Over the last fifteen months, hiking has taken on a different part of my life. What was a leisurely hobby has now become more of a passion. More importantly, it has become woven into the fabric of my life as a n educator. I take every opportunity to learn about the trials I trek in order to eventually teach others. I can credit my daughter Embry for this newfound goal. She has been a consistent hiking partner for the last year. Her excitement for her observations is my main motivation in my latest adventures of beginning a Saunters summer program through my school district and for the body of this entry, Tyke Hikes.
Tyke Hikes came to me when she was getting a bit ornery in her hiking carrier and I took her out and let her roam the trail with me. Though our pace dramatically slowed, her fascination and intrigue in her environment skyrocketed, which also positively impacted my enjoyment of the hike. It was definitely a quality over quantity moment. I wanted to share her thrill of discovery an my joy of observing her happiness with other people, especially the formative younger generation. Alas, Tyke Hikes was born.
Though I am in no way considered an expert on nature, the Ice Age Trail, or pretty much anything, I know I have passion and energy, and hopefully that will shine. Last night was the first of eight hikes I have planned and am promoting for the rest of the calendar year. Each hike is open-ended in discussion, though I try to focus on a theme per hike.
The inaugural hike was at Lapham Peak, and I wanted to focus on a couple special things I saw in my pre-hike scout. Being the first hike, I wanted to discuss glaciers in general before zooming in closer on things like trees, the Ice Age Trail, and Increase Lapham. Being a teacher AKA lifelong learner, I thoroughly enjoyed leaning tidbits about these topics and sharing them with the hikers who joined me, though I did try to quiz the kids along the way.
At ten minutes before the hike was set to begin, no one had shown up. I already felt bad karma as a young family who was leaving had an unfortunate incident where the youngest child fell and got a nice goose egg on her forehead. lacking any ice, I offered up an ice pack I had brought to keep my daughter's snack cold. Very grateful for my help, the mother of the family noticed my Tyke Hike set up and requested information on future hikes. I guess good deeds do pay off.
However, after that little adventure, 6:00 had arrived with only one family present. However, much to my delight, I hadn't noticed other families scale the tower while I was acting as a medic. By 6:05, a total of 19 hikers were ready to rock and roll.
And rock and roll we did. I was actually quite nervous and I sure I rambled and walked too fast and made mistakes and missed on some great teaching points, but as the hike ended, a very inquisitive young boy who was my sidekick for the majority of the hike let me know he would "definitely be back." So will I.