A few weeks ago, Noah begged me to take an "adventure". This adventure needed to take place "in a woods, and we have to stay there forever." It also could not involve driving. At All! I wanted to encourage his exploration, but I just couldn't think of a way to appease this desire for an adventure.
But last Saturday at lunch when a lot of the plans we had for the day seemed to falling apart around us, Noah asked once again if he could go on an adventure. I turned to Steve, and I think we thought the same thing at the same time. Yes, let's go on a nature walk through the woods on a trail by our house.
I was familiar with part of the trail that goes a mile and ends up at a park. But I really didn't want to "hike" to the park, knowing that if they play for awhile, I would end up carrying Aaron all the way back. Not an exciting idea.
So Steve mentioned that an off shoot of this path might actually go UNDER the street we live off of and wanted to go investigate.
Noah took great measures to prepare for his adventure. He filled his backpack with all kinds of treasures. The most important "tools" for him were Steve's old cell phone (for taking pictures) and a pencil and pad of paper for "sketches". After arming Aaron with his little cheapo digital camera that Noah got for Christmas last year so he could take pictures too, we were off.
We didn't even get into the woods before Aaron was already excited about taking my picture with his little camera.
Followed shortly thereafter by a LOVELY shot of Daddy's backside.
and we weren't even off the beginning of the boardwalk before both of them were taking pictures of everything they saw.
Aaron decided to name himself Navigator shortly after we got onto the dirt path.
Unfortunately, most of the times, the direction he pointed was not the path we had planned to take.
A little ways in, I stopped to take a picture of a bee on a flower. Unusual for me since I pretty much HATE bees, bugs, or anything that could potentially bite or sting me.
While I was stopping to take the picture, I heard excited hoots and hollers from up above. Steve had found the path under the road to take us to the other side. I got one really great picture of Steve with the boys heading under the bridge, but for some reason, it is the ONLY picture that doesn't seem to want to upload for me. I still got one of the boys crossing under.
After we got under, along the creek a short distance was another bridge under the other road. This one had a much steeper grade and it was the only time I was really nervous about the boys' safety. I kept a pretty tight rein on Aaron during this little stretch.
Noah did a pretty good job being careful on his own.
It was just past the second bridge when Noah decided to start his sketches. Every couple of feet, he stopped, sat down, pulled out his book, and started drawing. He's not the most talented artist, but he makes up for it in spirit and creativity.
While Noah was sketching, Steve and Aaron ran up ahead and found a mini-whirlpool in the creek, where Aaron sat down to try to take a few more pictures of the water.
After awhile, the novelty started wearing off a little, but we kept trucking along. As Steve and Noah walked on ahead, Aaron started slowing down and I held back to be with him. As we were catching back up, Steve was frantically "shushing" us. Several deer were standing there starting right at us. Now, we see deer all the time, both at my dad's house where they come daily to feed, and also all over the roadways (I believe Michigan is ranked in the top three states of deer car accidents). But it was still kind of neat to see it on our hike.
Moving further, we started coming near a clearing where there was a bridge and a parking lot. We really weren't sure where we were, but it seemed like a good place to turn around. It also worked as a great place to stop and get a picture of my handsome boys.
It may end up on our Christmas card this year, as a matter of fact.
On the way back, Aaron was getting quite tired out and started whining a bit to be carried. Steve and I both quickly put an end to that. There was no way that we were going to lug him along. The whining continued until he found a BIG branch. This branch became his best friend for quite a large distance on the hike back.
For a little boy who was complaining about being tired, he seemed to have no trouble lugging that thing along.
Steve finally managed to get him to toss it into the creek in order to watch it float down. The floating never really worked out, but at least the branch had a new home and our pace was able to pick up considerably.
By the time we got back to the car, we were shocked to see that an hour and a half had passed. After getting back into the car, giving the boys a drink, and driving around a little to see if we could find the parking lot (which we did), we were on our way home to rest.
Noah is still upset that it wasn't a "real adventure" since we didn't sleep outside. He is going through this really strange phase and has been for a few days. It has me a little worried. He keeps talking about sneaking outside and sneaking away. I don't know if he saw this on TV or in a book, or if it is just his nerves about school starting up next week. It will definitely be something that we will be talking about this week.
But worries aside, I thanked Noah when we got home for such a great idea for a family outing.
And believe it or not, Steve even got a picture of me with the boys too.
I loved this "adventure", but I actually think that every moment raising two spirited little boys is an adventure in itself.