On Sunday, the kids and I headed out for the second day in a row looking for some adventure and a whole lot of fun.
The weather was a bit warmer and the sun was out so it was a perfect day to get out.
We loaded our packs and headed up to a place we'd hiked once before but we'd only gone in far enough to have a little picnic. This time we were going to hike the whole trail.
Along the way, Jake asked to stop for a snack a half-dozen times. What amazed me was the simple fact that he'd eat every time we did
stop. Tuna salad, chicken salad, granola bars, Spam Singles, Snickers, GORP, and more became fuel for Jake's fire.
We saw a track trap on the trail which stood out because it was a large slightly-wetter section of the path and the gravel/dirt were just the right consistency to see raccoon, coyote, human, bicycle, opossum, and more. The colder weather probably helped as it "set" the soil to some degree as the moisture froze.
Laura worked with her pink ESEE Izula and did a quick video for me on the goldenrod gall. Jake spent that time eating...
We're working on a points system now that each kid can earn points for their insights, skills, and knowledge. Those points will be redeemable down the road for goodies they want or trips they want to take. They're both competitive so this should really help them to soak up as much information as I can throw at them.
We talked about stride length and how to use your walking stick as a ruler to help you find more obscure tracks on a path. A young deer helped us out by crossing the path sometime prior to our arrival. The tracks were very clear and helped to establish a direction of travel but half-way across the path they were much harder to see (probably due to the foot traffic.) The stick and a quick measurement of stride length showed us where to start looking for the first "missing" track and it was right where it should have been but very hard to make out at first glance.
Laura (9) is certainly more attentive during these lessons but I'm happy just to have both kids out with me.
An important lesson the kids took away from the day was that they should do some of their own "homework" when picking a trail because I managed to get us on the loop that was actually a point-to-point trail some 2.4 miles long. Oops.
We were out about 2.2 miles when I realized that we were still heading away from the trailhead and I pulled up a satellite image on my phone to see that we were near the end of the path but would come out far, far away from the car. So, we turned around and hiked back the way we came in.
Jake started talking about how everything was going to be alright because we had enough food to sleep out overnight and Laura got a bit upset because the hiking had worn her out and she just wanted to be at home on the couch.
We sat down for a minute, had a snack, drank some water, talked about where we were and what we were going to do next, and then packed everything up, put on some more layers because the sun was going down, and moved out toward the car.
After all the drama and the laying on benches as we found them, the kids both ran to the playground near the car and asked if they could play for 15 minutes before we left. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to fire up the stove and have some hot tea so I said they could.
On the way home we started talking about my adventures and the "52 Weeks" thread we wrote over at Knifeforums and I suggested that we could do the same thing. They both jumped on the opportunity so we should be starting that at the first of the year. 52 hikes with the kids should be a lot of fun.
So, anybody else want to sign on?
Thanks for reading,