Monday, May 3, 2010

Green mean GO!

Waking up to the sound of rain always makes me feel better...  today I woke up to a downpour, but by the time I actually climbed out of bed, the skies were clearing, a soft breeze was blowing, so I packed up my boy and the dog and said, "We're going hiking!"

Forget the fact that my back is being iffy.  No pain, no gain, right?  Hiking today included the two and a half year old walking by himself, but with me toting the baby-backpack, to load him into when he got tired (which I estimated would be about two minutes).

Oh, how wrong I was.  So we drove to Oil Creek State Park, home of my beloved Girard hiking trail, A trail circling the entire park.  36 miles of hiking goodness with steep hills and gentle rolling fields and many off-shoots and loops to customize your hiking trip.

Today we started at the parking lot by Drake's Well, and went up the Girard trail.  The dog and the baby led the way.
Lush and beautiful and a bit wet from the rain, but I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some red efts.  The boy was undaunted by puddles or rickety bridges or steep climbs.  I let him drift along at his own pace, helping him on the steep clambering parts, but he did really well.  The dog following kept him motivated.
Also, I had him keep an eye out for the Yellow "Markers" as he started calling them.  "Right DERE!"  he would exclaim whenever we came to one.  Once the hill became a little too steep and the rocks and roots were impeding his ability to walk without yelling "UP-Pees" each time, I loaded him into the backpack and clambered up the steep hills myself.  Now listening to him chatter about "down, down, wagon, wagon" was a bit frustrating, but after promising him a "ba-nola"(granola) bar when we came to a certain big rock, he was happier, and continued to point out the marks.
Yay!  I finally got to introduce him to a red eft.  "Turtle," he said.  "Salamander," I corrected.  "Salamander."  Off we continued.  We stopped at the rock that I remembered, had our snack, then he continued on foot again. Only now, the dog wasn't wanting to lead, and he was doing "red mean stop, green mean go."  Which was not making the trip much faster.  It was ok.  We were having fun.
He continued to point out "Leeelllleeellleeooowwww" Markers as we walked.  Finally I coaxed him back into the backpack and walked the rest of the way with him.  We came down to the bike trail, which saved my legs a bit, and though he insisted it was a road, there were "no cars coming."  So we were ok.  The smaller trail continued towards the creek at one point.  "How bout that way?"  He asked.  I told him mommy was tired.  Next time.

I pointed out Trillium and violets and dandelions to him.  We walked about 5 miles total, and I have to admit, my back, nor shoulders, nor shins appreciate it, but I'm happy that I'm making a nature appreciating hiker out of my little boy.  It's great when he pats seedlings on the trail and says, "nice tree."

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