Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back from Vacation!

Well, it seems it has been a while since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write. We’ve been a little busy – preparing and enjoying a wonderful vacation in the absolutely beautiful mountains of West Virginia. We went for the first family reunion in over 40 years. We had never thought about vacationing in West Virginia, although we do love to vacation in the mountains. (With all of the flat land and ocean around us, the mountains always seem like the perfect place to get away from the ordinary!) The scenery and the wildlife was especially beautiful and we truly had loads of fun! Of course, in our family, salamanders seem to be especially high on the must-do list and we were overwhelmed by the great number and variety of salamanders we found on this trip. (I often wonder if when my 6 y/o son grows up a little more, just what will we do on vacation to fill our time!) My husband and I have always loved to go hiking and our children have been full of whines whenever we attempt hiking! On this trip though, there were absolutely no whines! We took a 3 mile hike with a naturalist DOWN the mountain and across the Bluestone River. When we were finished, we took an aerial tram back up. Along the way, we found over 52 salamanders, 1 box turtle, 5 millipedes, 2 snails and numerous bids and deer. When we reached the Bluestone River and had to walk across, boy were we surprised! I had assured the children that the water would only be ankle deep or so. Boy, was I wrong. It was mid-thigh on the adults, which meant over the waist on our two children. It was a blast, and after the initial shock of the cold we had great fun trying to walk through the swift moving river without losing our balance on the rocky bottom and ending up swimming our way across. By the end of the day, both children told us that they were beginning to really like walking in the woods! There couldn’t be better music to our ears and there was never another complaint all week long. Of course, when your favorite past time is salamander hunting, it can take hours to hike even 1 mile through the mountains! So much for speed hiking! I am sure as the children get older and their legs get longer and their interest change, we can gradually increase speed and distance. For now, I am just thrilled that hikes in the woods are no longer a burden but a source of joy to all of us!

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