Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Battle Creek Falls Hike and the Power of Dirt

This post by Simple Mom and this post by Amy at Super Healthy Kids really got me thinking about the importance of outside time for my little ones. For us it has been way too easy to be sucked inside with our air conditioning and electronic traps. The other day, I opened the back door to take the garbage out and these two little adventurers followed me.

My daughter wanted to pour her leftover water in the dirt. After she decided to shovel some dirt onto the concrete, my son decided to join her as well. I think it was his first time in the dirt -as you can see THEY LOVED IT. Besides the shovel - they only played with dirt, water, and rocks.

Lily found several rocks and decided to make a "rock museum."

Amy recommended a book that I am excited to try: Last Child in the Woods, Saving our children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv.

I recall reading about this book as well from another blog in the last month. It is sad how far removed even my children are from nature sometime. Too scheduled. Too electronically entertained. Too confined. The joy they felt as they basked in the sunshine, squished in the dirt, discovered rolly pollys, etc. was highly apparent. And they didn't need me to tell them what to do (except I did try to keep as much as possible from Cortland's mouth!)

Some of the benefits Simple Mom cited for children playing the dirt are:
1. Dirt can actually make you feel happy - apparently there are types of bacteria that are naturally found in soil which activate the neurons that produce serotonin – a key chemical in many bodily functions, as well as a natural anti-depressant.
2. Dirt is great for kiddos' immune systems.
3. More playtime outside = less childhood obesity.

Check out her post for more benefits and ideas for what to do with your children outside!

As part of more outside time, we've hiked to Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove twice - it's easy even for Lily and very pretty!

Lily saw the boys fishing and asked me if she could fish, too. I told her that she needed a fishing rod like they did. No problem for her - she spent a few minutes searching the trail for the perfect long stick and went and stood right next to them to fish. When they lifted up their rods and tapped the water, she did, too. Toddlers are so observant!

I am loving our Sherpana Rumbi Lightweight. It was perfect for us. Cort loves just chilling in it.

We spent about 45 minutes just sitting and enjoying the two falls and playing in the shallow water.We packed simple snacks for the kids as well.

Lily decided to pretend she was a bird. Cort also mimicked the water fall and kept raising his hands in the air and pushing them down.

They both loved getting wet, muddy, and dirty. This was a hands on hike!

About halfway through the hike, you come to a smaller waterfall and a stream. There was a nice section that we stopped at and played for awhile.

Here are the details of the hike if anyone else is interested in doing it :)

1.8 miles round trip

Description: There is a scenic waterfall on Battle Creek, a short distance up a canyon on the east side of the town of Pleasant Grove. The water falls in two ribbons.

It is easy to hike to the top of the waterfall. Some people rappel down the waterfall, enjoying the cool spray on a hot summer day. We saw a youth group doing this the first time we went and it looked like lots of fun!

The trailhead is easy to find. From the town of Pleasant Grove, just follow 200 S to the east side of town. The street is also known as Battle Creek Drive and it dead-ends at the trailhead.

Battle Creek Falls
From the trailhead, just follow the obvious hiker trail into the canyon. The trail stays in the bottom of the canyon, along the stream, for most of the way, but it climbs up onto the bench as you approach the waterfall. You can easily hike down to the base of the waterfall, or continue up the canyon for several more miles. You return the way you came in.

What are some of your favorite hikes in Utah and Salt Lake County?