Saturday, March 30, 2013

Three Trails in Three Weeks

I'm trying to get Laurel to love hiking.  I don't know if I loved hiking as a kid...I don't think we did much formal hiking.  I certainly remember exploring the woods as a kid, and as an adult I enjoy the journey and the destination of a hike.  But it's hard to convince a kid that her burning thighs are a good thing.  But despite the burning thighs and 3 mile round trip---she did pretty well. 

She was in charge of the camera for a while, which she loves.  And she had her long-missing grey bunny returned this he tagged along.  But somewhere around the 2 mile mark the complaints started coming...and coming...and coming. 

Thankfully there were little distractions along the way, like this random Easter egg tree that we found about midway through the hike.

And these bones she found.  She considers found bones to be of great scientific importance, so she stopped and photographed them for a while.  She thinks it's a deer, we'll have to research that a bit.  She was able to find the skull, and two pieces of the lower jaw (teeth included), a lot of vertebrae and ribs and a mostly intact spinal column. 

Roger of course just wanted to eat her scientific discovery. 

The sun was out and the view was just gorgeous, especially the walk back on the main road.  The view of the mountains around each bend is breathtaking.  And despite being 43 degrees still, we found ourselves stripping off the hats and coats towards the end of the hike. 

Sometimes I think Alaska is a special gift, just for us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Navigation Project and a Beautiful Hike

Our weather took an amazing turn for the better this week.  We have had sun since Sunday...that's FOUR WHOLE DAYS!  When the weather is good here, you take advantage of it.  Laurel and I have been hiking the same trail all week, partly because it's close, and partly because I wanted to show her how with hard work the trail would go from being hard to being easy. 

Success.  But it didn't come easy.  3 days equals three fights about not wanting to go, wanting to quit before we started, wanting to quit after we started...and I'm sure there were others.  We had to talk a lot about positive attitudes, postitive outcomes...but in the end, only my ugly voice would push her along.  Sigh. 

I digress.  The first day was just re-introducing ourselves to the trail.  The second day I let her take charge of leading me on the trail.  The third day we sat down and made maps to route our path to and from (and including) the trail. 

With maps in hand I let the kids lead the way, figuring out at every turn whether it was right or left, how to read street signs, how to look for landmarks and how to be safe.  

Getting to the trail is the hardest part (before the fun begins) and thankfully as the "leader" Laurel stepped up to the plate and tried to be a positive role model for Luke (instead of whining her way up the road like she had been).

I won't lie, hiking with kids is rarely 100% fun.  You have to coax and push and bribe and trick sometimes to get them to want to keep going. This time I was able to get them into trading off who was the leader every 3 minutes.  This allowed each to feel like the one in charge, and took us through the whole trail with no more whining. 

 And with kids sometimes you just have to stop and play, or eat or let them take charge of the camera.  It's always amazing to me how quickly a snack can boost their moods.

And when it's all said and done you get that one last amazing view of the insanely beautiful place we live. 

 Then the kids finished navigating us back to the house. All in all they did a great job getting us there and back.  They had a couple of wrong turns, but they got back on track and figured out not only how to make a map and plan a route, but how to follow the map to get there and back.  It was a fun project, a beautiful day and a fun morning with the kiddos.

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