Aug 26 2013

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With the Grandkids

Posted at 6:48 am under Blog Post

Walt and grandkidsEvery summer Judy and I have all six of our grandkids for four or five days. No parents allowed. We play, go fishing and swimming, do crafts, camp in the back yard, watch movies, and eat all the wrong food. It’s a lot of work, but there’s no better way to get to know them.

Now that the youngest ones are able to hike, we’ve started taking the kids into the woods. Now it feels like they’re getting to know me. The forest is my element. Walking with them in the tracks of wild animals, teaching them how to navigate trails while pointing out the wonders along the way, well, it doesn’t get any better than that. Not for me, anyhow.

This year we went for a short hike along the Long Trail – my old stomping ground. We split into two groups. The more restless ones speed-hiked with me to Prospect Rock, while Judy meandered along the trail with the rest. Judy’s group grooved on mushrooms and everything else they found along the way. My group enjoyed physical exertion and a good view from the ledge. We got back together for a picnic lunch beneath the footbridge spanning the Lamoille River. There the kids found crayfish and some interesting rocks. Yes, rocks: quartz, mica and the rest. Even in the digital age, kids find rocks fascinating.

After lunch, while finishing the hike at a much slower pace, we checked out a cave, collected hardened sap from a wounded tree, and gathered more rocks. Jewelweed growing in wet places caught their attention so I showed them how to capture the tiny, almond-like seeds that shoot out of their pods when they’re touched. It was a lot of fun. They were surprised by how good the seeds tasted. Then I showed them how to use the plant’s juices as a salve for mosquito bites and other itchy skin. They were impressed by that. And I couldn’t have been happier.


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