A summer hike at Mueller State Park • twokidsintow.com

Legs on fire and lungs working overtime to compensate for the elevation and exertion, our band of moms, kids, and babies reached the top of a steep hill on Geer Pond Trail. “What goes up must come back down,” as they say, and no sooner had we arrived at the top of this section’s climb we realized we had to make the necessary descent almost immediately.

Babes on their backs, the first few hikers bravely started down our trail, slipping slightly on the loose gravel with each careful step. The kids quickly decided not to tempt gravity by descending on foot, but instead opted to slide down on their butts, giggling uncontrollably as they filled their shorts with rocks. Their mothers took turns cheering and laughing as the train of children slowly skid their way down the hill, trying not to lose balance themselves as they hiked.

A summer hike at Mueller State Park • twokidsintow.com

We made it to the bottom at last, happy not to have biffed it on this section of trail. Continuing down our path and up another massive hill, we eagerly hiked for the body of water promised on the map, appropriately named Lost Pond. The sun pounded our backs as it rose higher and higher in the sky, making our destination more enticing with each toddler-paced step.

Some time and some inevitable whining later, we crested the hill that hid Lost Pond. One by one, we each skirted around the water and headed for the shade, ready for a well deserved break and a snack.

A summer hike at Mueller State Park • twokidsintow.com

The older kids ate just enough to take the edge off before they headed to the water’s edge. Armed with sticks, pinecones, and rocks, they took turns splashing in the pond and sneaking their shoes into the water when they thought their moms weren’t paying attention. Mosquitos and dragon flies swarmed around us, deterred slightly by our quick use of bug spray upon nearing the pond.

We sat and ate and talked and laughed as the children played, happy to be away from the heat at the lower elevation of home.

It was time to press on when the summer flies were too much to bear. The kids were rounded up and sent back around the pond to our trail as we loaded the babies back in their carriers. With a deep breath and the lure of the end of our hike ahead, we scrambled up yet another incline while the older kids ran onward, eager to slide down on their butts a few more times.

A summer hike at Mueller State Park • twokidsintow.com