Adventure Day with the Neighborhood Kids – Canoeing!

May 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm 4 comments

With Khalif’s 16th Birthday approaching, it was time for another adventure day! Ryan and I have discussed for some time taking the kids canoeing. We now had an occasion, an excited audience, the funding AND the perfect spot. You can’t ask for a more inspiring locale than the amazing Merchant’s Millpond State Park. With canoe rentals only $8 for two hours, it turned out to be a cheaper outing than the skating rink— with so very much more to see!

As we unloaded eight kids and snacks out of the cars at the park, I couldn’t help but smile and tell Birthday Boy Khalif, “We’re going to have an adventure today!”

To which Khalif had the most flattering reply, “Oh I know it. When we’re with you, it’s always an adventure!”

Disposable Cameras
You can’t have an adventure of this caliber without pictures! So Ryan and I invested in four disposable cameras, one camera for each boat. With two exceptions, the pictures in this post were taken by the kids! The cameras may have been as fun as the canoeing. Portraits were popular:

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Vicky and Tyrek's Boat - Tyrek Self Portrait (with Jacal)
Tyrek Self Portrait (Photo by Tyrek)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Khalif on Dock, Vicky Goes Back
Khalif at the End of the Day (Photo by ????)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Khalif's Eyes and Trees
Omnimous Khalif (Photo by Khalif?)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Vicky and Tyrek's Boat - Tyrek
Tyrek

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Terrance Self Portait 2
Terrance Self Portrait (Photo by Terrance)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Dada Smiling and Rowing
Dada Paddles (Photo by Terrance?)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Vicky and Tyrek's Boat - DJ, Davonte, Armani
DJ, Davonte (Taking a Picture of His Own), Armani

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Vicky and Tyrek's Boat - Vicky with the All Important Sunscreen
SUNSCREEN! (Photo by Tyrek)

Trail Overview
Merchant’s Millpond has three water trails on the pond (Park Trail Map). They are marked by floating colored buoys. We took the white trail to the yellow trail to the orange trail and then circled back off the trail. We were out about 2-3 hours.

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Ryan and Jacal's Boat - Buoy
Buoy (Photo by Jacal)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Ryan and Jacal's Boat - Vicky, Tyrek, Ryan in Action
Canoes in Action (Photo by Jacal)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Ryan and Jacal's Boat - Ryan Scouts
My Handsome Husband Scouting the Sights! (Photo by Jacal)

Fauna
We didn’t get to see the alligator (which may have been VERY, VERY, VERY good), but the kids got to see plenty despite a lot of loud talking. We saw painted turtles, snapping turtles, a black vulture and a family of geese. “That’s the daddy protecting them,” one kid pointed out as a single goose circled the nest and stared at us ominously. The disposable cameras weren’t equipped with zoom lenses, so you’ll have to have attention to detail:

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Goose
Canadian Goose (Photo by Khalif, Terrance or Dada)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Vicky and Tyrek's Boat - Turtles Sunning
Two Sunning Turtles (Photo by Tyrek)

Snacks
For this day’s adventure we were armed with the following snacks:

  • Seedless Grapes (I’ve discovered during previous adventures– they have to be seedless)
  • Spicy Hot Doritos
  • Hot Fries
  • Bag of Pistachio Nuts
  • 12 Plastic Bottles of Sprite

This seemed to work quite well for the eight young rowers and we all got quite adept at pulling next to each other to swap off supplies.

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - The Passing of the Spicy Doritos
Jacal and Tyrek Pass Off the Spicy Hot Doritos (Photo by Khalif, Terrance or Dada)

Flora
The kids got to see plenty of resilient and creative plants– Bald cypress trees, lilypads and spanish moss were the most common cameos.

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Ryan and Jacal's Boat - Scenery by Jacal
Bald Cypress Trees and Lilypads (Photo by Jacal)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Khalif, Terrance and Dada's Boat - Lily Pads and Trees
Lily Pads (Photo by Khalif, Terrance or Dada)

Canoeing Merchant's Millpond - Ryan and Jacal's Boat - Spanish Moss
Spanish Moss (Photo by Jacal)

A Mishap
We did have an mishap near the very end of our trip. A frantic maneuver inspired by an oncoming thorny bush flipped one boat completely over. Ryan got all three drenched rowers back into boats. We had some scared individuals, we had some wet individuals shivering in the wind, but everyone got back to land safely and at the end of the day, the kids were all smiles with a new experience (canoeing!) under their belt.

On Mishaps and Adventure
When I was a young girl and played tournament bridge with my father, there would be occasions where I would be down about a mistake I made.

“If we always played perfect,” my father told me, “it would be boring!”

As much as I love Khalif’s compliment early in the day, I think I have to admit that the key component for an adventure day may not actually be me. : ) It’s more likely the unexpected, the unknown. It’s the not knowing what a new experience will be like, it’s the not knowing what animals you’ll encounter or what sights you will see. And although far from ideal, another source of unexpectancies are the little mishaps along the way.

Certainly, you want to do everything in your power to avoid mishaps, but at the same time you want to be prepared for them. That’s exactly why everyone (including Ryan and myself) was wearing life jackets and we were armed with very cheap, disposable cameras. Although you aim to prevent them, it may be the fact that mishaps and unplanned bobbles can happen, that truly separate an “average day” from an “adventure day”.

But if you insist, I’ll certainly take sole credit for what constitutes an adventure. : )

More canoeing pictures by the neighborhood kids are available on my Flickr site.

Entry filed under: Baldcypress, Canoing, Merchant's Millpond State Park, Neighborhood Kids, Turtle. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tgaw  |  May 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Just remembered a related post by my friend Stacy from June 2007.

    Mishaps are not just a side affect of adventure, they can also be a side effect of play:

    http://slackmeister.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/apparently-i-wish-injury-on-my-kid/

    My thoughts are almost THREE years behind Stacy’s. 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. geekhiker  |  May 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I so wish there were more places to canoe/kayak around here. It’s something I could do even with my wonky foot!

    Reply
  • 3. Katie  |  May 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I completely missed the news that you were getting married! A belated (but heart-felt) congratulations to you and Ryan!

    Reply
  • 4. 6 Year Blogaversary « TGAW  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    […] Adventure Day with the Neighborhood Kids — Canoeing! We still very much miss the neighborhood kids and I wanted to highlight one of our adventure days.  This day we took eight kids canoeing. My favorite part is Khalif noting, “When we’re with you, it’s always an adventure!” : ) […]

    Reply

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