I have always appreciated my husband, but over the past year his value to me has reached all new heights! For those of you who don't know, at the very very end of 2011 because of a certain incident that took place my pregnancy took a whole new turn & I was put onto complete bed rest. For a person who loves to be active & very hands on, this was a huge challenge. I was not even able to get up to get the girls a glass of water!?
Many people around me definitely stepped up at this time of need for our family, but the greatest support had to be my husband. He has always been super involved with the kids, but suddenly he had to become daddy & mommy on a level. He took the girls to their classes, got up with them every morning, & even got them dressed head to toe (this included doing their hair & bow selection...He was very good at it I might add). He also was a great rock for me to lean on for those days that were a lil' more challenging physically or emotionally. We didn't just make it through this time, but I believe it made our family even stronger!
It was for this reason & more that I really wanted to make sure my husband had the best Father's Day to date (although every day should be Father's Day on a level). I wanted to not only get him some presents he would really like, but do something adventurous & fun for the whole family. I eventually came across Tonto Natural Bridge State Park out there in Payson. A friend of mine had just went & said it was definitely a sight worth seeing. If you like nature & hiking, then I definitely recommend going at least once to see this hidden wonder.
My mind was set. This was what we were going to do for Father's Day. So, I packed up some swimming suits, lunches, & 3 cute lil' ladies & we went straight over to surprise daddy early in the morning who was just getting off of work. I left Adley at home though (Hiking with a newborn= No Bueno).
J was surprised when we just showed up to "kidnap" him. He was even more surprised when he found out he was going to be driving about an hour & a half to 2 hrs before he was going to find out where we were going. It was a great drive up (take a IKEA potty if you have lil' toddlers, much easier bathroom breaks if needed).
When we finally arrived my husband was pleasantly surprised. We had a wonderful time & made memories as a family we will NEVER forget.
If this seems like a place you might enjoy going with your kiddos, then let me write up just a few tips I would recommend. Definitely check weather before you go & if there are any fires nearby that might cause it to be closed. The park opens at 8am, so the earlier the better. The weather was not too bad at all & there was a nice breeze, but as July approaches it might get to be much hotter soon. For Us it was not until around 1pm that it started to get a lil' hot & busier.
If you have a kid around 1 or so, then I recommend bringing a back carrier. Some of the steps are kind of steep & they might get tuckered out fast. I also would suggest making sure that you take enough people to have an adult with each child for extra safety. If your kids tend to not be very obedient, then taking them down a mountain to a waterfall might not be the most ideal or safe situation to take on.
We packed a lunch that the girls enjoyed eating by the waterfall. I would definitely recommend packing a lot of water to drink, we even brought spray bottles for each child to use to cool themsevles down on breaks. Hats & sunblock are great. We brought suits for the girls, they have a lil' area they can swim in. We did not end up swimming once we got there, but there is a lil' area where the kids can if they want to.
Maps to get there & of the park can be found at http://azstateparks.com/Parks/TONA/index.html. The path I would take on first would be the Waterfall Trail. It is a nice "appetizer" for what you will see next. The Anna Mae Trail is the toughest & has a lot of rocks to climb, so if you have younger kids then take the Gowan Trail after Waterfall Trail. It does have some steep areas, but with adult assistance kids should be okay. My 2 & 3 year old did great & LOVED seeing the waterfall up close & personal. Bring good shoes for hiking for sure. I saw some people with flip flops & even a barefoot child, I would definitely not recommend that-lol. Cameras & video cameras are also great to have.
Pricing was not bad at all:
Park Entrance Fees: Adult (14+): $5.00Youth (7–13): $2.00
Child (0–6): FREE
Well, if you are looking for a fun turn & burn day trip then this was great. If you prefer staying up there for a few days then some other attractions your kids may enjoy are Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery & there is a goat farm up there as well. A family friendly place to consider staying at is Khols Ranch.
Well, we had a great Father's Day celebration & I hope you all did too!
|Who is excited?|
|Is that green I see in Arizona?|
|Waterfall Trail, pictures do not do justice!|
|Cooling down with her spray bottle|
|Looking down. Those aren't ants, they are people-lol|
|Taking time to eat|
|Bridge to waterfall, bottom of the trail|
|It was beautiful|
|Gotta love family adventures, minus 1 munchkin sadly|
|Standing under the waterfall|
|Wind shifted, they got wet!-lol|
|The natural bridge|
|On the way up the trail, acting exhausted Haha|
|What I came home to=LOVE|
|After seeing Daddy buy Mommy flowers always,|
they insisted he needed some for Father's Day
Aidy: "He needs fake ones so they won't die anymore"
|Huge Starbucks cup? Yes, please|
|A "seat belt" according to the Ladies|
|Lots & lots of clothes for Dad.|
|Testing the "seat belt" out|