Hiking in Cliff Cave Park: Pals 'n Pups

This past weekend I needed some nature. Not the kind where you go sit in a city park and picnic. Don't get me wrong, I do adore a lovely picnic, but I needed the nitty gritty nature. I wasn't prepared enough to go camping yet as I need to buy my own tent and various other necessities, so hiking was the next best option. I reached out friends who might be interested, and blasted it on social media. I soon had a nice little group of pals who planned to meet up at Cliff Cave County Park. 

The day was absolutely gorgeous, and although we were a little worried upon arriving at the park due to a few car break-ins that had just happened in the parking lot, we were soon off and hiking away! There is a large cave immediately on the beginning of the trail, and it's a really cool spot. Unfortunately, the cave entrance is completely blocked by heaven metal barwork. I read online that there is supposedly an endangered species of bats living in the cave, so it's off-limits. I'm sure it's also to keep young hooligans and trouble-makers from, you know, making trouble in there.

Due to recent rain and snow and just chilly temperatures, a majority of the trail was reduced to a muddy path that proved difficult to navigate at times. Pretty soon into our hike, I realized that my white pup and I were going to be covered in mud by the time we reached the car again. But seeing as I was wearing whatever-type stuff and Cher didn't seem to care at all, we just powered on through and it was so much fun!

My friend Theo came along with us, and I'm so very glad that he did. We have hung out in nature once before - in 2011 we both brought along buddies for a camping trip at Hawn State Park. He's a fantastic photographer, and although I know he likes hanging out with trees too, he really prefers photographing people. And I'm glad that he does - because his portraits and snaps of humans are so perfectly real. I believe not all photographers are the same. Some just have a way of capturing the right moments and sides of their subjects. Theo is one of them.

Two other pups came along with us for the day. My coworker Adrain brought along her little fluffy man Russell, and Dave brought along his beautiful bully girl Susie. Cher really liked Susie, and after they had their first little tough gal stand off, they would hustle along right next to each other on the path. I'm really thankful for all of my friends and that they opted to brave the muddy terrain with me. I can't wait to plan another trip soon... now I just have to decide which trail to conquer next!