A Week, Briefly (7/27/20)

It was a 3 hike week!

Unusually low temperatures and rather a lot of rain got us out on the trails again.

(Rain means the kids don't play outside much on their own, which means I need to organize them into going outside.  That's why rain gets us out on the trails.)

Monday was a quiet day of errands and organizing.  Super Star had to call in sick to work for a cold, but she was told she could not come back to work until she'd either had a 2-week quarantine at home or a negative COVID-19 test.  We got her an appointment for a test, but the results are long in coming.

Tuesday morning we set out with the goal of adding miles to our 52 Hikes record.  Along the way, however, we found water, and we stopped to enjoy that instead of marching on.

First stop was the natural bridge for a bit of exploring and play.

After a rather long pause at the railroad track, waiting to see if the noisily stopped train
would resume its journey, (it didn't) we headed along the path.

At first I said no to water play--I wasn't prepared for that.

But half a mile further on, when we reached a low bridge, I repented of my foolishness,
and sat guard as the kids explored the water.

Little Princess found a new friend!

Beowulf found a rock in the shape of Oklahoma, and that inspired much searching
for other state-shaped rocks.  Nature Angel joined in the fun, and they added Colorado, Missouri, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and an enormous Texas to their collection.

Mister Man found a rock perfect for whittling sticks!

When bathroom needs superceded the desire to stay in the water and play, we headed back to the van and home.

Honestly, we got in almost as many miles as we would have if we'd just walked the whole trail, and we had more fun the way we did it.

Hike #20 of 52--Unity Village Nature Trail
39.41 miles + 2.5 = 41.91 miles

That evening, after lunch and a summer school session, we met friends at a spray park.  It was good to spend time with them, but we really were too tired, and we ended up with a tough episode with Brother.

We got safely home, though, and all settled well eventually.

We spent Wednesday at home--including a 3 hour playdough session. 

By this time, Super Star was fully recovered from her cold, and she was bored and anxious.  She put her energy into cleaning the basement kitchen in the hopes that she'll be allowed to do her own cooking down there, now that she's 18 but not ready to move out on her own.

And COVID-19 reared its ugly head again in preventing Belle from volunteering at the farm.  The farm owners are very afraid of this illness, and they decided to close their gates to volunteers until either the harvest/selling season is over or COVID-19 numbers drop.

Thursday morning we got Dad to go with us to add another hike to our list.  Ferocious rain on Wednesday meant lots of puddles everywhere on Thursday, and the kids voted unanimously to head to Little Blue Valley Park to walk the trail in search of crawdads.

Which we found about 10 steps from the parked van!

It was a walk of tremendous beauty for us all.  Nature Angel and I collected seeds from as many wildflowers as we could and made mental notes of flowers we want to come back for in a month or so.

It drizzled mistily on us the entire time we were out, and we enjoyed every minute of it. 

Hike #21 of 52--Little Blue Valley Park Trail
41.91 miles + 2.6 = 43.51 miles

Then we decided on a big outing on Friday, and we headed north with a little friend in tow for more walking and water play.

This butterfly didn't leave Little Princess' bow for over half an hour!

About half way through the loop, we found water access, and we stopped to explore.

The mud was the kids' favorite part.  They happily stood still, feeling their bodies sink. 
Sir Walter Scott and I limited them to sinking to their knees.

We wandered along the creek for perhaps a quarter of a mile, and the kids would have gone further,
but Sir Walter Scott and I don't have such tough feet, and the rocks were often sharp.
I lured the kids into turning around by offering snacks once we got back to the bridge and our
shoes and sock.

We tried to fit 9 kids on a bench, but even though the other kids were willing to squish, Baymax wouldn't try.  We took the picture anyway.

We stopped to look at a historic tobacco barn, then we found a playground.

These two were contorting themselves in fantastic fashion, but I missed the picture,
catching them as they fell.

We tried to re-create the moment . . .

 . . . but with sweaty hands and aching legs, this was the best we could get. 

Sir Walter Scott wanted to get in on the action!

When the kids were too tired to play at the playground any more, we headed to the Missouri River overlook.  The green growth made the river hard to see, but we all enjoyed looking to the west and imagining the Lewis and Clark expedition wondering what was out there.

Hike #22 of 52--Weston Bend State Park, Paved Bike Trail
43.51 miles + 3.4 = 46.91 miles

That evening, the teens all went to a church youth get together (outside, masks required). 

We got to release 2 more butterflies this week, too!  Giant Swallowtails!

And this morning, all of the kids except the 5-year-olds are sleeping late.

I need to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the library, but I signed up for America's Summer Roadtrip, so I hope it will be a quiet day with a little bit of sunshine and a little bit of history and not a lot of other activity.


  1. What a great week of hikes and outdoor explorations. COVID 19 would be so much easier to deal with if there was easily available and speedy testing. I am sorry you are having to wait on results. The wait here is 9 to 12 days which is completely useless. I am glad you all have playgrounds to go to. Ours have been closed since March.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Gorgeous outside photos! Looks like a great week. I hope the Covid-19 era ends soon!


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