Week one of Walking in the Woods is off to a fantastic start.
- Don't forget to check for ticks.
- Check again!
We had a really great morning in the woods. We're just getting started and we're excited to return to the same spot tomorrow.
Today, we walked to a meadow and had a snack. Swallows swooped down low and I think they played a game of tag with us. We used flashlights almost immediately. After the break, we packed up and began to search for a trail into the woods. We hiked up a big hill and made our way to our first basecamp. We found some big bones and wondered how they got there. We found bugs, we saw a tree covered in fungus, used flashlights to look in holes, found animal tracks, and balanced on rocks. It was a long walk and we eventually spread out our tarp for more food and some exploring. We found a tiny bridge and a bird wing at the turnaround point.
As we circled back we found a a huge log to shimmy across. A few children ran ahead to the big hill for climbing and dropping rocks. Avalanche! We stayed there for a long time and then we crossed the biggest bridge and the "deadly" bridge before returning to the playground spot for snacks and water.
It was great, and we can't wait to get back to the woods tomorrow.
The children talked a lot about the places they'd like to go while we were walking yesterday. We have the whole week (two weeks for some) so we (the adults) decided to revisit yesterday's hike. We thought there could be some value in returning to the same spot a few times. We've already established some landmarks like the various bridges, the meadow, the steep climb into the woods, and the rocky areas.
In spite of our intentions, we had a completely different experience in the woods today.
We barely made it off of the playground before the first request for a picnic presented itself. We stopped at the big bridge for some food and some of the crew climbed around on the avalanche hill. We threw HUGE rocks off the bridge and shimmied over to a big spider web. Someone remembered coming to this spot with his grandfather and seeing a water snake. After a while, we packed up and climbed the steep trail into the woods.
Some children ran along the familiar trail. We looked for new walking sticks and searched for bugs.
We eventually made it to (a new) base camp for more food. We pulled out the tarps and ropes and the children played with these familiar materials in a new setting. There was talk about a fort or a tent, but the idea that stuck was a zipline. Adults helped with knots and some tall jobs while the children played around with different ways of tying the rope from tree to tree.
We used the camp saw and did some carving at this spot too. We stayed in this place for most of the morning. We saw a lot of dogs and cyclists and runners while we played.
We started to make our way back along the familiar path, over the tiny broken bridge, and past some enormous fallen trees. Some children took off for the final leg of the trail and spent some time on the deadly bridge tasting clover. Others spent their last few minutes climbing on the big tree (just like yesterday).
We had another snack and some popsicles at the end of the day.