Last weekend (I wrote this a while ago and then forgot to publish it!) we were blessed with the most AMAZING weather ever! Highs in the 60’s which is just so nice considering today the temp was 18 as I was running errands.


I’ve mentioned before that we are working through the hikes in THIS book and there are some that are way more than 60 miles away. And of course some of those are the ones I’ve been the most desperate to get to because they just sound incredible.


Piney Creek is just outside Chester, IL and took us about 2 hours to get to. There is a tiny little parking lot in the middle of no-where farm land and you start the hike on this mowed grass path which is a pretty strange way to start a remote hike. The path quickly turned to complete standing water and mud which was fine for Chris and the kids in their boots but my tennis shoes will never be the same again! It was seriously gross. And made the kids laugh as I freaked out and wished I had brought back up shoes! WHEN WILL I LEARN!?! Anyway, the grass path suddenly heads downhill and the first thing you come across is this creek.


It was SO pretty. We didn’t get there until 3:15pm which is SUPER late to start a winter hike (especially with a 2 hour drive home in front of us) but that late afternoon light was incredible.


The main reason this is a special park, besides it just being gorgeous, is that it has the biggest display of prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs in Illinois. The main wall isn’t hard to find but most of the prehistoric drawings have been covered up by more recent carvings – there is a sign posted that talks about them though and what I found interesting is that some of the carvings date back to the early 1900’s so now THOSE are considered they’re own historic relic i guess.

Below are the only prehistoric ones I could find for sure…


And I think the ones below are for sure fairly old b/c no one writes like that anymore. It seems that in 100 years our handwriting has gone to total crap based on this wall!


Bails was just standing there waiting for the other two and suddenly the light showed up like a boss. The sun is what I miss most about shooting indoors all winter!

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My kids are happiest if there is water so most of our hikes tend to be where I know at least one stream crosses the path – what’s great about this hike is that you can end up walking the creek bed all the way back so we spent a huge chunk of time near/in the water and my kids couldn’t have been happier!

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Gray stayed back during a lot of the “upper” hike and I loved watching him shoot bad guys, hunt for sticks and just do what 6 year old boys do in the woods. It was awesome.

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Trying to be just like Daddy – they were having fun breaking the ice.

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SO – for the first time on a hike (in a really long time) I passed the camera to Chris and asked him to shoot for just 5 minutes. I’m not in ANY family outing photos and it makes me sad.


It’s not easy to see yourself on the other side of the lens but even with the extra pounds, hiking hair and double chin I am so glad he snapped these!

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That one of me and Gray especially. Zipping a jacket. It’s such a normal every day thing but how many photos do you have doing that? And my days are almost done with kids that need help with shoe tying or coat zipping. My double chin PAINS me but Gray won’t see that. I just love him watching me. I love that it’s just such a normal Mom moment that Chris caught. I’m absolutely passing the camera to him more often!

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These are the photos that don’t even really make it into our albums but I love taking photos of the nature we encounter because we always pause with the kids to feel the moss or roll a log to look for bugs or enjoy the ice (we never let them break hanging ice).

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The rocks in the creek bed were amazing – it would be really fun to sit and play in the summer but the ticks would keep me away!

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The mud. Oh my gosh you guys the MUD. I was so ill-prepared!

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I would go back here in a heart beat but I would for sure get there earlier in the day so we had more time. By the end the sun was setting quick and it was getting colder so we were rushing the kids. They could have played in the creek forever! Such a good day!