hiking day

I do a fair amount of hiking, so I was thinking this would be a good topic to use as a recurring blog post. Consider this post #1 of the hiking chronicles 🙂

Hiking for me is a nostalgic activity. When I was little, my mother would take my brother and I out hiking every Sunday, all winter long. We’d pack our thermoses with hot cocoa, slap some peanut-butter & saltine-cracker sandwiches together, and go on walks. While all the other kids in my neighborhood were at Sunday school, I was learning to identify edible mushrooms, looking in the mud for animal tracks, and studying the different types of conifers native to our area. We attended Audubon society programs regularly. I had my own little pair of binoculars, and I knew what most native birds looked and sounded like.

I would also look for fairy houses on our hikes, and I was convinced that someday, if I was quiet and observant enough, I’d see a real fairy. I drew pictures of the potential fairy homes I located: little hollows under logs, holes at the bases of trees. And when we got home I’d imagine how the insides of their houses might look, and draw those in my sketchbook, as well. Everything was magical to me then.

Even when I grew out of my fairy-hunting stage, I still went hiking. I love going for a walk in the woods.

My hikes nowadays are very, very easy, because I have my kids (ages 6 and 8) with me. They are good little walkers, and can do 2+ miles easily, even climbing over rocks and crossing muddy streams, but there is a limit to what two little kids can be expected to do.

Usually we head north or west, into the woods. But today was such a beautiful day, still fairly warm (I think it hit around 70) and sunny, with just a hint of fall in the air. So, we went south and east, to Sachuset Wildlife Refuge, a really cool walking place that loops along the rocky coast of Newport (or more accurately, Middletown). It’s only about a half hour’s drive from our house, so it’s a nice place for a quick visit.

We saw osprey diving for fish, a hunting kestrel, and a huge flock of terns dancing against the sky. We climbed on rocks, explored tidal pools, and watched fishermen work. It was a beautiful day, and as usual I have some photos that don’t come close to representing reality:

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