Last Friday, I decided to take the boys for a nature walk. I found out that there are quite a few hiking trails around here (within 10 minutes by car). I looked online for a trail to explore, then went to Google Maps for directions. This should have been my first clue. It said the trail I wanted to take was 13 km away, and 31 minutes by car. Impossible, I thought, and double-checked to make sure it was calculating for a car and not for a bike. It was. I assumed Google had made a mistake.
I got the boys into their hiking shoes, grabbed my camera, my stroller, my baby backpack, a picnic lunch, and the necessary diapers and wipes and set out to find the trail. It was nearby, and very easy to find. The first hint of possible trouble came when I arrived at the turnoff to the "road" that led to the trail --it was a one-lane track through the woods. But it was clearly marked, and looked dry. It also said the trail was only 1.5 km away. So I turned in. About a kilometer in, there were a few puddles, but nothing worrying. Then I rounded a curve to find quite a big one right in front of me. No problem, I was almost there. I drove through it with a splash, only to find an even bigger one in front of me. I decided I'd better stop and check if I could get through it. I hopped out, grabbed a stick, and probed the puddle. "I think I can do this," I muttered. I got back in, estimated the shallowest route through the puddle, and made it. But that wasn't the last puddle. When I came to the next one, I thought, I'd better check how much further I have to go. So I got out of the car again, ran ahead a bit and found out that I was almost there. So I probed the puddle, figured out the best way through it, and went for it. We made it!
As soon as I got out of the car, I realized something big. I'd forgotten our natural bug repellent! The mosquitos descended on us like a cloud. But since I'd been through so much just to get us there, I decided we just HAD to go on the nature walk, anyway. I put MM on my front in the baby carrier (no way was a stroller going on that trail!) so I could chase the mosquitos off him, carried the camera bag, gave SA the picnic bag, and we were off. It was beautiful. The Pisquid River was right next to us. There were so many interesting flowers to see. And we didn't enjoy it at all because we were being EATEN ALIVE! We had to keep going, we could never stop or the mosquitos would catch up to us. I don't have a single picture of this adventure because I couldn't stop long enough to take the camera out of its bag. Seriously! (It was heavy, too!) After a long walk, we came to a sign, and I realized that instead of the "loop" I thought we were on, we were on a straight trail, and to get back, we'd just have to turn around and go back the way we came. So we did.
As we left, I had to decide if I was going to drive back the way we'd come in, or keep going on the "road". To keep going looked shorter on the map. "It can't be worse than the way we came in," I thought. Well, it was. We stopped and probed so many puddles that I lost count. I prayed before I crossed each puddle, and thanked God on the other side.(I wasn't taking any risks. I'd forgotten my cell phone, too.) At one of them JJ hopped out of the car, too, and got his shoe stuck in the mud. SA was very finished with this adventure by now, and just wanted to go home. We finally made it to a dirt road. I decided to turn right (either way should have gotten us to a main road soon enough), but had to turn around when we came to the biggest puddle yet, one that looked like a pond. I decided it wasn't worth it to get out and probe it. I made a 100-point turn (It was a narrow road, people!), and went back the other way. After that, it was a breeze. We made it back to civilization without further incident.
SA never wanted to go on a nature walk again. I told him we would, but we would find a different trail. He's changed his mind by now, anyway. He found the map of the trails lying around this week and spent at least half an hour analyzing it and talking to me about the trails, and the river, and the road, and which way we should go to get where. Clearly the trauma did not leave a lasting impact.
Good, because we are SO doing this again! With proper bug repellent, next time. And maybe after it's been dry for a week or so.