Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Going on a Leaf Hunt

Today, I thought that I would combine work and play (exercise) by dropping off my books at the Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Center/Gift Shop and then going on a trail hike with my girls. Well I forgot the books, but my girls found some discounted toys in the gift shop -- a bonus for them as there are usually only skis and chairs in that area in the winter time. 

We quickly hit the trails, bringing our border collie along with us. The whole gang was excited to be out roaming the trails that we usually visit in winter with cross-country skis on.

We stopped at the first trailside bench, not too far in, to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, and water. The minute my toddler swallowed her last bite, she was running down the trail. She is usually the one to say, "I can't walk. My legs hurt." My preschooler was a little upset that I made her finish off her last couple of bites, but abided then fled.

We soon hit a section of trail that was sprinkled with colored leaves. The girls were excited. The leaves haven't changed so much down where we are in the village over. Ava suggested that we go on a leaf hunt and we all started gathering our favorite picks from the ground. Ava had a whole bouquet of leaves and Julia figured out that she could just tuck them into my pack rather than carry them. 

The next thing to entertain the girls was animal scat or in their terminology, "poop." Yup, for a young kid poop is about the best topic out there. We saw lots of it as horse and carriage rides operate on this trail. We also saw droppings from a fox or a raccoon. I took an educated guess and figured that offering a couple of animals would get my girls curiousity going.

After we crested a long uphill, my toddler asked to go in the pack that I had been wearing. I was so proud of how far she had come and figure that this might be the mode for her, which is to have her walk a ways and then get into the pack. My older daughter always wanted to walk and we wanted to get in some miles first, so she rode first and then we let her out near the end of our hikes. It interests me how as parents you really have to figure out what makes each child tick.

We continued up a steep hill to a chapel hidden in the woods. We had never been there on our skis so the girls were fascinated. Julia wanted to get out of the pack and I quickly unloaded her from my sweaty back. When it was time to head back down, Julia was eager to be on foot and to be the leader, something her older sister always brags about from preschool. Well, I had never seen that toddler be so proud to be going down a trail on her own. And luckily her older sister was a good sport (with some guidance from me) and took the back position despite her competitive personality.

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