Now that the weather is finally improving (welcome, spring!) we’re on the hunt for some new hikes within an easy driving distance of our house. A partner at work told me about Knox Farm and I knew right away that we had to check it out. The farm was once the country estate of the wealthy Knox family (the original owners of the Buffalo Sabres, and they’re still revered to this day for bringing the NHL to the area) and now it’s a state park, with over 600 acres to explore and plenty of trails. We knew that it would be a perfect family-friendly morning activity: removed enough from the hustle and bustle of the city to let hubby and me feel like we were really escaping, but close enough to get a good morning’s walk in without treading on Peanut’s naptime.
The farm is situated among rolling green fields. I loved this tangle of fences. We spent a few minutes taking in the panorama and deciding where to walk.
Peanut was having a blast up there in her chariot! She loves her good doggie-spotting vantage point. She kept up a running commentary:
“Doggie! Doggie! Hi, doggie! Hi! Woof! Woof!” I lost count of how many dogs we saw – there were a lot of dogs out with their moms and dads, enjoying the sunshine.
Do you see what I see? A pretty country lane, with actual leaves on the trees! Words cannot express how happy I am to see all this green after the winter we had. (Our Stroller Strides class moved into the park on Saturday, and I don’t think I stopped smiling throughout the entire workout, for the same reason. I am just! so! happy! to be outside and to see views like this.)
We explored the paved trails for a little while – and I thought about what a nice area this would be for marathon training runs – and then figured out how to get off the beaten (asphalt) path and into the woods. We headed across a green field, making for a large grove where we thought we might find some classic beaten-dirt hiking trails. We were very happy with what we found – a network of beautifully maintained wooded trails. Peanut was especially excited, because she got to hop down from her chariot and walk for awhile too.
Peanut was a hoot on the trail. She immediately found a stick and did some raking in the dirt, and – being a typical curious toddler – she made several attempts to escape and get (literally) into the weeds. I gave a few mom-style lectures about how we always stay on the trail and we never ever EVER touch a plant unless we know what it is. After I’d finished my spiel, she looked up at me, pointed, and said “Green grass!” As if to say, “I know that one, Mom, so can I touch it?” Tricksy hobbitses. I amended my lecture and lamely added, “And we also don’t touch plants even if we know what they are.”
I wanted to take a picture of our whole family with feet on the trail. Peanut thought this was her opportunity to climb up on top of one of my feet. I snapped the picture anyway, and I love it because it so perfectly captures what our family outings are like right now: hubby’s well-worn hiking boots, my running shoes (my hiking boots never turned up after our move, and I needed new ones anyway… and I know I shouldn’t hike in my running shoes, but my old sneakers also disappeared into the void with my boots), and two little pink Saucony sneakers standing on top of a parental shoe.
Here’s a cool discovery: we found a Little Free Library in the woods! (I don’t think it’s an official one, because I checked the map later and didn’t find it, but the idea was the same.) We didn’t look at any of the books, but when we returned the same way, there was a dad and two little kids who’d grabbed a few titles and were reading aloud at the nearby picnic table. Peanut was completely enthralled with this and now probably expects book-reading opportunities on all of her hikes.
I’ve been on many a hike, and I’ve taken in many a spectacular view. But the view above is my favorite of all time. I’ve been waiting a long time for that one.
How was your weekend? Did you get outdoors and enjoy some spring sunshine too?