We recently got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado...Rocky Mountain National Park to be exact. We camped and hiked and saw lots of beautiful scenery. Goofy Junior, now a couple months past his 2 year birthday, loved it.
So, when we got back to nice-but-not-quite-Colorado Kansas, I decided that my boy and I would hike. We live close to a decent-sized park, with some real (dirt not paved) trails. I mentioned it to him and his little face lit up with excitement. I pictured this becoming our Saturday morning tradition. Get up early, get the hiking shoes on, apply sunscreen, grab some water and some trail snacks (raisins, chocolate chips, etc.) and hit the trails. I even pictured a time when Goofy Junior #2 would come along and he would happily ride along in the Baby Bjorn, while Goofy Junior #1 blazed the trail ahead of us. What a happy, family picture that was.
Okay, now back to reality....
We got to the park around 9:30am. This alone was an achievement! We talked to the visitor center and found a not-too-rocky, not-too-hilly trail. We navigated to the trail, put our hiking shoes on, and started our hike. The hike started on paved trail, which was hot, but not hard. We cut across a field and found the marker for the "Habitat Trail". The entry was a barely discernable 2-foot-wide dirt path. This is so great!, I remember thinking. I want Junior to have a woodsy experience, not a paved trail experience. Note to Self: Be careful what you wish for.
The first thing we noticed was the spider webs across the trail. We were the trail blazers on this fine morning. I took the opportunity to teach Junior how to use a stick to wave ahead of you to break any spider webs that might breach the path. Of course, he being only about 35" tall, he was under most of the webs, while Mommy got the fun of hitting most of them, complete with spiders attached to some. What fun!
The trail was perfect, skill-wise. Not too rocky, not too hilly. It was a bit skinny, but that was okay. The shade of the trees above was nice and got us out of the sun. Enough that I started wondering why we had applied sunscreen.
We broke out of the woods into a field. Butterflies were abundant here. Junior was mesmerized. The trail was a bit overgrown with foliage, but we forged ahead. Then I noticed a familiar sensation on my leg...Stinging Nettle! Uh-oh! If you haven't experienced Stinging Nettle before, consider yourself lucky. It's a plant that contains an oil which, when applied to human skin, immediately breaks the skin into many tiny welts...and burns like acid. I'm not exaggerating.
My first thought was, "Uh-oh...I hope Goofy Junior doesn't brush up against this". Right about that time, he reached down to scratch his leg, walked a few steps, then cried out and sat down, holding his leg. Shit.
The only thing I had was our water bottle, so I dowsed his leg with water. Surprisingly, this seemed to help! He got back up and we continued hiking. Rub some dirt on it, boy! We went through more woods, then another clearing. Then Junior refused to go back in the woods. He saw the street. "But it's not hot in the woods", I reasoned with the toddler (silly me!). He was having none of it. We hiked up the blacktop to our awaiting car.
We celebrated by parking ourselves under a tree as we gulped the remainder of our water and devoured our remaining raisins and (melted) chocolate chips.
The future of our "hiking tradition" remains to be seen, but I believe our outing this Saturday will be a paved trail. It's also supposed to be 105 degrees this Saturday. We will definitely see what us Goofys are made of....(I personally think "butter" would be the correct answer there).