Aug 11 2012

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Grandkids in the Woods

Posted at 9:00 am under Blog Post

Each year my wife Judy and I have all the grandkids over to our house for several days without their parents. We call it summer camp. It’s an opportunity for us to bond with each other while having lots of fun playing games in the back yard, fishing, swimming, and generally goofing around. Towards the end of summer camp this year, we all went for a hike at Niquette Bay State Park. It was something just a little different.

Although I’ve hiked with most of the grandkids before, this was the first time I’ve had all of them in the woods at once. Since they range in age from 4 to 15, it wasn’t easy keeping them together. Maddie, Hunter and Mason were way out front and wanting to go faster. I kept calling them back. Judy and Kaylee (the teenager) brought up the rear with Tommy (the youngest). They showed him where to put his feet when the trail became all roots and rocks. Johnny and I were in the middle, looking around. We were the first to see the garter snake that slithered across the trail. “I like nature,” Johnny commented. I smiled, nodded my head, and said: “So do I.”

It was a hot, humid day. I brought three liters of water for us to drink. We could have used more. My dog Matika drank from the tiny streams that we crossed. She got the best workout, running back and forth between the fastest and slowest hikers, trying to keep everyone together. German shepherds are like that. They don’t like having the pack dispersed.

Everyone enjoyed the walk, yet no one enjoyed it as much as I did. Judy and I haven’t spent enough time in the woods with the kids – Kaylee being the exception. Since the woods are my element, I’m hoping that this will change in the future. But the pack is widely dispersed between Vermont, New Hampshire and Virginia most of the year. Matika has her work cut out for her.

It’s amazing how fast the kids are growing up, how easily the days slip away. Judy and I make a real effort to stay in touch but our work-a-day lives distract us. We’ve talked about taking all the kids camping sometime. During this last visit, Kaylee mentioned that she’s only three years away from going to college. Clearly we had better plan something soon.


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