Afton Family Hike

Gary Fallesen
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Afton Family Hike

Afton Family Hike

The first annual C4C MN Chapter Fall Foliage Family Fun Hike on Saturday, Sept. 27 was a great success. Six people participated in the pleasant 3.5-mile hike through the rolling St. Croix River valley in Afton State Park. It was also the first C4C event for the newly married Eckers family. Congratulations to Gabe and Michelle! They have a great story about their relationship — I encourage everyone to ask them about it some time. 

The prior evening's weather check called for clear skies, but my windshield wipers were intermittently oscillating across my windshield during most of my drive to Afton due to a light drizzle that followed the newly arrived cold front.

Just as we have hope in things unseen, I knew the drizzle would fizzle as the sun got higher and we would have a great hike.

The hiking path was well maintained and allowed us to enjoy the conversation and sights along the way. We spent most of our time getting to know each other, telling stories and enjoying the excitement of a toddler in the woods. The trees were not quite in full color yet, but you could tell they were on the verge of a color explosion. Eliana (22 months old) hiked up the biggest hill of her life, all while singing parts of the ABCs, “Happy Birthday,” and “I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.”

Eliana Will walking the Afton Family Hike.

At the peak height of the trail, the park service had cut and burned about 10 acres of prairie grass that surrounded the hiking path, leaving the ground blackened and barren. Sporadic trees were left standing. They looked lonely. It reminded me about the photos I have seen from Haiti and we talked about life in Gentilhomme, what it is like, how God brought C4C there, and what is happening now 

We stopped for lunch when we reached the banks of the St. Croix River. There was a large log laying high on the bank that served as both our chairs and table. It was an especially great experience for me; eating lunch with my daughter while sitting on a massive log next to a river that will ultimately flow it's waters into the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of miles away.

We took time to smell the leaves, touch pine needles, skip rocks in the river, and watch leaves float down a creek to the St. Croix. I would say we are all better friends and that the MN Chapter has started a great annual tradition with the Fall Foliage Family Fun hike!

— Isaac Will

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