We love family hiking days. Our tip is to always go during the weekdays- because its WAY less crowded! We enjoy being outdoors + seeing what sights God created. This was our 3rd time to hike Pinnacle + I wish I could say it gets easier each time. It’s not a “hard” hike, but you are climbing up a mountain that’s basically rock steps to the top. This was Harvey’s first time up without being in my belly! I will say it was easier with a 20-pound baby strapped to me than in my tummy! Also if you plan to hike Pinnacle make sure you have plenty of water packed. Enough for you + your four legged friends! We met someone in the heat of the summer that couldn’t make it to the top because she ran out of water. You are definitely out of breath going up, but fine going down. We always play it safe + say bring a bottle for going up and a bottle for going down. With that said, the trail is clearly labeled; you follow the yellow trail up the whole time. We always go on the west summit trail, because it is suppose to be the easier hike up. With two kids I wouldn’t want to risk going up the east side, but would love to hike it alone with Zach sometime!
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On all of our hikes we carry Ezra in our Deuter backpack + Harvey in our Ergo. Soon enough we will be investing in another Deuter for Harvey! I prefer to have the kids strapped to us because it makes the hikes go much smoother. Plus they have the luxury of napping while mom + dad do the work. We always stop along the trail + let them out to stretch their legs + explore, but if we let them walk next to us a 2 hour hike would turn into an 8 hour hike. We would end up grabbing every rock + stick to add to the collection! These packs are also a good way to keep the kids safe + shaded from the sun. Everyone always stops us on the trail to tell us how lucky the kids are, and there is always one spouse that asks the other if they’ll get a pack + carry them down! Ha
Once we got to the top we encouraged the kids to get out + use their imagination. Ezra immediately took his momma + baby elephant to go eat dead grass. Then the elephants took dust baths in the dirt. Kids really are so amazing at this age. Harvey’s imagination went to seeing how many pieces of dead grass + rocks he could eat. (Don’t worry we didn’t let him eat any rocks, but he may have sneaked a piece or two of grass – we’ll see later in his diaper!) After the elephant’s tummies were full we decided to venture to the end of the rock cliff. At first Ezra begged me to carry him, but I could tell it was because he was nervous + not from being tired. I kept telling him-
“No buddy, you got this”
“You are so brave, you can climb these rocks”
“Look buddy, follow mommy, I believe in you”
Its truly amazing how fast your kids will change once they feel like you believe in them. It took a couple times of Zach + I encouraging him, but once he finally realized he COULD there was no stopping him. You could literally see the weight of fear lifted off him.
It would have been easy for me to just pick him up and not have to deal with a whiny toddler. But look at the fruit that was produced from just this little life moment. It made me re-elevuate myself. How many times have I given up RIGHT before I was almost there? How many times did I give up because I was scared + didn’t believe in myself? How many times have I missed God's calling because it was too hard? Once we made it to the end he played more with his elephants while I nursed Harvey. Breastfeeding in nature always reminds me exactly how pure it is + how privileged I am to breastfeed. I'll never forget the many many prayers I prayed while pregnant to be able to breastfeed. I will always cherish these memories.
On our way down we ran into a guy who oversees the trails. We started talking to him + I asked him how many times he has to come up + down the mountain. Y'all…. He said “oh I do it once or twice a day”. Insert jaw drop… WHAT?! ONE TO TWO TIMES A DAY! So I like to think of Zach + I in decent shape and we are totally able to climb up + down the mountain with kids strapped to us. BUT our calves are always sore for 2-3 days after hiking. I am writing this 48 hours after + my calves are twitching at the thought of going again right now. This guys legs have to be made of steel + there’s no way those are his original knees! Anyway- back to our hike down. It never fails; 3/3 times now, Ezra (our child who doesn’t nap) falls asleep on the way down. We promised him going up the mountain that once we got down we would play soccer + go down the slide. With drool in his mouth we had to wake him. He was not a happy camper until he realized it was time to play soccer + go down the slide! Below in the pictures there is one that shows the mountain in the background that we climbed!
Our tradition after a hike is to go get ice cream. We totally feel like we’ve burned enough calories + the whole family loves it!
If you’ve never hiked Pinnacle before I HIGHLY recommend it. We’ve also hiked the base trail which is a super pretty trail that goes around the entire base of the mountain! There is plenty of other trails in the park at different levels. There's a level for anyone! I recommend you to stop in at the visitor center + take a peak around. The bathrooms are always clean + they have some really cool things to look at, espically an area full of honey bee’s. Hope you enjoyed this post!
XO Colleen Cashio
CLICK HERE TO GO TO PINNACLE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK WEBSITE---> https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain/