Thursday, June 14, 2012

Camp Stimey Takes to the Woods

One of my goals this summer is to get my kids out of the house and doing active stuff, which has the added benefit of getting me out of the house and doing active stuff. Today was the second day of summer vacation, we had a blank square on our calendar, and it seemed to be time to put up or shut up.

I told the munchkins that we were going for a hike after lunch. Sam was appalled. Jack was ambivalent. Quinn set about enthusiastically packing a snack for us even though we had just consumed lunch. He was so goddamn adorable about it that I didn't have the heart to make him stop. Not to mention that he was putting it all in his backpack, so it looked like he was going to end up carrying our supplies, which I found awesome.

The only problem was that I didn't know where we were going to hike. What does a nerd do when she's looking for a place to hike? She Googles the name of her city and "hiking" and finds some easy trails 15 minutes from her house.

Done and done.

It was pretty funny because Sam continued to complain and complain about being forced to go, you know, outside and even claimed to have called Alex and gotten permission from him to not have to go, but then when we pulled into the parking lot of the trail-head, which we've driven by a million times, he was all, "Oh. I've always wanted to come here."

Dude. Trust your mom once in a while. Jackass.

See, I suckered them in with running water and by the time they realized that the rest of the walk wasn't as exciting, they were already too far in to throw a tantrum.

Thank you, weird, rusty remnants of...something interesting.

Furthermore, I was correct about Quinn wanting to carry the backpack. Everything was coming up roses.

Please note the water bottle in the backpack pocket.
This is important later.

Because I'm me, I made them stop to take a photo. This was just as Sam came to the realization that there are bugs in nature and he started to scream and wave his arms around his head. It started when he spotted a butterfly, continued with a dragonfly, and disintegrated from there. Thank God we didn't find any ticks.

See how he's keeping himself all small to avoid
providing surfaces for bugs to land on?

Then Quinn noticed that our water bottle (one of my favorites, naturally) had disappeared. I tried to send Sam back to look for it, because he is the most reliable of the munchkins by himself, but he refused to unfurl himself enough to walk past the bushes in his way, so I backtracked a little bit to look for it, but I couldn't find it.

I came back to find Quinn demanding a snack break.

We had been hiking for three minutes.

This photo makes the whole thing worth it though.

I wasn't ready to let them stop and eat the chicken drumsticks and slices of bread that Quinn had packed for us, but that didn't stop Quinn from sitting down by a tree and saying, "You go ahead, I have to take a break," as if we should abandon him on the trail because he was just too exhausted.

Maybe it's because he was carrying the backpack.

I made them walk for a half hour before I finally let them stop. No one was really hungry, but Quinn, Jack, and I all made an effort to eat a couple of bites of bread after it had been so earnestly packed. Sam refused to sit down and scanned the air for low-flying insects.

I gave him my camera though and he spent the return walk
focused on taking more than 100 photos.

He did manage to get a photo of our smallest hiker as well.

No, not Jack.

He blends into the trail, but he's there. It's Algernon!

Algernon didn't even OFFER to carry the backpack.

We may have lost a water bottle, but on the way back, we did find this awesome abandoned shoe sole that Quinn insisted on carrying all the way to the car with us.

His pack-rat-ism is almost pathological.

For a while, it looked as if we were going to be able to get rid of the shoe sole because this dog here really wanted it.

Thank you, Sam, for your thorough photographic documentation of our hike.

Unfortunately, the dog's moms didn't want the shoe sole as much as I didn't want the shoe sole and foiled all my efforts to force Quinn to let the dog have the damn thing.

The rest of the hike was pretty uneventful. The shoe sole is still in my car. No one had a tick and Sam wasn't murdered by any bugs. As we drove away, I told the kiddos that next time we're going to hike even farther. Happily, they seemed to accept the fact that there would be more hiking.

Next time though, we're not taking our best water bottle.


  1. I can't wait to hear Sam's reaction when he sits down for a nice review of your blog one day in the near future and discovers you've called him a jackass. Please please document that moment. :-)

    I'm glad the hike was a success! 

  2. Sounds like a blast of a day. I can't wait to have some summer fun.

  3. You left the house with three children, walked somewhere and back, and returned with the same number of children you left with (very important not to gain any). I call that a roaring success.  Well done!

  4. That place looks awesome!  And you got so many adorable pics!!  Go Team Stimey!!

  5. That sounds like a very successful hike. I keep intending to try geocaching this summer, but I likely will never get around to it.

  6. first -- Quinn's shirt -- did he get really dirty on the hike or is that an odd tie-dye job?

    second -- I feel like I should apologize for the first question.  

    third -- I'm sorry I haven't been commenting much.  Now that the kids are out of school, my morning blog reading gets interrupted several times.  In fact just writing this I answered 3 questions about birds, heard one long story about plans for a bird and got breakfast (all for the same person).  

  7. Sounds fun. I love hiking with my oldest. Elijah is still a little too little but Josh love the Cabin John Train and Great Falls 

  8. What an awesome adventure! Although I'm totally with Sam on this one, nature would be WAY better if they fumigated it first. : )

  9. Hi there!  Spending time in nature can be very refreshing - unless there are centipedes.  Those are disgusting, and a little scarey.  

    This reminded me of Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods.  

    So, I did a quick search, and found that his other books include The Nature Principle:  “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

    That's a really interesting thought, I believe - especially as I spend so much time online!

    [This comment isn't spam.  I have never met Richard Louv - I just heard good reviews of his book, Last Child in the Woods.]  

  10.  Oh, he'll be piiiiiisssed. He considers it an insult if I call him silly.

  11.  Plus! Bonus! No extra dogs either!

  12.  1. Weird tie-dye. Camp Stimey Hippie Week was only semi-successful last summer.
    2. Don't apologize at all.
    3. I hear you, friend. It's like the kids think they're the center of our worlds or something. Sheesh.

  13.  I agree too. We're currently hiding in the house because there is a worm on the patio.

  14.  Centipedes are like the worst possible hybrid of a spider and a worm. They are terrible.

    And I agree that it is all too easy to get so much from technology that you think you don't need anything from the outside, but we really, really do. Just not centipedes.

  15. Hi, still had this page open, and would like to reply.  

    So, to summarize, getting outdoors for a hike = excellent.  Good hiking / walking venues, in my view, include Bethesda, the Crescent trail, Macarthur Blvd., the tow path, and the Capital grounds.  Nothing too remote from civilization, thankyou.Also, I'm REALLY sorry to have mentioned the centipedes.  They just came to mind when a friend [in Boston] mentioned a planned family camping trip.  On the one hand, that's wonderful!  On the other hand, I just can't envision tent camping.  Yikes.  

  16. Fantastic that you got your guys out into the great outdoors, bugs and all. If a solitary fly sneaks into our house there is a major crisis, rooms are evacuated, computers are abandoned...

  17. My favorite part was "We had been hiking for three minutes." And the following picture is ADORABLE!

  18. I have to go wash my hands and try to stop thinking about all the germs that must have been on that shoe sole. Elle would have totally picked it up too and demanded I hang it up in her room.


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