I had been promising the kids all week that on Friday we would go for a hike out by the river and then take a swim. A-Man was all for the hike, Mags was in it for the swimming – she could care less about the hiking part, that’s just what she has to do to get to the water. So after lunch, we were off.
A-Man decided that he was going to be our photographer today and I have to say, he did pretty well. I took a few of the shots, but these are his shots. He’s starting to develop a bit of an eye and I was rather impressed with some of his subject choices. And obviously, what better subject choice for a photograph than your mom?
It’s about a mile or so down the trail to the swimming spot that we eventually settled on. There are lots of places along the trail where you can get in the water, but not that many where it’s actually deep enough to swim and swimming is what we wanted today. I could have taken my kids to a public pool, but at $3 each that’s $9 just to go swimming in other’s people’s pee. No thankyou. Besides, what is there to look at the public pool but people in way less clothing than they should really be comfortable wearing? I feel certain that you could make a page very similar to People of Walmart with People at Public Pools, but I digress. So instead of going to the pool, we went to the river and had things like this to look at….
It really is a beautiful river and most of it is shallow enough to walk across. The path is well maintained and you usually run into other people (and their unleashed dogs) all along the trail. It’s a popular area, so I feel safe out there with just me & the kids. While you’ll probably pass a group or three of college kids lugging beer down the path, you’ll also pass middle-aged people walking dogs or runners trail-running. Personally, I don’t run unless something is chasing me, but that’s a different blog post.
Anyway, so why is any of this important at all? Well, you see, I have an eleven year old son. If any of you have an eleven year old son you probably already know what I am talking about. Eleven year old kids are not like we were at eleven. These kids know nothing of what it means when the street light comes on (that it was time to go home), they are incapable of navigating our neighborhood on their own, they think that the only fun to be had in life at all is attached to the end of a video game controller. So, anytime that I can pry my eleven year old away from the video games and get him to actually engage in something that exists in reality, especially if it something outside, I try to take advantage of that. And to my surprise and delight, he has suddenly decided that he really enjoys hiking. So guess what? Our family just became a hiking family. It is worth noting that he has also shown a sudden interest in archery, however, due to the fact that I can and usually do hurt myself at just about everything that I try to do, we will not be becoming an archery family. Sorry, A-Man.
We’ve always been a camping family, but not a hiking family. Up until a year ago, Hubbo and I were smokers (yes, yes, thank you, thank you) and there was no way in hell that we were going to haul all of our oversized, super-comfy, car-camping gear up any big-ass mountain on our backs! Ha! Yeah, that wasn’t happening. But now that we actually have some lung capacity back, we’re starting to consider an over-night hiking trip. A-Man’s all for it. Mags just wants to know if we can go swimming when we get there. Anyway, so we’ve been car camping since our kids were little and we usually do try to camp near some water. For years now, in whatever spot that we’ve been camped in, Hubbo has taken the kids to the water to build their “rock sculptures” before we depart. Over the years, as the kids have gotten older and their patience and fine motor skills have developed, the sculptures have become slightly more elaborate. However, today out at the river, the kids and I discovered a rock sculpture the likes of which we’ve never seen. I mean, would you just look at this thing? It’s several levels of river rock stacked and balanced perfectly on a stump that was sticking out of the water. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Credits to A-Man for the photo.
So, I spent quality time with my kids, we got out of the house and enjoyed nature, we swam, we made a new friend (A-Man and a dog named Bacon really hit it off), we met an old friend along the trail (another hip mama came swimming with us), we made mud-cakes (not mud-pies, thankyou) on the river bank, we took some awesome pictures, we saw some incredible man-made rock sculptures, we got a little sun on our shoulders, and to be honest with you, I can’t think of when I’ve had a better day. I think we’ll do it again next week.