Friday, July 17, 2009

Heat and humidity--just my luck

Thursday is my day out in the woods with kids, trying to get them to take an interest in the outdoors. I walk them along an old woods road and we look for stuff. Midsummer is not an exciting time for this to the kids. They like big and splashy, lots of drama. A hot and humid midsummer day is not an a great prescription for big and splashy. Still, we had some fun.

I take several groups of kids 8-15 down the mountain and over to a woodland pond. We found the same poor toad three times. Everyone got to hold it. After three trips the toad was in hiding and nowhere to be found. I don't blame the poor thing. We located some frogs and caught a few of them. We saw some chipmunks and those excited far more excitement than I would have expected a chipmunk to excite.

I tried to interest them in ferns and fungus and hickory nuts and things like that. Sometimes it worked. The younger kids are easily amused. The older kids are a tougher audience, at least in part because they are more interested in each other than in anything. The girls giggle over nothing; the boys are in their smart-aleck phase.

I enjoy the time with the kids, though I suspect my impact is pretty limited. For some of these kids, many of whom have never gone on a hike in the woods, a week spent outside doing fun things is a first. They are learning to fish, kayak, canoe, rappel, the basics of "wilderness survival" and the like.

For me, it’s a long day, especially since I am up and down the mountain three times during the day. The total distance is only 6-7 miles, but it’s spread over seven hours of slow walking, which I find more tiring than moving at a normal pace. And, of course, somehow, the hike managed to hit on the first day of the year when it was over 90 degrees and humid. No more of those days are even in the forecast. I'm just "lucky" that way.

Today’s photo is not from my hike yesterday; it was taken the day before at Roundtop, near the bottom of one of the ski slopes, when the humidity was still low.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I appreciate your trying to connect those kids to their natural surroundings. I don't belive your efforts are wasted even though it might seem so.

I don't think we're supposed to make it out of the 50's today.
Crazy to be wearing a sweatshirt in July! I'll try to send some of the cool your way.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne, Until yesterday, the temperature has been quite cool for this area, too. And wouldn't you know it, today is cooler again. I managed to make the hike on the hottest day of the year so far.

Carolyn H.

Jain said...

I've felt the same way, trying to drag my nieces and nephews out into the natural world and wondering if I had any impact. Any way you slice it, though, a day spent out of doors is unique, and far better than a day spent playing electronic games. Surely it makes a difference, even if you don't see it right now.