|Day 11 of 31 at TWT!|
"I'm a big hiker!" she chirps, grinning. One of her tiny pink Nike shoes stumbles against a huge root, but she waves her arms and regains her balance. "Look! A LOG!" Her chubby finger signals the serpentine roots popping in and out of the dirt.
"Haha, it's a tree root! These are the roots of the tree!"
"It's like stairs!"
"Yeah, it is like stairs! Can Mommy hold your hand?" I grab her tiny hand, relishing the feeling of her warm, wiggly fingers clutching mine, since she doesn't hold my hand very often. Together (with the help of some friendly saplings just in the right places for me to grab occasionally to ensure she doesn't pull us both down), we successfully navigate this tricky downhill stretch of roots.
"I'm a big hiker!" she echoes, running off with flailing arms and legs to catch up to Sis, who's already almost to the next turn of the path. Luckily for both of us, Sis stops to clamber up on a huge log, and we're able to catch up... for a minute. Then they're both off again at their signature speed: running.
When we first discovered this new park in the fall, we did an easier gravel path with Rainbow in the stroller. Obviously, I didn't need to bring the stroller today! I'm glad I didn't bother dragging it out of the car. I'm a little afraid I'll end up having to carry her back when we turn around, but she's not showing any signs of diminishing energy, despite all we've already done in the nearly two hours we've been here.
"Look! Those people are right where we were earlier, by the big rocks! Now we're right where we saw that man running when we were in the creek!" I manage to get both pairs of running feet to stop long enough to peer down at the beautiful creeking area we enjoyed earlier.
|Peeking down from the path to the creek & natural play area.|
|Creeking! (The hiking path is across the very top!)|
In addition to creeking, we'd already explored the huge natural play area, with a stick tent twice the size of the one at our local park, a swinging bridge, stepping stones, a log teeter-totter (which opinionated Rainbow Girl currently hates, but maybe someday...), and a giant stump table.
|When we got here, the stick-tent was in disarray after the winter, so we got to help rebuild it!|
|Enjoying their snack on the stump-table. |
(There are chair-stumps around the table, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun as sitting on it!)
A 2 year-old should be exhausted. (My backpack feels inordinately heavy!) But here we are, still frolicking along this trail! Afraid I'll end up carrying her back, I declare that we're going to turn around here.
In an adorable case of "I did what you said," Rainbow Girl stops momentarily, turns her body around... and continues down the path backwards. Sweetie and I burst into a fit of laughter as she precariously places one foot behind the other, grinning proudly.
"No, no, I mean we're going to walk back the other way, to go back where we came from!" I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard. I snap a picture of Sweetie laughing beside Rainbow Girl's backwards-inching self, then turn around and start walking the way I intended to clear up any confusion.
Soon, they're back in front of me, and it's not long before we arrive at the root-entangled incline. Sweetie charges up, and Rainbow Girl follow without even reaching for my hand, eventually deciding to squat down and grasp the roots as hand- and foot-holds like she's rock climbing. "I'm a big hiker!" she declares again, turning her head to flash me a proud smile.
I marvel at how strong she's getting. What a big-little, little-big girl she is now. And how easily she latches onto the words we give her to build her identity. "I'm not a baby anymore," she always announces, "I'm a big girl!" And now, she's a big hiker!
I'm reminded of one of our favorite Laurie songs, a frequent rocking-chair song about hiking. This is no mountain, but it might as well be to them. There's certainly so much to see from up here, and it's beautiful, but best of all, I love to see them "doing what kids can do".