There are times when I can totally tell that Bob maybe wishes that he had married someone that was possibly a wee bit more outdoorsy. This usually becomes apparent when we try to do something out of doors or adventurous and I’m not a team player or something goes terribly wrong or a bug lands in my hair. Bob’s frustration is typically indicated by a deep, deep sigh of resignation. Like, he’s just profoundly disappointed in his wife’s inability to use a compass. Or, willingness to swim in a mossy lake. Or, dig a latrine. That kind of stuff.
Knowing our shaky history of activities that take place outside, I still agreed to a family hike yesterday. While Bob frequently takes the kids on hikes, I just as frequently defer participation because: alone time. But, we were having such a nice weekend and the weather was just lovely and the kids were being not that annoying and I was all caffeinated so I thought, this is a Good Idea. I can do this! We will have fun! The first freeze has probably killed off the worst of the bugs by now anyway!
With this shrill enthusiasm, we set out for our afternoon adventure.
I was in charge of navigating us to a state park in West Virginia that we had never been to before, while Bob drove. (A park that I had selected from the map with no more robust research than a simple exclamation of, “That looks neat!”) I’m actually very good with directions but I had trusted my phone’s GPS to get us there and since our destination was off the beaten path, we not only didn’t arrive where we thought we would arrive, we ended up on the wrong side of the Shenandoah River from the park. And, we know this because a burly man in a giant truck towing a horse trailer honked his horn at us intimidatingly. Turns out, we were in his driveway.
After navigating to the right side of the river, we found the park, unloaded some now sleepy and completely unenthused kids, grabbed zero supplies and headed down to explore the water.
Bob had dressed Charlie that morning while I had dressed Millie. Apparently, the same outfit one wears to church may not be the best outfit to hike a rock and stick-riddled trail in. Granted, Millie does appear to be a bit cold but, whatever, Bob, tulle can work for many occasions.
We consulted with some other hikers that were heading back to their car about the trail and how far it extended and they were super helpful and pointed us in the right direction so off we went down the path! Hiking! As a family! All outdoorsy and stuff! Also, “why were those people wearing such bright orange hats?” we asked ourselves right as Millie bit it on the trail and shed many tears and was left with many leaves in her tulle.
We pressed on because the scenery was so beautiful and I was having a pretty good time and thinking to myself how we should definitely do this more often, this being outside amongst the outdoors. And, wow, the woods are so magical and peaceful and the river is so calm and look! There are some kids your own age, Henry! But… Wait… What are they… They’re… They’re carrying guns.
Oooooooooh, just BB guns. False alarm! That’s a relief!
But, um, well then, where is this guy going?
Shortly thereafter, we realized the unfortunately named “Wildlife Preserve” we were hiking in was also a popular hunting spot this time of year. It was open season, we learned, on deer and bear (!).
After passing many hunter-type men, we retreated rather carefully to our car since Bob, helpfully, pointed out that Charlie was dressed entirely in fur.
I think the lesson here is really two-fold. One, Millie needs hiking shoes and two, West Virginia does NOT mess around.
See you on the trails! (Just kidding. I totally won’t see you on the trails. I’m never going hiking again.)