Once we got to the park, we had the girls pose with the sign to commemorate our hike.
See how happy and excited Olivia looks? (Yeah... it didn't last longer than the first mile.)
At be beginning of the hike, the girls spent a lot of time climbing the boulders and hills off the path.
They learned pretty quickly that going up was a lot easier than coming down, but that didn't stop them.
I spent most of that time being a tourist and taking lots of photos of the view as we climbed.
At one point when the path started winding around the hill, we finally got our first good view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. It was amazing!
And a few more pictures the sights we had hiking up the hill:
This "castle" on top of Mt. Rubidoux really enticed me the last time I was here. I couldn't wait to see it up close when we got to the top.
Olivia was amazed at this crazy-looking giant plant. It looked a lot like an aloe vera plant, only the leaves weren't as... juicy.
Kelsey wasn't as awed by the plants as she was the weight of the chain hanging on the bridge. She could barely lift it. And as a side note, do you see the guy jogging in the background? Apparently Mt. Rubidoux is the hot exercise spot in town. One guy even passed us 3 times - twice while he was going up, and when he was coming down.
On the way up we passed Huntington Rock. The coolest thing about this rock is the guy it's named after. When I lived in upstate New York, there was a dairy barn in town. It was owned by the Huntington family, who (I think) bought my grandpa's farmland when he sold it. Yes, my Grandpa Mathewson was a dairy farmer. This Mr. Huntington that the rock is named after is from the same Huntington family. I never would have guessed that upstate NY had so many connections with Southern California!
And this crevice we passed through had a surprise for us partway through.
Cool, isn't it?
I followed the girls up to get this awesome photo opportunity.
Grandma Crews, on the other hand, stayed firmly on the ground.
It was around this time that the girls began to realize how tired they were. They sat down every time they got a chance.
Sometimes they even laid down.
Olivia seemed the most tired, but Kelsey was the loudest with her complaints.
At one point during the climb, we let the girls do a little off-road hiking between the path we were on, and the path were going to be BE on. That's when the girls had their big find.
After all that looking at the beach, they found their shells on the mountain. On a mountain 90 minutes from the coast, no less.
And not just snail shells, either.
We got to the final stretch...
...and eventually to the top.
Even Miss Tired got a second wind and didn't feel the need to lay on the rocks this time.
The girls climbed up on the boulders to eat their long-awaited snack. By then we had worked up enough of a sweat to take off our sweaters and jackets.
On top of Mt. Rubidoux there is a huge cross. The girls decided to climb the giant stairs to get to the base of the cross.
So they climbed...
...and climbed some more...
...till they got there. Unfortunately, I didn't want to take a picture of them WITH the cross because these two guys were sitting at the base of it and wouldn't move. I didn't really want them in the picture. By the way, have I told you lately how much I love my zoom feature on my camera? Despite what it looks like from the picture, I wasn't up there with them or anywhere close. It's like having binoculars in my camera!
On the way back down we passed the castle.
There wasn't much to it, but it was pretty cool regardless.
I noticed this tribute to other countries on it, and wondered why it was there.
On the other side of the castle there was a plaque that stated: "This bridge was built by neighbors and friends of Frank Augustus Miller in recognition of his constant labor in the promotion of civic beauty, community righteousness, and world peace." I guess that means it isn't really a castle? Anyhow, it was built 10 years before he died and it appears his greatest accomplishment was building the Mission Inn in Riverside, according to Wikipedia. Kind of takes the magic out of it for you, doesn't it?
Kelsey said this smaller structure past the bridge was the dungeon.
Such a beautiful view!
Even at the bridge, Olivia found a place to rest.
And another on the way down. She has a knack for it, I think.
Despite the complaints from the girls (remember Kelsey being "positive (her) feet hurt"?) and the soreness in our legs the next day, it was a great experience! I assured the girls that even though they may not have loved the hike, they will eventually loved having done it. I know I sure do!