Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Should have went to the park

This article was published in the March 2010 issue of Take 5 Magazine.  Ben and Liv were 4 and 3 years old for both of the adventures told.

It comes with us every on every hike and every bike ride.  Sometimes it is rarely heard, other times it is all we hear.  It has become a part of the adventure, whether we like it or not.  Complaints!  The kids always have complaints of tired feet, complaints of hunger, complaints of too hot or too cold.  Usually by the half way mark the complaining stops and fun takes over, thank goodness.  For the most part, all of our adventures have been great.  No massive meltdowns, no injuries, no one starving.  The kids’ legs have not fallen off and their hunger pains are not going to hurt them.  They recant stories of our outings for days after and I have yet to hear about how hungry they were or that their feet were tired. Instead they show off some rock or stick they collected and admire the beauty of it.  If an animal was spotted, that is noted.  Or how far they threw that one rock in the creek we passed.  

Views of Ladysmith Harbour and the Gulf Islands from the Heart Lake viewpoint

Like I said earlier, most of our outings are pretty straight forward.  There are however, the few that I would like to forget.  For instance, instead of heading to the park one sunny June afternoon, we headed to Holland Creek Trail.  Walking alongside the creek itself was pretty much as expected.  Stops to admire the plants and play in the water.  Complaints of hunger and tired legs mixed in. Some time later we came upon the trail head to Heart Lake.  Curiosity got the better of us and we started the upward climb.  We knew it was going to be steep and the kids were not going to be able to walk all the way.  No problem, we would carry them for parts of it and take plenty of breaks.  One of the kids actually fell asleep while being carried.  We ended up making it to Heart Lake and decided not to go back down the steep trail.  So around the long way we went.  It was when the weather started to change that I realized we had no extra clothes and because we had not planned to be out this long, we were only left with raisins to eat.  I remember the walk down being very long.  Keeping the kids going was a struggle with no food.  My arms were so sore from carrying them up so it was next to impossible to carry them now.  It was like winning the lottery when we came across salmon berries.  Distracted us all from our misery. 

Another adventure that sticks out was a recent bike ride along the Cowichan Valley Trail.  It was going to be the longest trail bike ride for the kids to date. 10km in total.  One was riding his own bike while the other was using the tag-along.  The kids, grandpa and I were dropped off at one trail access point while dad drove to the trails end where he proceeded to bike towards us.  All was going according to plan, that is, until the rain started.  Normally the rain would not be an issue but seeing as I forgot to pack our rain pants, it was a big issue.  Before dad even got to us, we were soaked.  The kids were not fans of this and even the trusted hot chocolate was not enough of a distraction.  Slowly we kept going with various combinations of carrying the kids and dragging the bikes.  I was pretty happy when dad showed up.  Spread the carrying and dragging jobs out a bit.  We eventually made it and once the kids were warm and in the truck, they were smiling again.  Hot chocolate was an easy sell now.  We have since added an extra bag of clothes and rain gear in every vehicle.       

The only picture from our CVT adventure.  It was one big wet mess after this.

It probably would have been easier to go to the park.  No stiff muscles or wet clothes to deal with and a lot less complaining.  Yet, if I had to do it all over again, I would.  These two adventures taught us all about perseverance and for the first time I realized the potential of human power.  Now I am wondering how far the kids could go using their own power.

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