Adventure Day with the Neighborhood Kids – Canoeing!
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!”
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:
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.
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:
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.
The kids got to see plenty of resilient and creative plants– Bald cypress trees, lilypads and spanish moss were the most common cameos.
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. : )