This past weekend the family and I made our way out to William O’Brien State Park in beautiful Scandia, MN. Our plan for the day was to hike, geocache, and take part in some kayaking. We also swam and ate our lunch and dinner there really enjoying being away and enjoy the great outdoors.
What I didn’t anticipate was that we would have Slow Pokie Majokie as a trail partner. That is the name we call our son when he decides to move at his own pace. He has many names, according to him 33 which is probably pretty accurate. Today Slow Pokie Majokie decided to grace us with his presence and join us on our merry adventure.
In total we hiked probably 4 miles which took us 33 hours 29 minutes and 48 seconds. Why so long you ask? Oh because you’ve never hiked with my boy!
Before we even get on the trail there is immense fussing going on about the fact that we’re hiking at all. Even though we’ve given him the briefing all week long us hiking this morning, for some strange reason, catches him off guard. He can remember that you promised to give him a piece of candy at a specific time 5 days ago, but the constant reminder of hiking escapes him.
We of course set out on a nice riverside loop trail on the east end of the park. No elevation gain, gravel lined, very nice easy warm up hike. Somehow the constant motion over flat and even terrain causes pain in his legs. We would later find out that the waters of Lake Alice have miraculous healing powers as once he was able to swim he could run around everywhere. I thrashed, waded, swam, and sunk in those same waters but nothing changed. Apparently the restorative effects of the water have an age limit.
Once we got him going we were constantly challenged with losing him to the fascinating world of the ground beneath his feet. Every bug, acorn, pine cone, rock, twig, and pine needle seemed oddly fascinating so much so that he would abruptly stop as we continued ahead. In his defense he was collecting small items for an iSpy bottle his mother is making him for the trip next week, so a small acorn and a pebble or two needed to be collected. While I was trying to do some bird watching, and listening to the call of the wild (when you’re stuck in the metro area as much as we are trust me this is the wild!) I struggled to listen to nature’s gorgeous melody over the sounds of dragging feet, sighs, made up songs, and a running commentary on everything. But hey…..at least he was walking.
All-in-all it was a good day. He’s not all that bad as a hiker, he’s quite helpful in gathering trash (We like to help pick up litter left behind by others as we hike. Our way of helping to keep the parks beautiful) he doesn’t mind doing this and actually thinks it’s kind of fun.
The funniest thing about this adventure was the resource my wife and I didn’t even know we had at home. We ownFalcon Guide’s Hiking With Kids in our library at the house. In our defense between the three of us we probably own well over 300 books so for us to miss a small book like this, even though it’s in our outdoors collection with all of our other guides, needs to be excused.
In this terrific resource it outlines how one should view a day hike with a child and how to plan the activities and make it fun for everyone. I of course don’t need this resource because I know that even though he’s 1/3rd the size of an adult, his stamina, desire, and focus should be no different then mine. I mean come on now, he’s got half my chromosomes! You’d think with that spectacular DNA he’d be able to tick off some mileage.
With the pace he sets on the trail I don’t know how this child is going to survive the 50-miler we have planned in a month and pack his own gear. I joke it’s not a 50-miler….it’s the entire Superior Hiking Trail. If you see a five year old following a caterpillar or swinging a walking stick like a baseball bat ready to kneecap any adult within range chances are you’ve met Slow Pokie Majokie.