!

It all started earlier this summer with the new NBC TV show “Ultimate Spartan Challenge.”  My ninja warrior wanna-be son was all about it from the minute he saw it.  Add to that the fact that we actually knew a few of the competitors…and his mind just exploded week after week.  He began “training” everywhere – in our backyard, on the playground, at the crag, insisting that he was going to be a Spartan when he grew up (and that he was going to be on the Ninja team, because first he was going to be the next American Ninja Warrior.)

I knew it would be a shame to waste all that psych, so I did a little digging, and realized that sure enough, there was going to be a Spartan Race just a few hours from us in September…AND they had a Kid’s Race!  It seemed like the perfect plan – Big C could participate in his own race, and it would give me some fun cross training to do during the long doldrums of summer when it’s too hot to climb.

I trained hard, but not SUPER hard.  I definitely upped the ante of my workouts, including sprints, hills, and increased distance on my runs, rather than just loping along listening to music.  I also included intervals of other exercises – push-ups, planks, lunges, but always burpees.  ALWAYS burpees.  (As a side note for anyone not familiar with Spartan Races, if you fail an obstacle, the penalty is 30 burpees.)’

Sandbag Carry

Sandbag Carry

Rope climb

Rope climb

In addition to the extra running, I was of course still at the climbing gym 3 times per week, practicing my new try hard mantra (see last week’s post for more on that.)  But as far as specific training for specific obstacles, I didn’t do anything special, as I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Canaan didn’t do a bit of running (other than the million steps that 6 year old boys get throughout the day!)  But he got his playground obstacle game on point!

Fast forward to 0 dark thirty last Saturday morning as I’m staring down the lame excuse for a continental breakfast at our Ft. Bragg hotel.  There are 3 other people in the room, 2 men about my age, and a woman who appeared to be somewhere between my mom and my age.  All three were quite fit looking, and all three look quite a bit more prepared than I did.  The men were downing Cheerios like it was Christmas morning, but the woman had brought her own food, some strange liquid concoction that looked as tasteless as it was healthy.  Two out of the three were sporting “Spartan Finisher” t-shirts from previous races, and all had beefy tread on their shoes that made my shoes look like bald tires.  They all had sleek, black clothing on, as compared to my most comfy pair of decade old running shorts in a shade of obnoxious salmon.

High 5's from Big C heading into the Slip Wall

High 5’s from Big C heading into the Slip Wall

Just when I was starting to question why I’d let my friend Joy (one of the ones we knew from the show) convince me to enter in the “Competitive” Heat, it was time to head to the race, and before I knew it, I was at the starting line with a couple hundred other people.

The first 20 minutes of the race were filled with self-doubt.  I thought I’d positioned myself at the back of the pack, so I was surprised when it seemed like 200 people blew by me like I was parked in the first 5 minutes.  My first mile is ALWAYS very slow compared to the rest of my run, so I resisted the urge to try and keep up with everybody else, and just kept doing my thing.

Post Race #momlife

Post Race #momlife

The first few obstacles were pretty easy and can be summed up with the words over, under, or through.  Also muddy water.  Lots of muddy water.  Then I found myself at the Atlas Carry.  I have no idea what that stone weighed, but when I bent down to lift it up it didn’t budge!  After wrestling awkwardly with it for a few minutes, I finally managed to sort of roll it on the tops of my feet and get it off the ground, although I’m pretty sure it never got any higher than my knees.  Thankfully I only had to channel my inner Strong Man Competitor for about 30 feet total.

After a cargo net climb that I made quick work of, I found myself at the Multi-Rig.  Basically a gauntlet of swinging holds (rings, pvc pipes, knotted ropes, etc).  As a climber, I can do monkey bars all day, right?  Not these, apparently.  I wasn’t counting on the fact that my hands would be wet and slippery (as well as the rest of me, leaving me nothing to wipe them off on).  I made it about halfway across before splashing back down into the mud.  Those 30 burpees felt amazingly difficult right after my struggle on the atlas carry, but I got through.  I glanced at my watch – 21 minutes.  Yikes, it was gonna be a long race.

But thankfully things started to look up before I got too discouraged.  I sailed through some easier obstacles, my heartrate finally came down from the Atlas Carry and the burpees, and I worked my way up to my normal running pace.  I even passed a dozen or so people, many of which were the ones that had whizzed by me in the beginning.

The last half of the course was much more enjoyable, probably due to the confidence boost that came with a few key obstacles playing to my strengths.  The inverted wall was a one move boulder problem.  The sandbag carry was nothing more than a steep approach trail with kiddos in tow.  Doing a lap with a gravel-filled bucket had my forearms on fire, but I managed to even pass a few people on the way up.  The Herc Hoist was hard, but I did it, and then of course there was the climbing wall traverse.  I knew I would never hear the end of it if I fell traversing across 2 inch wide edges, but thankfully it was only slightly harder that I’d pictured it being (probably due to my aforementioned bald tire running shoes.)

Big C scaling the 1st Wall

Big C scaling the 1st Wall

Having been lucky enough to avoid the burpee zone after my mistake on the Mult-Rig, I was thoroughly prepped to have to drop and give 30 more after my joke of a Spear Throw attempt.  I was feeling winded after that second set, but from there it was a downhill push to the finish area, where a quick scan locked my eyes on the only people there that I wanted to impress – the CragDaddy and both kiddos (all screaming wildly for me at this point.)

The main obstacle in the finish area was the rope climb.  Now I’ve been climbing rocks for about 10 years…but I’m pretty sure I’ve never climbed a rope.  Not even in gym class back in the day.  I’d seen plenty of people do it on TV.  It seemed simple enough – sort of twist the rope around your feet to help take the weight off your arms?  Apparently there’s a little more of a learning curve than I expected, and I just couldn’t figure out what to do with my feet.  Meanwhile the pump clock was ticking.  So I did what any climber would do in my situation – I pulled with my arms, over, and over, and over again.  Kipping my body up with my legs flailing around spread eagle probably made it pretty clear that I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow I still managed to hit that bell!  Yes!  After a quick high 5 from Big C before the Slip Wall, I finished the race in fine style (for me anyway), and proudly received all my finisher’s swag.

A- Frame Cargo Net

A- Frame Cargo Net

Climbing Wall Traverse

Climbing Wall Traverse

My final time far exceeded what I’d been expecting – I was 4th in my age group, and 17th overall for Competitive Women!  I had a blast and would DEFINITELY race again.  It seems like a great cross training activity during the climbing off seasons.  And now I know more specifically what random skills I need to practice (ahem, like throwing a spear and lifting heavy round objects!)

With my race out of the way, I could focus on the real reason we’d driven all the way up there – Big C’s race!  Since I’d finished so much earlier than expected, we were able to squeeze him into an earlier heat (which was great because Z was DONE.)  He did so awesome, and I am so proud of him.  The Kid’s Race is obviously not as strict about penalties as the grown-ups, but it was a moot point for him because he sailed through all of them with flying colors!  He has hardly taken his medal off since he got it, and it took some convincing to put his Finisher’s shirt in the wash yesterday.

Me, Joy Cox, and the kiddos, Big A and Big C. SPARTANS! (And one future Spartan).

Me, Joy Cox, and the kiddos, Big A and Big C. SPARTANS! (And one future Spartan).

My main goal for this race was to provide a fun family activity that would inspire us to stay active and healthy.  (My secondary goal was to get through the race without sustaining any injuries that would make me sit out fall climbing season!)  Thankfully we were successful on all counts.  As we walked out, Big C summed things up with a statement that every parent loves to hear.  “Well, that was a good day.  Good idea, Mom.”

 

 

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New River Gorge: It’s Fall Ya’ll!

I’m baaaaaaaack!  (In case you haven’t been missing me, this is the longest stretch of blog silence I’ve ever had since the dawning of “Cragmama” back in 2011!)  With weather too hot for climbing, and revving up our homeschooling again for the year, there has been too little to write about in not enough time anyway, so everything just went on the backburner.  But now that Zu (no longer Baby Girl Zu!) is at preschool a couple mornings a week, and fall adventures are upon us (!), I’ve got plenty to write about, and hopefully juuuust enough time to do it.

Going big on Audiophering 12a

Going big on Audiophering 12a

That being said, it felt GREAT to get back to the New River Gorge for Labor Day!  To be honest, the past handful of trips to the New have been lessons in frustration for me.  A couple of them I didn’t even write about because I had a hard time finding a positive spin after getting constantly shut down.  My weakness at the New has ALWAYS been POWER.  The moves are long, often without a lot of features in between, and the higher I go in the grades, the more trouble I have with making reaches.  My natural climbing style is very static, and it’s much more comfortable for me to just lock off hard rather than jump, which doesn’t always work.  But over the summer I decided to try and change that!

The Zu gettin her climb on at Small Wall.

The Zu gettin her climb on at Small Wall.

Rather than going through a periodized cycle of “Base Fitness, Strength, Power, Power Endurance” to get ready for fall, I decided to focus solely on power and dynamic movements all summer.  The typical prescription for training power is a campus board, but I felt like I needed to go back to even more basics than that.  I did movement drills with easy dynos (easy, as in the distance between holds is not far enough to warrant a dyno, but gave me a chance to practice form.) I did a lot of bouldering.  On moderate routes, I tried to do the problems as “big” as I could – skipping holds, never matching, etc.  I also did a lot of what the CragDaddy calls “Try Hard” Bouldering.  While sending outside is always extremely motivating for me, sending indoors is…..not.  My first inclination is to give up after just a few attempts, so the majority of my session tended towards onsighting and repeating other problems I’d previously onsighted fairly easily.

Kiddo Base Camp

Kiddo Base Camp

But the CragDaddy challenged me to really TRY HARD in the gym this past month.   I’ve been projecting problems that don’t come in the first few tries.  I’ve been getting creative with finding my own beta when the intended way doesn’t work for me.  I’ve been re-sending problems that I’ve previously projected, even though sometimes they feel just as hard subsequent times.  And you guys…I think it worked!!!

Our first day was spent at Area 51 of the Meadow.  We climbed with two other families, and between the 6 adults, there were 5 kids running around, ranging in age from 12 months to 6 years.  It was chaos and it was awesome.  The kids had a blast together, and the 3 littlest ones even managed to take their naps ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  I got to climb with some strong women, and I even got to trade belays with the CragDaddy, which hardly ever happens!  To top it all off, I flashed Safety Word 12a (first ever 5.12 flash at the New!)

My budding herpetologist.

My budding herpetologist.

On Day 2 I only got in half the pitches from the day before, but they were twice as long (and a lot more sustained).  Combined with the long hike out to Fantasy Wall at Endless, I was pretty zonked by the end of the day.  However, I did manage to resend Aesthetica 5.11c (not an ideal warm-up…but all the easier routes were mobbed.)  I also got in two really good working burns on Blackhappy 12b.  This is my new favorite climb.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s second only to Jesus and Tequila for “Best 5.12 at the New.”  I went bolt to bolt the first go round, and managed a 3-hang on my second go.  What I was most pleased to see was that I had no trouble with any one move, which is a rarity for me at the New, especially since the book describes this one has having “full-span reaches.”  I’m optimistic that with a few weeks of weekend trips and mid-week 4×4’s I’ll be in good shape to send it later on this fall.

Our last day was spent at Cotton Top…along with what seemed like everyone still left in the gorge.  It was a madhouse.  After a quick lap up Cottonhead 10d, I got in line for Psychowrangler 12a, and was happy to make the first hard move on the first try, which has never happened before.  I came down after a few falls trying to get into the dihedral.  I hate taking a long time on routes when there are a ton of people behind me waiting their turn to climb.  The CragDaddy felt the same way, so we moved on to Audiophering 12a, a lesser-known route on the main wall that never gets any traffic…although after getting on it, I’m not sure why, as the moves are cool and the rock is bulletproof!

Big C slabbing (not crack climbing...) his way up Doce Do 5.6

Big C slabbing (not crack climbing…) his way up Doce Do 5.6

I wasn’t super confident heading into this one, as the guidebook mentions a “jump move” for shorties.  But as the CragDaddy pointed out, it fit well with my m.o of late, and would be a good way to put my training to the test.  It took a while to get my beta dialed in, but I pulled the rope, and sent 2nd go!  And FYI, if you’re thinking of getting on it, don’t let the “jump move” scare you away.  It’s a solid deadpoint for sure, but while I “felt” like I was jumping, one foot still stayed on…barely.

CragDaddy showing off some flexibility on Audiophering 12a

CragDaddy showing off some flexibility on Audiophering 12a

With all the bouldering I’d been doing before this trip (and all the roped climbing I’d been NOT doing), I hadn’t come into the weekend with a lot of sending expectations.  So to walk away with a pair of 12’s and another one in the works felt awesome.  But what felt best of all is that I can tell my power and “try hard” training has been working.  Almost every one of the routes I got on this weekend (even some of the easier ones), had individual moves that potentially would have given me fits earlier this year.  But all the movement drills and limit bouldering has really upped my confidence on bigger, more powerful crux sequences.  Regardless of what projects go down this fall, I’m looking forward to a renewed confidence in my NRG climbing as a whole.  It feels good to be “able to play.”

Oh…and sorry about the lack of pictures.  The camera only came out once while the grown-ups were climbing.  But we at least got some kidcrusher documentation!  Happy Fall, ya’ll!

 

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Gluttons for Punishment at the New River Gorge

Contrary to what most of my non-climbing friends assume, summertime is NOT ideal climbing weather.  In fact, when it comes to actual climbing conditions, heat + humidity is a pretty miserable combination.  And if we’re being honest, this formula applies to more than just climbing.  This time of year in the South is pretty much only good for activities involving cold beverages and water.  That being said, every now and then we forget what it feels like to smother ourselves in a wet oven, and we go out climbing anyway.

Without fail it always ends in a sweaty, stinky mess, but usually gives us enough of a fix to make it until shorter days and cooler temps.  But while conditions made for literally NOTHING to write home about for the grown-ups,  both kids were in rare form this past weekend, and took full advantage of the grown-ups sloth-like demeanor to do some crushing of their own!

Big C reaching up for the last jug (note the parachute man ready to take flight from his gear loop!)

Big C reaching up for the last jug (note the parachute man ready to take flight from his gear loop!)

 

Highlights included Big C climbing to the starting ledge of Crag Memorial at the Lower Meadow not once but 4 times, and each time delightfully catapulting his “parachute man” down to the ground.  The minute Baby Zu saw Big C’s harness come out, she dragged hers out as well and demanded to put it on.  She didn’t get very far,  but for a two year old on a rope outdoors for the first time, I’d say she did pretty awesome!

Baby Z  with some fancy footwork.

Baby Z with some fancy footwork.

Probably one of the most exciting (and scary) moments was when I heard Z announce rather nonchalantly, “Snake.”  I looked up to see a couple feet of copperhead meandering across our guidebook, around a chalkbag, and eventually underneath the rock all of our packs were leaned up against.  I tell people all the time that snakes are by far my biggest fear with the kids on our climbing trips.  Not because I’m scared of snakes (in fact, we used to have two as pets 🙂 ).  But because kids like to go poking around in places where snakes like to hide.

I have no idea how long this particular snake had been near us, since I’m certain he had eyes on us long before Z alerted us to his presence.  But I am SO THANKFUL that our encounter was a safe one, and that Z decided to speak up first rather than trying to bring it to Mommy for show and tell!  That being said, I’ll end this post with a couple of public service announcements.

CLIMBERS: BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.  Before you just drop your pack, take a look around.  Check under that rock BEFORE you sit down to put your climbing shoes on.  And be especially careful when tromping off trail when nature calls…

PARENTS:  EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SNAKES.  Teach your child which venomous snakes live in your area, what they look like, where to find them, and what can happen if one bites you.  The goal is not to terrify them, but to instill a healthy respect for a potentially dangerous animal.

Too close for comfort!!!

Too close for comfort!!!

This weekend was not the first time we’ve found ourselves a little too close for comfort to a copperhead, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  When we play outdoors, we are in their house, so encounters are inevitable.  I actually wrote a post specifically on snake safety a loooong time ago (found here), and I’d love to resurrect that discussion in the comments.  What’s your family’s stance on reptiles in the wild?  Is it sometimes okay to touch?  Always look, never touch?  Or run in the other direction?

 

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Cragfamily in Niagara Falls!

At first glance, the largest waterfall in North America sounds pretty awesome, but also sounds a little random as far as family vacations go for us.  It’s a looooong way away, and there aren’t even any rocks nearby on which to climb.  However, I have an aunt, uncle, and several cousins that live in upstate NY, one of which got married just a couple of weeks ago.  When we were planning our trip,we couldn’t help but notice that Niagara Falls was a mere 30 minutes away from the Buffalo airport.  It seemed a shame to get so close to such a recognizable landmark and not even see it, so we decided to head up a day early for some extra sightseeing.

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We basically had around 24 hours to explore – all of Thursday afternoon and evening, and Friday morning.  Here’s what we were able to cover in that amount of time…

CAVE OF THE WINDS – Though not an actual cave (apparently there was at one time, but it collapsed), this self-guided walk along an observation deck/stairs allowed us to get up close and personal with the American and Bridal Veil Falls.   Ponchos are included in the cost (as well as water sandals, which we declined since we’d come in with appropriate footwear), so our clothes were fairly dry by the end, although I was sporting raccoon eyes from running mascara.  The power of the water coming off the falls was amazing, especially from the upper “Hurricane Deck.”

Ready for Cave of the Winds!

Ready for Cave of the Winds!

MAID OF THE MIST – This is probably the most well-known tour in the area.  Don your blue poncho, jump aboard, and float along the Niagara River for some awesome views of all three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls.  The boat moves very slowly, and hangs out in front of the Horseshoe Falls for several minutes, leaving ample time for family photo opps (just be mindful of the spray when you get your camera out!)

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RAINBOW BRIDGE – This bridge connects the US to Canada.  You can travel across by car, of course, but we thought it was fun to walk across.  Border crossing was easy-peasy (grown-ups need passports, but the kids could just use birth certificates.)

CANADIAN SIDE – We had heard that the Canadian side had the best views, and the panoramas were certainly spectacular.  The best side for photos, for sure.  Apparently there are a lot of theme park type things on the Canadian side as well, but we weren’t into all the commercial stuff.  After a way overpriced dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, we made our way back to the homeland.

Christmas card possibilities in Canada

Christmas card possibilities in Canada

GOAT ISLAND – This is the island that separates the Horseshoe Falls from Bridal Veil Falls.  This is also where you go to do the Cave of the Winds tour.  Even if you aren’t doing Cave of the Winds, Goat Island is still a worthy stop.  It offers the best view of the Horseshoe Falls on the American side.  And although we aren’t foodies by any means, the Top of the Falls restaurant was awesome – a wide variety of food on both the adult and children’s menus, with VERY reasonable prices.  To be honest, we were wishing that we’d eaten there the night before as well, instead of dumping so much money on Hard Rock Cafe!

Double rainbows just over the brink of Horseshoe Falls

Double rainbows just over the brink of Horseshoe Falls

THREE SISTERS ISLAND – This is a group of 3 small islands above the Horseshoe Falls.  There are a few free parking spaces right by the short trail to walk out there.  Views include a lot of powerful rapids, and the brink of Horseshoe Falls.

LUNA ISLAND – This tiny island separates American Falls from Bridal Veil Falls, and is just a short walk from Goat Island.  You can get right next to both falls right at the brink (and imagine yourself going over in a barrel…)

The brink of American Falls as seen from Luna Island (Rainbow Bridge in background)

The brink of American Falls as seen from Luna Island (Rainbow Bridge in background)

AQUARIUM – Big C is super into sea life, so this was on our must-do list.  After having been there/done that, however, it may not be worth a stop if you don’t think your kids would be really into it.  The aquarium is very small, and to be honest, both kids’ favorite part was the outdoor seal exhibit that was in front of the building (and you don’t even have to pay to see that one!)

WHIRLPOOL STATE PARK – We checked this area out just before heading south for my cousin’s wedding.  If we ever go again, this is the area I’d like to spend more time at.  From the overlook, you can see the giant whirlpool created by the river as it takes a sharp turn.  This was all we had a chance to see, but there were trails that led right down to the river.  We saw people down there, and we were jealous of their perspective, but we didn’t have enough time (and to be honest, I wasn’t certain it was the safest option for water-loving Baby Zu, who was continually saying that she wanted to put her “feet in the wah-wah.”)

Horseshoe Falls in all it's glory!

Horseshoe Falls in all it’s glory!

For the most part, we felt like the amount of time we had was plenty to “do Niagara Falls.”  If you have more time, there are lots more commercial things (amusement parks, water parks, casinos, etc) to keep you entertained.  One word of advice if you have small kiddos – there is a LOT of walking.  We used our Bitybean carrier with Baby Zu and it worked out better than I think a stroller would have, since we didn’t have to worry about keeping track of an extra piece of equipment (and keeping it dry!)

After our visit to Niagara, we spent a great weekend with my family celebrating my cousin’s wedding…then we flew home, then the next day we headed to the beach for a week with the CragDaddy’s family!  Whew!  These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of fun, but it’s good to be back and settled into our summer routine.

All dressed up with a wedding to go to!

All dressed up with a wedding to go to!

 

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