We went on a little hiking adventure yesterday. There is a perfect toddler loop near our home called the Frog Pond Wetlands. I enjoy it because, while it is only a one mile loop, the scenery changes quite a bit. There are narrow parts where the vegetation comes right to the edge of the trail and the smell of growth and compost are strong, then it opens up and brown grasses stretch out to either side. we climb up a series of small hills and the tree branches reach out above our heads from either side and the light plays beautifully through the leaves. Then down and down into more thick growth and over multiple small bridges to the pond, which is covered in light green algae. There small birds hop around on top of the algae looking for bugs and a cluster of ducklings quacks around near some reeds.
Graydon is in heaven. He spends the first 5 minutes pointing into the wild and telling me, "snakes!" even though we don't see a single one. Then he runs and runs ahead shouting, "DORA!" and I am sure he truly believes she and her pal Boots are someplace in this wildscape. I have to remind him to stay on the path and we discuss how this is for his safety and for the plants safety too. I am able to slow his sprint occasionally by pointing out the different flowers blooming along our trail. Eleanor is riding in the Ergo and is snuggled deep into my chest napping, that's the life
When the bridges start we have to stop at each one and look over the edge to see the water, even though most of them are dry underneath.
When we do get to one with water we spend a fair bit of time staring over the edge, until the bugs start nibbling on us and I drag him forward.
When we get to the pond there is a deck that cantelievers over the water, Graydon doesn't understand that the algae is not solid and he is quite upset that we cannot go walk on it. We look at the ducklings and he notes that the algae covered pond smells like, "Poo! Mama, Poo!". He takes stock of multiple spider webs, complete with the precious hand motion that accompanies anytime he says spider (it is an above the head hand twist, reminiscent of the web climbing motions from "itsy bitsy spider").
He has a tantrum when it is time to move on from the pond. I have to chase him down severa times as he makes a break for freedom and there is much dragging of feet and shedding of tears. Finally I convince him that if we keep walking we can count the remaining bridges and he finds that agreeable.
The whole trip takes less that 45 minutes but it allows him to run wild in nature and gives me a break from the rules of the house.