Monday, August 15, 2011

Out back

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, when you've got an hour to wait before the lasagna is done, what do you do to spend the time?

If you're the Johns family, you throw on your hiking boots (or old tennies) and head out back for a woods-and-swamp hike!

Our subdivision has 80 acres of land around it to form kind of a barrier so no one else can develop right on top of us. It's pretty cool. The 14 homeowners here all chip in to pay the property taxes for that land, and it's considered common property. From what I can tell, almost no one that lives here goes back there. That's a shame, because there are some neat woods and a little lake. The guy across the road and his son do go back to the lake, and he recently told me there's some good fishing (bass and pike) back there. We haven't fished yet, but we have been back to check out the lake and spent some time back there sliding on the ice with the kids this past winter.

This was at the lake late last fall.

Anyway, even though it was rainy yesterday, we decided to take a walk in the woods. We had originally planned to go to the lake to see how swampy the approach was, but we ended up running out of time, since dinner was in the oven.

We started out behind our house with the intention of seeing if we could blaze a new trail between our house and the one three doors down, where Logan's buddy Clayton lives. The boys love to play in the woods, but it's so thick back there, we're afraid of them getting lost. We managed to beat down some sort of a trail, but I'm going to go back there with the loppers and snip off some of the black raspberry briars. I'm also going to mark the trail with that colored tape stuff, so the boys don't get misled, because there are a lot of game trails back there, and they just lead right into the swamp.

After we beat our way down to Clayton's house, we cut into the woods where this crabby neighbor guy (not from the sub) has a nasty old permanent campsite set up. It's surrounded by all these blue tarps and it's visible from our neighborhood and from the main road. I hear it's been a bit of an argument over past years. He's got "NO TRESPASSING" signs up all over and the camp looks like someone set up and then just disappeared. There is a tent, hammock, sleeping bags, cookware, silverware, beer bottles and more all just lying around back there. I'm pretty sure the guy leaves it there now just to spite us. I also hear he once caught some neighborhood kids back there and marched them home and had words with the parents because they were trespassing. We've repeatedly warned Logan not to go back there.

But yesterday? We cut through. Hopefully he doesn't read my blog.

And we saw that the guy had even fashioned himself a toilet in the woods. How utterly charming.

We came to the trail that divides his property from ours, and we followed it. There, we found ourselves distracted by these beauties.

After we had our appetizer, we kept going and crossed where the power lines come through. It had been all grown up with bushes but someone came through and cut it down earlier in the year, so now it's all berry briars and wildflowers.

We entered the pretty woods out toward the lake and found the hollow tree we discovered last fall.

It was empty yesterday.

But in the fall there was a raccoon sleeping there when we found it. He wasn't that happy about me sticking my camera in the hole and taking his photo.

Then we followed some game trails

through the swampiness to the spot on the creek bank where all the deer apparently come to drink. Logan was charmed by this mucky little spot. He said he wanted to camp here. I bet he'll revisit this spot over the years, as he gets bigger and is allowed to explore the woods on his own.

After the creek, we just played in the woods for a few. Logan walked on logs and climbed on trees and stuff.

Jordan decided he'd had enough of being carried in the pack on Daddy's back.

So he freed himself from the straps. He wanted me to carry him. I'd have made him walk but silly Mama didn't put shoes on him before we left home, so I ended up carrying him after all.

Then we went home for some nice hot homemade lasagna. It was delicious!

Oh, and we brought home lots of mud, seed cling-ons and mosquito bites.

All in all, it was a good afternoon hike! I just love going out and getting dirty with my men!