Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow, Hikes , Math references, and Rocks... Intrigued? No wait! Come Back!!!

Yes it's true.  Snow will slow down a good hike in a big way.  I mean who can possibly go post-holing through hip deep snow and keep the same pace as one would during summer?  Well, while this first statement is completely true, it's not what happened to us.  We only had an epic amount of 4 inches of snow to deal with, but I'll maintain that our hike was slow-motion-ified even by this minute amount of white.

How could such a short and fun hike be so slow? 

Well, there were a couple of important factors which I will outline in one of the most important mathematical equations seen in years.  If you discount little ones like Relativity and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem...

Children from the deep south + Snow = snail like progress and constant mischief

The sound of the kids yelling "POW POW Freshies!!!" echoed through the forest whenever they found untracked snow in a clearing.  As to the Pow Pow Freshies joke, you would understand if you watched loads of stupid snowboarding shows featuring overpaid 19-year-olds skiing impossible lines off cliff faces and speaking some form of ski-bum slang that I find amusing.

The kids stopped as often as dogs on a walk.  Picking up and throwing snow at each other was the real order of the day, so we were moving at about a mile an hour.  (that's a generous speed estimate there...)

Here is Brenna with her patient face on.  This was required because every few steps Aiden, without looking, would just chuck a snowball over his head toward anyone behind him.  You had to be paying attention or you were going to have it on your head.  He thought this was the funniest thing he had come up with...EVER.

We also discovered Aiden was putting the snowballs in his pockets to save them.  He was soaked pretty quickly but seemed completely immune to the chill.  There is something about kids and snow that makes them not notice temperature.

An example of the sneak attack snowball.

Notice that Ansley was not in any of the fight pictures. She wisely avoided her brothers to avoid becoming collateral damage.

As the snowball fights raged on, we were actually on a hike.  The idea, at least, was that we were heading up to Arch Rock in the Smoky Mountain National Park.

The hike followed a stream up to the arch which had been carved out of the limestone and shale over millions of years. It was very different than the examples we had seen in Utah's sandstone.  The rocks that made up the arch had a thin layered sedimentary look to it rather than looking like the arch was carved out of a more uniform piece of rock.  Each layer was .5-1 inch thick and looked really jagged where softer stone had been eroded away leaving the harder layers exposed.

We had to cross the creek we were following a few times and the kids loved the log bridges that we had to use.  I was just happy I didn't have to pluck a soggy child out of the creek...

We found the trail actually passed through the arch itself and we had to climb a wet and slippery series of stone steps to reach the other side. The arch is almost hidden from view by trees so there wasn't a good spot to actually get a photograph of the entire structure.  Here is Ansley descending back through the arch.

It was a 3 mile hike and took us just under 3 hours to complete, and I think with all the smiles that it was exactly the right speed.

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