5 years, 8 months.
After leaving Saturday morning at 5:30 AM from our home in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and having a few adventures in between, we finally made it to Fort Payne, Alabama, about 13 hours later; where Nonna and Papa live.
The next afternoon, we loaded up for our final stop on our 1st father and son road trip. Nonna and Papa joined us in the Lexus ES; while Uncle Andrew and your cousin Calla followed us in their Toyota Highlander.
On route to the hiking spot, I made a quick detour to show you the little brick house I grew up in, until I was a high school freshman in 1995 when the “new house” (which serves as your summer camp headquarters for the week) was built.
Just a few miles away was the DeSoto State Park, where we began our journey down the Azalea Cascade Trail.
I chose for you to go on this trail as a way to keep you from having to take a nap: In the afternoons, you get way too much energy if you don’t sleep; so I catered to your needs by providing an agenda and landscape for you:
It was a long, strenuous trail for the likes of a 5 and a half year-old boy. I was very pleased with the results.
You encountered a wall of a hill…
A treacherous bridge…
And a giant rock or two for us to climb together.
Perhaps one of your favorite parts of the trail was when you amazingly found a baby slug that you took along for a leg of the hike.
About 15 minutes later, you declared, “Daddy, it’s time for me to part ways with Sluggy.”
And so you did.
I helped you find a nice place in the grass for him to hang out.
Hiking that trail with you showed me what you’re capable of for next time!
I figured it would be a good idea for you and your cousin to cool down by playing at the playground across from where we parked the Lexus ES.
It just so happens, the playground equipment company Papa has worked for since 1979 made and installed the equipment the two of you played on.
From there, we got cleaned up and got ready for your goodbye dinner at the Thai restaurant…