This morning, the girlies and I took their bikes and the dog over to a small nearby lake with a walking trail around it. I've been resisting the idea, because the last time we went was a couple of years ago - it was hot, they were little and they did walk the whole way, but not without a lot of whining. I was not sure it would be any better this time, even with their bikes, but they really wanted to go and take Toby, and my sister encouraged me that sometimes we just need to bite the bullet and actually pack up and leave the house for these kinds of things.
We stopped and bought cheap bread and store-brand cereal, with which to feed the birds. We saw a Great Blue Heron several times, once up close enough to see his black cap. We saw lots of geese and gulls, and some mallard ducks - even a swan. We saw lots of turtles, too; big ones, medium-sized and little ones, all stacked up on each other on the logs, enjoying the sunshine. We even met another lady with a little dog who made friends with Toby, and they got in the water and then rolled in the sand with great delight. They were completely disgusting when they got done, but they certainly enjoyed themselves!
I was kicking myself for leaving the camera in the car, especially when we saw the heron, and then when the geese would eat out of our hands. But, we'll go back, hopefully with grandparents, and take pictures then.
The trail is 2 miles long, I think, and I was not sure how the girls would do - they ride their bikes with me sometimes when I walk in our neighborhood, but it's very hilly and they have a hard time pedaling the whole way. They are getting better every time, of course, but still, this was twice as far. They did great! It's a relatively flat trail, until about the last 3/4 mile - I did have to push them a little bit up one long incline, but mostly I just had to try to keep up with them.
It was a great morning. We were there for almost 2 hours! School today turned into nature study at the park, and we will have to buckle down for the rest of the week to get our work done, but it was well worth it. We even saw an old friend there who walks the trail at least a couple of times a week, and we might start joining her for the exercise. We are all very glad we went.