I always thought the woods were so beautiful and whimsical.
Upon moving to Tennessee, I would see homes set in the midst of gorgeous tracts of forested land and imagined our family settling in one of these homes, tucked away and secluded in our own private grove.
After living in Tennessee for almost 3 years,
I now feel very differently.
The woods here are not like forested areas in Utah.
By that, I mean that lots of trees here are a big indicator of TICKS, spiders, TICKS, snakes, and TICKS.
Thankfully we've only had a total of 2 ticks in the family since moving here, but that's definitely not the case for everyone.
My friend lives next to some woods and has told me a few horror stories--like nonchalantly picking a tick out of her toddler daughter's head in the middle of Church (because they get them so frequently) or the time her son sat on a rock and discovered about 40 ticks in his legs afterward.
Another friend's daughter got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick and she said it was really horrible.
They are a very real threat, and I am probably excessively disgusted by them.
To give us the opportunity to enjoy the beauty safely, sometimes parks in the area will have a boardwalk through the woods to keep you well removed from all those threats. This park has a gorgeous boardwalk that is over a mile long and the scenery is absolutely stunning!
Sam suggested we pick up Chick-fil-a and have a picnic and walk through the forest one Saturday evening.
Along the way, we decided to be spontaneous and have dessert first. We headed to a soft-serve ice cream stand we have heard rave reviews about and picked up a cup for everyone. They had dozens of fun flavors to choose from and the ice cream was ultra smooth and creamy.
We picked a nice, shady spot to enjoy our picnic and were pleasantly surprised by a breeze that came in that was even slightly cool!
After the picnic, we walked the boardwalk and enjoyed observing the bugs and the amazing tree formations that grow out of the swampy terrain.
Benson amazed us as he ran steadily for like a mile of it.
And afterward, the boys loved running/rolling down a giant hill over and over until the sun set.
Sometimes the boys' energy is just too much for our house to peacefully hold. This outing definitely did the trick to tucker them out--they could barely keep their heads up on the way home and were asleep almost instantly after getting into bed.
(And once again, thanks to Breanne for the majority of these photos.)