On Monday, my younger grandson, Jared, and his Webelo Scouting group took advantage of the day off from school to take a 3-mile hike on the trail along the north side of Wolf River through Shelby Farms. Monday was a workday for my son and his wife, so Jared and his older brother, Sam, were spending the day with me. Since we were taking Jared to the hiking site, Sam, (motivated by a new Fitbit step counter) and I decided we would take the hike, too.
Although it was a cold day with a strong wind, once we got on the trail the trees sheltered us so that the hiking temperature was quite pleasant. Sam and I let the scout group pace us (the leader pointed out the difference between a hike and a stroll), but we let them get far enough ahead that our conversation did not provide a distraction.
At the halfway point, the scouts stopped to eat the healthful lunch they had packed. Sam and I started the return trip while the scouts ate, so we had some extra time to stop along the way to talk about things we saw. Sam borrowed my cellphone to take some pictures of the things that interested him, like this tree branch arching across the trail.
Crossing one of the nice concrete bridges on the trail, Sam spotted this wooden structure and we theorized a bit on what it might have been. Maybe a support left from an older bridge?
This "on the trail" time yielded an unexpected benefit for me, real conversation with my grandson. The world seemed to slow down while we were on the trail. We talked about some mushrooms we saw on a log, debated about the identity of a thorny, evergreen vine, and examined the curious bark of a tall sycamore tree. For awhile my sports enthusiast grandson was all about nature. Nice!