Tag Archives: Hiking

Brooker Creek Preserve Field Trip

It’s Field Trip Day to Brooker Creek Preserve!!!

At approximately 8700 acres, Brooker Creek Preserve is the largest natural area in Pinellas County.  It consists primarily of forested wetlands and pine flatwoods.  The Preserve provides both a unique refuge for native flora and fauna as well as an opportunity for citizens to explore the natural beauty of wild Florida.

The Preserve also serves to protect a significant portion of the Brooker Creek Watershed. A complex of hiking and equestrian trails provide visitors an opportunity to explore the Preserve’s many ecosystems.

There were three different activities for the children.  They went into the museum where they watched a film and got to have a hands on experience with different furs, bones, bugs, etc.  They each got to net the swamp and see if they could find any critters.  Davy was the first to find one of two Crawfish, there was a tadpole, and they saw a Water Moccasin swim by.  And lastly, they got to go on a hike which went through 4 different ecosystems:  Pinewood Flats, Cypress Swamps, Oak Hammock, Sand Hill.

The kids loved it!


Getting ready to load the bus… Davy, Liam, Pierce

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 Davy’s sweet teacher Mrs. Paggio…

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Filed under 2nd Grade, Berkeley Prep, Project Life 2013

Our First Geocache Find

For Davy’s birthday we gave him his first geocaching kit.  Now you may be asking what is geocaching, it is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (such as your iphone). Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.  There are almost 2 million hidden geocaches worldwide.  They are everywhere and most people don’t even know it.

Immediately Davy was like let’s go find one, so Andy pulled up the map to see where the nearest one was, and don’t you know there are several near our home with the first being only .5 mile away.  We had to go and see if it was there!  Brandie, Laurence, Ryla, and Layne decided to join us on our adventure.  Here is the provided clue to find the cache:


Just in time to commemorate the last Halloween you may ever spend on this earth! Are you brave enough for the most terrifying, dangerous cache you have ever encountered? Will you emerge from the experience alive? Or will your blood be a feast for the Dark One supped from a drinking gourd that was once your skull?  (Note to parents: This is a safe, kid friendly cache. None of the above is true. Except for the part about your skull being used as a drinking gourd. That actually will happen.)

This cache was placed both to drop a cache in a big, tempting empty spot on the map and to commemorate having to get blood drawn here more times than I’d like. Originally it was going to be a micro, but I was inspired by the RainBowGirlz’ cool theme cache Creatures of the Night (GCT81E). There’s room for smaller and mid-sized trading items, and please try to keep your trades in line with the Halloween/horror theme of the cache. There’s a Dracula figurine for the FTF prize.

Additional Hints (Decrypt) – onfrbsgurovtgerr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)


It took Andy all of 3 seconds to say, “Oh, it’s over by the doctors office!”.  Sure enough, the compass lead us there.  The compass will bring you within 10 ft of the cache and then you are on your own to hunt it down.  We wandered behind the doctor’s office and into the woods.  The decrypt says, “base of the big tree”.  It took us about 10 minutes to find it, Davy was so excited.  The trinkets were small; Matty took a Halloween bookmark, Ryla took a small cow, and we replaced with a hairy spider.  What surprised us was the signed log.  There were two other families that we knew who had signed it before us.  It is fun to think about all of the families that do this together.  Can’t wait to see all of the fun places that we will adventure too….  www.geocaching.com


Davy reaching in to pull it out.



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Filed under Geocaching, Krulik Family

A Hike at Honeymoon Island

This weekend has been crazy with birthday parties, starting on Friday night, so we decided to take the boys out on this beautiful day for a little family time.  Andy thought it might be nice to take Molly to a dog park and that’s when he thought of Honeymoon Island.  It is a state park and dogs are allowed.  We had planned to hike around the tip of the island, but the mosquitos were out so we turned around and only went for one mile.  The dogs are supposed to remain leashed on the beach, but it really wasn’t that crowded, so for just a few minutes we let her run free.  We had a really nice time.  🙂

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Filed under Beach, Fun Outings

GA Day 3 – Toccoa River Tubing, Mining, and Hiking

We started our day by stopping at Mercer Orchards.  They are one of the largest orchards in the area and known for their “u-picking” and different jams, jellies, and butters.  Currently, they were picking strawberries and the blueberries were expected to be ready by the end of the week…so we decided to pass and instead browsed through their gift shop.  We bought some old-fashioned peach butter and some peach butter with honey.  On the way back to the truck, Andy noticed that we had a flat tire.  Uh oh!  So, he ended up calling AAA and waiting while the boys and I went on a tractor ride through the orchards.  We saw apple trees, peach trees, cherry trees, pecan trees, strawberry plants, blueberry bushes and more.  By the time we got back the tire was changed and we were on our way!


From here we drove over to McCaysville to go tubing.  We found a company that didn’t have a minimum age requirement, perfect for Matty.  It seems that most of them require that the children be 5, but Matty is awesome and can do anything!  The Toccoa River Adventures offered floats for $6 per person, cheap outdoor fun!  We decided on the short float which was about and hour and forty five minutes.  The boys had a great time.  The water was cold, but not to cold…. Andy and Matty even braved it in to do a little swimming.

For lunch we headed back to Blue Ridge and ate at Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ.  It is another walk up BBQ place that has a lot to offer and delicious food.  After lunch we promised Davy that we would take him mining for gems.  That was his one request on this trip, so of course we had to find a place.  Right off of the main street there was a place called Huck’s Lost Mine.  The large buckets were $25 and it came with a round of mini golf for two.  The bucket was packed full of treasures and the boys had a great time playing in the mud.  We wandered over to the ice cream shop and then took off south for a quick hike at Fall Branch Falls to end the day.

The hike was only about a quarter-mile and it let you walk right up to the waterfall.  At the bottom of the hike, across a small field, there’s access to the creek for the kids to play in.



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Filed under Fun Outings, Georgia, Memorial Day Weekend, Vacations

GA Day 2 – Chattanooga

Rise and shine!  Today we are off to Chattanooga.  We make a pit stop for some donuts and coffee and we are on our way.  We decided to take the route to the north driving us through Cherokee National Forest.  The road wraps alongside the Ocoee River and we made a quick stop to let the boys see the whitewater rafters.  Of course little Matty points and says, “I wanna do that!”  🙂

Our fun outing today was to Rock City.   Check it out at www.seerockcity.com .  Special features are:

  • A self-guided walking tour along The Enchanted Trail that gently meanders through the 14-acre property.
  • Massive rock formations estimated to be 200 million years old
  • Gardens featuring more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, plants, shrubs and trees
  • Panoramic views of seven states from 1,700 feet above sea level
  • View of the Chattanooga Valley and Missionary Ridge-Civil War battlefields
  • Some points of interest along The Enchanted Trail include the 100-foot waterfall, 1,000-ton balanced rock, Swing-A-Long Bridge (ideal for pictures), Gnome Valley, Legendary view of seven states from Lover’s Leap, Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village

Davy loved the gnomes and the trail.  At the top they had a few additional activities like the rock wall, live music, food, etc.

At the bottom we stopped at the gift shop and I had to buy the famous bird house :), only ours is an ornament!  For lunch we decided to head on over to downtown Chattanooga to try one of their famous local restaurants.  We ended up at the Terminal Brewhouse.  I pulled this information off of their website www.terminalbrewhouse.com.

“The Terminal Station (Choo Choo) opened in December of 1909 and created an immediate need for a nearby hotel to give comfort to the weary travelers. The very next year The Stong building (no that is not a typo) was built next door and The Terminal Hotel came to life soon after.

A pictorial book, Pen and Sunlight Sketches of Chattanooga, reported that in its location and equipment, it is eminently representative of progress in the hotel facilities of this thriving city.” The hotel featured steam-heated rooms (fancy), with meals served all hours in a café.

Legend holds that through the years the Stong building was home to speakeasies during prohibition, illegal casinos and even a house of ill repute. There may even have been some activities that took place in the fine building that one would not approve of although none come to mind.

Sometime in the early 1940’s Chester Davis, a porter at the Terminal Station, saved his tips and purchased the Stong building becoming one of the first black business owners in Chattanooga. The building stayed in his family, housing many different businesses, until purchased in 2006 by local raconteur Joe Sliger who immediately began restoring the property. Not long after he found a motley (but dashing) crew interested in this Historic building. This band of visionaries had, coincidentally, a vision for the wonderful old building. The walls and rafters seemed to cry out to these rugged, brilliant men. “Beer” said the walls “amazing food” said the rafters and so, despite being terrified of the talking building, an idea was born. After MUCH struggling and MANY delays The Terminal BrewHouse came alive and there was much rejoicing verily and thusly.”

They even let you take home some of their fresh brews in growlers, a half-gallon jar or jug used to transport…beer!  Andy was in heaven!  After lunch we went to the Chickamauga Battlefield.  Davy has shown a lot of interest in soldiers and history lately, so this was perfect for him.  We watched a 20 minute movie on the Civil War battles that took place here and we got to listen to a live talk on the soldiers uniforms that they wore and how to load and fire an 1840 Baltimore rifle.  It was so loud!  I can’t even imagine what it would have sounded like to have thousands of them going off at once.

One interesting fact that we learned was that the soldiers wore wool instead of cotton.  The cotton at that time caught on fire pretty easily, so with the guns blowing off gun powder and the ash that flew through the air it was best if they wore wool (even though it was hot out) so that their clothes didn’t catch on fire.  Davy liked how the soldiers didn’t really use the bayonets, except to stab into the ground and hold a candle at night.

After a long day, we decided to pick up a few frozen pizzas and head back to the house for a little fun.

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Filed under Georgia, Vacations

Anna Ruby Falls

After we left Helen we decided to take the boys on a hike, and the one closest is Anna Ruby Falls which is located just north of the town and in Chattahoochee National Forest.  The waterfalls are named for the daughter of John H. Nichols, a wealthy White County resident who owned much of the land in the vicinity.  Besides the falls, Nichols had purchased significant amounts of land around the Chattahoochee River, Duke’s Creek and Sautee River.   Although the stories of the discovery of Annaruby Falls vary, one frequently circulated myth is that Nichols found them while riding shortly after the death of his wife and child.  The falls were known as early as 1819 and are noted on survey maps of the era, long before Nichols owned the land.  The trail was easy and the boys just loved running up and down the paved path.  :O)

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Filed under Fall, Georgia, Vacations

Memorial Day Weekend 2011 – Chimney Rock

Davy just finished his last day of school and with a long weekend ahead of us, we decided to pack up and spend the weekend in North Carolina.  Davy loves the mountains so much and we had the time, so this gift was for him.  After we had our celebratory lunch, we went home and packed the car, and we were off.  The ride up was easy and we pulled in around 11pm.  Here’s sweet Matty sleeping on the way up.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, we decided to head over to Asheville and do a little exploring.  We stopped at the BP for a cup of coffee and a sausage biscuit and then headed out.  We figured by the time we got there it would be the perfect time for brunch.  Asheville has so many independent places to eat at, but we had such a great meal at Tupelo Honey the last time we decided to take mom there so she could see it for herself.

As we pulled into Asheville, we saw a sign for the Asheville Farmers Market!  In the spirit of being spontaneous, we decided to go and check it out.  I love Farmer’s Markets.  There were several different hangers all filled with produce, plants, meats, jams, jellies, honey, etc.  We were not disappointed and ended up having a honey taste test.  Yum!  We bought Blueberry Honey, pure Wildflower Honey, Sourwood Honey, and some Hotter than Hell Chow Chow.

We were officially starving so off to Tupelo Honey.  It was actually a good thing that we stopped because they didn’t open until after 9.  We had a half hour wait, so the boys played across the street.

Once you sit down at the table, they bring out biscuits, jelly, and honey.  Here are the boys eating theirs.  For brunch I had a sweet potato pecan pancake, mom had a grilled chicken sandwich, and Andy had fried chicken with biscuits and red-eye gravy.

We decided today that we would check out Chimney Rock; so we headed southeast out of Asheville and about 25 miles later we were there.  Chimney Rock is located in Chimney Rock State Park and is apart of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.  The rock is at and elevation of 2, 280 and you can see out up to 75 miles.  When climbing up to Chimney Rock it is roughly 400 stairs.  We parked at the bottom, took a bus to the entrance and then began our climb.  Davy and I went ahead first, Andy carried Matty, and mom followed in the rear.

Here’s Davy and I half way up to Chimney Rock.

Now, when you get to Chimney Rock lookout, of course there is a trail to go even higher and we weren’t going to give up there.  We had to go to the top to check it out!  Exclamation Point is at an elevation of 2,480 ft and is the pinnacle of the park, and essentially we just hiked 3/4’s of mile straight up.  We were so proud of Davy and Matty.  Davy didn’t complain one time, in fact he loved it, and little Matty wanted to hike it too…he’s just a little slow.  Here we are at the top.  :O)

After we hiked back down to the entrance of the trail, we met up with mom and decided to hike on over to Hickory Nut Falls.  It was also 3/4 of a mile to get there; meaning that we ended up hiking 3 miles today.  This waterfall is one of the highest falls east of the Mississippi.

By the time we got back to the bus we were hot and tired….but we were so glad that we went the extra distance.  The views and the waterfall were beautiful.  At the Chimney Rock lookout we spotted Lake Lure and decided to drive over and get a better look at it.  There was a really cute little village, a beautiful resort, and a beach on the lake.  This beach reminded me of one that you would see in a movie.  It was very clean, crowded, lots of things to do, and with a gorgeous backdrop.  Matty fell asleep in the car, Davy took one look at the water slides, and we had to stop for him.  :O)

One of the neatest things that they had here on the beach was a water balloon firing station.  You could purchase the balloons at the check-in desk, the kids would fill them up with water, and then they would launch them at each other.  Davy loved this!

After we left the lake, we headed back towards Asheville.  All of us were starving so we stopped at their local Mellow Mushroom for some pizza.  Yum Yum!!!  The weather was beautiful so we ate outside.  Today was a great adventurous day!!!














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Filed under Memorial Day Weekend, North Carolina