Hiking and the Damn Devil Horse

1 09 2011

So the other day I bit the bullet. I have gone quite long enough without going on a decent hike. So we loaded the kids into the car and took off.

Now before, the idea of taking children(as in more than one) on a hike struck me as ludicrous. How could they keep up and just how much whining would there be? Would they want to stop every five minutes? Would they cry and argue the whole time because one has to walk over such and such a thing and the other doesn’t?

It wasn’t exactly a vacation but on the other hand it wasn’t necessarily a trip to the dentist for a root canal with no pain killers either.

Were there stops every five minutes? No. Was there a huge amount of whining? No. Did people cry and argue at all? Well, yes, but not even close to the levels that I had cooked up in my original nightmare vision. And no one even got hurt. Badly.

The trip started out well enough. The drive twenty approximate miles was pleasant and charged with a certain excitement that the kids had discovered in anticipation of an activity they had never experienced. We arrived at that little place I had gone romping around during my highschool days with my good friend Fungus. I parked the car in his parent’s driveway. They weren’t home but I knew they wouldn’t mind. At least I hope.

I grabbed my pack out of the car filled with any sort of item one might need for an extended stay in the woods. Imagine emergency preparedness. I put the thing together for my home just in case and now that it is on the more completed side than not (though there are still things missing from it) I was aching to take it for a spin. Put some of the stuff through its paces and all. And what better way to test anything than by using two young children?

We plowed our way through some thick brush and did a shimmy through a barbwire fence. Well shimmy over to be more exact, through probably would have hurt. We crossed an unused horse pasture (at least it used to be unused) and onto a little trail through the woods.

The trail started at a gorgeous series of water falls with an old bridge several yards upstream. The plan was to navigate thin trails along the water edge to an open spot where we could go swimming. Which I’d like to say we did with great ease. But than I would be a liar. One of our kids is a five-year old and the other is two and some change. I held the bigger ones hand most of the way which was alright save for a few places where things got fairly narrow and the Vixen carried the smaller one just about the whole way. Work those back muscles baby, work it!

All in all however the trudge down was good. The older of the kids enjoyed hoping over and through the creek when it was necessary to cross and the small one enjoyed not having to do any work I’m sure.

Eventually we made it to the bend in the river where the swimming was good.

The water was a bit cold but not intolerable. No one truly swam, more like, the adults drug the children across the top of the water at a ‘fun’ pace. And at one point the Vixen spotted a crawfish and spent the next ten minutes creating for it what its own version of hell may seem like. Her curiosity usually gets the best of her.

I built a fire while the lot of them messed about in the wet stuff and cooked up some spectacularly cheap beef stew. And I don’t mean it was inexpensive to make, I mean it cost me about a dollar and tasted like I spent a dollar too much. But we ate it anyways before packing up and proceeding back up the trail before what sounded like crazy hill folk got too close to our little camp.

The trip back was much the same as the trip down with the exception that we discovered the horse pasture actually was in use and the friendly looking animals within it did not seem too particularly friendly discovering we were in it. The Vixen, knowing a great deal more about horses and I suggested we exit the pasture sooner than later while the children and I stared at them wide-eyed chanting “poooooonnnniiiiieeeess” in a tone that would make George Romero proud. My first thought after she pointed out a possible stomping to death was the odd arachnid-like horses in “The Brothers Grimm” movie (which I felt was fantastic) and I immediately told the Vixen to help me usher the children out before the damn devil-horses ate our kids.

She may have called me a name but I can’t remember.

But we did hasten our way out of the pasture in the name of safety.

We had to go  a little out of our way, walking out to a road and following it back up to the house of the parents Fungus and packed the car full of sleeping children. And with a near drive by incident involving Fungus’s grandfather (The Eight Foot Chainsaw) we were on the way back home having burned a load of calories and a pile of daylight. (If one were able to hold daylight I imagine it would be something that would be formed into piles)

All in all, the hiking with children was a good thing that I would more than consider doing again. In fact I’m already planning another outing.

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