Back in June I wrote a post about program planning after my son and I checked out the hiking trails in Bois-des-esprits forest. This week we took the children the children there to explore.
The forecast called for rain but that didn’t stop us from going. It was cloudy and humid but it never did rain. We hiked every inch of trail from one end of the forest to the other and back again – covering 4 km in a little more than two hours!
As the saying goes “A Picture worth 1000 words’ so I always bring my camera along on our outings to document our discoveries. When the trail is wide enough we can walk in pairs but on narrow trails we walk single file – oldest children in the front and me in the back so I can see everyone. This way I am also closest to the younger children to assist them when necessary. Also, and most importantly, because I can see them all I can note what types of things attract the children’s attention.
They are the leaders. They let me know when they make a discovery and want to check it out further;
They are the ones who initiate the experiments to find out things like ‘can I lift that fallen tree?’
On this outing it was also my intention to take a picture of every one of the tree carvings that we found along the way. These pictures were to be examples for the children later when we tried some clay carvings. So when we reached ‘Woody’ the tree spirit I got ready to take some photos and discovered that the batteries were too low. No problem, I always bring extras along. As the children examined the tree or rested on the nearby bench I changed the camera batteries. Then we heard a sound in the bush behind us;
Deer! First one, then another and another – there were four all together. One was bigger so we assumed it was the mother. The other three were smaller and still had spots.
They knew we were there; the young deer were just as interested in watching us as we were in watching them. All young are curious. As the children knelt on the bench, leaning over the back and peering into the trees, the young deer moved closer to get a better look. It was awesome!
All the while I was fumbling with my camera which continued to flash the low battery warning even with the new batteries I just put in. The ‘new’ batteries had been in the bottom of the camera case for a while – too long I guess. Sadly, there would be no more pictures today.
We watched the deer for about 15 minutes. Some of the young ones ventured to within 15 feet of the clearing we were in before their mom decided they should move along. I would have loved to have gotten a picture with both my group of children and hers.
We continued our hike and in total we saw four deer, three snakes, two frogs, some crickets, two blue jays, a chipmunk and seven tree carvings. The children tried to mimic the blue jay call and they made up a chant about watching for poison ivy. Maybe I need to start bringing my voice recorder along on our adventures too – and more than one extra set of batteries.