My friend Julie had asked if we wanted to try out some trails behind a local community center with her last Friday. I thought it sounded like fun, so we agreed to meet up that morning, along with Julie's sister Carolyn and her son, R*.
We had trouble getting started because everyone was tired from fireworks the previous evening. You know the only time kids sleep late is when you need them to get moving!! We ended up being 45 minutes late to meet up with our hiking crew. Sorry!!
Julie had gotten a map and we had all looked it over to figure out what our plan would be. Who am I kidding! I don't do maps!! But we decided to hit the trail and see where it led. All the trails intersected at various points and all the trails led back to the main one which made a big horseshoe behind the community center. We figured we couldn't get lost (this is a literary device called "foreshadowing").
We had three moms and six kids, aged 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9. I had Benjamin in a backpack carrier and R* was in a stroller (which the lady at the community center said would be fine).
We could see trail markings and the kids were all excited. Then we came to the first fork and couldn't quite figure out which way to go. Undeterred, we picked randomly and kept walking. This happened a few more times and we consulted the map and each came up with a different idea that totally made sense. But we kept walking. We even wrestled the stroller up some rocky hills and soldiered on.
|Does this make sense??|
Then it started to get hot...and muggy. Henry found a bug on his leg that freaked him out (yes, it was a tick). I brushed it off after two tries and he was fine. Some complaining started. I told the bigger kids to look for the first letter of their name in the nature around them. I figure that an F, H and L would be pretty easy to find. The younger three thankfully wouldn't understand the game because they would have needed a B, R, and D.
|Frances found a lower case "F"|
We found some scat. I have a bit of a fascination with it when found in the forest. Diapers, not so much!! We examined a few patches and talked about what kinds of animals had likely left them and what they had been eating.
**Aside #1** I told my brother about some berry-filled scat and he said it was probably a bear. Then he explained that black bear scat is full of berries, where grizzly bear scat is full of pepper spray and bear bells. Get it?? It's a joke. Aren't we a funny family!?!
**Aside #2** At the family reunion we spent some time in a state park. My mom picked up a brochure about fun kids' activities. Here's one of the programs offered:
Ummm...No thank you.
We also got to see some wildlife: butterflies, dragonflies, this huge caterpillar:
|It was bigger than my middle finger!|
|Pretty sure it's not radioactive|
We kept coming upon different trail intersections and choosing randomly. At one point we went up a very steep, rocky hill. Of course, once we wrestled the stroller up it we discovered two things: First, that we had gone up the wrong path, and second that the stroller wheel was locked!!
The kids ended up getting more than a little cranky, but we were already trying to head back out at that point. We wondered a few times whether is was quicker to keep going or to turn around. In the end we kept going and finally made it back to the community center where we celebrated with lunch and then mini-blizzards from Dairy Queen.
The question I know you are all dying to ask is: Does Benjamin like hiking??
Well, the answer is, no. Not really. But he does like ice cream!!