Scaling the Trees at Halsey Pond

This morning, after many months of attempts, Kids Unplugged teamed up with the Rivertown Playgroup for a hike for the small ones at Halsey Pond. Halsey Pond is usually a great choice for a hike with little kids. Though the lead-in trail is a bit steep from the Hamilton Road trail head where we usually park, it brings you out to a flat, gravel path which circles the pond and offers great views of the Beltzhoover Teahouse the whole way around. Those views help motivate short legs as well, because heading counter-clockwise around the loop leaves the “castle” for the end of the hike and all of the kids want to make it to the castle.

Today, however, because of the series of wild storms we’ve had recently (mentioned in other recent posts) there were again a crazy number of downed trees lying across the lead-in trail. Big trees, too, and the toddlers really had to work to negotiate over the fallen trunks and under and around the tangle of branches that blocked their way up the hill.

I’m not used to hiking with a group of toddlers, and while I have a little one of my own and have been through the toddler phase three times, I forget (they say you do and I never believed it) how challenging it can be for them to maneuver their small limbs. They took the job of ducking beneath branches very seriously, determination on their little, knittedbrows as they stooped low so as not to smack their noggins. A couple of them got a little teary as they were passed over the storm detritus from one grown-up to another. But climb the hill they did and they were rewarded with the gentle pond loop replete with good, squishy mud puddles in which to splooge and plenty of sticks to snap for pint-sized walking sticks.

There were plenty of diversions of the nature-sort along the Halsey loop–ducks and geese in the pond, buttercups blooming along the shore, a little fountain spilling water on the path for small hands to cup and catch, robins to spot, and dirt to scrape and scratch with a stick. It was great for my smallest one to be among her cohorts, freed from the backpack where she often goes when she can’t keep up with the bigger kids on Wacky Wednesdays.And the teahouse served the purpose it usually does on our hikes, fantasy play for the kids and chat time for the parents. We basked in the sun as they ran in and out of the little gothic space before it was time to head back down the trail and home for the naps that were sure to follow.

Arin and I deemed it a rousing success and hope to make these Friday hikes a regular occurrence, so please be sure to check the calendar for updates. Looking forward to seeing all of you again soon!

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