This morning we were off to the Teatown Lake Reservation for Wacky Wednesday Walks. I bumped the time to the morning being vacation week, and am glad that I did as the timing was just about perfect with the weather. The flurries were just starting as we left around 12:45.
We started in the nature center where the kids checked out Teatown’s pretty extensive collection of native species–corn snakes, rat snakes, red-eared sliders, wood frogs, and more are there for the kids to visit and study up close. After a quick chat with one of the naturalists, we decided on our path, a short walk to the dam along the lake trail and then loop back to the nature center via two shorter trails through the woods. “It’s about a 20-30 minute walk,” she told me.
Two hours later (whose pace was she thinking about?) we circled back to the nature center past the resident rabbits, owl, and bald eagle. Twenty minutes at a steady clip. Two-hours if you’re bushwhacking.
Looking up the term ‘bushwhacking,’ I come across a plethora of definitions. Everything from, “To make one’s way through thick woods by cutting away bushes and branches,” to “To fight as a guerrilla in the woods,” to “a North American term for hikers and cross-country skiers who make their own trails.” For my intents and purposes, I’ll call ‘bushwhacking,’ “when a bunch of kids can’t seem to keep their feet on the blazed path and take to the woods for adventures of all kinds.” Because that’s what our hike was today. A series of adventures–climbing enormous boulders, examining the crystals discovered on some rocks, lifting pieces of glass-like ice from the thawing lake, searching for the perfect walking stick, and simply “splooging in the splooge,” with gratitude for splooge-proof boots. No cutting away of branches to get through, just watching out for little twigs that might poke a tender eye.
Teatown really is a magical place and the walks are beautiful and accessible. The wind started to kick up a notch as we reached the dam and we were glad to be heading into the shelter of the woods trails. When we got to the turn-off point from the lake trail, the kids marched triumphantly ahead, our new readers navigating the trail for the moms with babes on our backs following behind. And when they shouted, “we can see the nature center!” the pride rang out from their voices.