I decided to combine our hiking trips with "Letterboxing". We were so excited to find our first one; I think we were all jumping up and down in the middle of the trail!
Let's see... we went to a "new" park that we hadn't explored yet. We found our letterbox. We hiked up the canyon. We played on the playground. And then, we spent an hour "tadpoling". The littles had so much catching the little tadpoles and we brought a bunch home to watch turn into frogs. We'll release any frogs that grow up back at the same stream.
I found it pretty sad though that another mother at the park turned to me as her kids ventured down to the creek and asked something along the lines of "do you know if there are any mosquitoes or things that will bite them or anything like that in the water?" It's just depressing to me that as a society so many people have become disconnected with nature that they don't feel comfortable letting their kids roll up their jeans and splash around in a creek to catch tadpoles and crawdads and whatever else they can find. There's a time for protectiveness (I'm extremely anal about helmets for example) of course, but I think a lot of people have a tendency to take it too far and they lose out on a lot. This is something that I really want for my children, for them to be comfortable in our world, to learn about it so they can grow up loving it and wanting to protect it. I just find it so refreshing when my children turn to me and remark on things like how awesome of job God did when he made peacock feathers because they're so amazing and beautiful, or that "this is going to be my new hobby whenever we're near water!" - this kind of delight in their surroundings is truly part of the summer spirit to me.
Pix tomorrow. I'm ready to crash.