Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Genuine kid-caught critters

A few of the prisoners
 I survived my first Adventure camp session of the summer, and I hope the kids had a good time. This year instead of hiking with a total of six different groups of the kids, I was a “station” along their orienteering course. My day was less physically difficult for me, but I could characterize it as a perfect day of peace in the woods interspersed with 8 groups of intense wildness.

I stationed myself by a small bridge across Beaver Creek and waited for the kids. I brought a small bucket and a net, filled my pack with camera, lunch and water and prepared to make myself comfortable. That lasted until the first group of kids was on their

My little camp for the day
 way. I could hear them coming half a mile away. They were loud and noisy. The pewees, chipmunks and squirrels that had been keeping me company slunk into their hiding places long before the kids became visible.

During the morning, counselors were confused by a section of the orienteering course. It was their first time through the course, too, though by afternoon the difficulties were ironed out. The weather was perfect throughout the day, which helped. Each group of kids was supposed to spend 20 minutes at my station before heading out on the rest of the orienteering course. Because of the aforementioned confusion, the first groups didn’t always have that much time. For one session, two of the groups arrived at the same time, a chaos consisting of 20-couple kids of varying ages.

A view of Beaver Creek

By the afternoon, we were all hitting our stride. The sun was high enough now to shine into the creek, which brought out the denizens of the stream. Attempts to catch minnows failed during the morning but the first afternoon group succeed in netting one, an eastern blacknose dace, from the school of 25-30 that filled the small pool in the stream.

The next group added a decent sized crayfish to the bucket and a small leopard frog. The last group of the day found three salamanders—a long-tailed salamander, a red-spotted newt and an eastern mud salamander. The kids were thrilled; the salamanders less so.

After the last group of kids left for the day, I released all of the prisoners unharmed and made my way back up the mountain. Now, if only I could keep the kids from tossing logs and rocks or screaming like banshees I’d consider the day perfect.


Cathy said...

Lol!! Well at least it wasn't too bad today. Could had a kid fallen into the creek or twisted their ankle. Well that could still happen. Along with one the girls seeing a snake and screaming her head off.

Cicero Sings said...

Kuddis to you - I'm so not a kid person having never had any and now being close to the 6-0 number. I'm so used to quiet I don't even have music on in the evening (no TV).

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: No, the weather was decent last Tuesday--can't say the same for the forecast for next Tuesday, but I'll deal with that then. I'm always happy when I can get one of those squeamish girls to touch a salamander or a crayfish (and not scream).

Cicero: I never had any kids either and I'm frighteningly close to the same age milestone as you. I don't play music at the cabin either;I prefer nature's sounds as my background. I do have a TV, but if it wasn't for the weather forecasts, I might not. So noisy kids are tough for me, too. But darn it, these youngsters are so completely ignorant of the outdoors that I figure I have to at least try to get them interested in it.