Thursday, March 10, 2022

On the Peninsula Trail


Here in the Midwest, we're currently wavering between Winter, Part Three and Practice Spring, with temperatures varying anywhere from 35 to 65 depending on the day. 

So one day last week, when the forecast bafflingly called for clear skies and a high in the upper 60s, I declared it Homeschool Field Trip Day. We left our bathroom work crew to go about their day without having to step over or around us every ten minutes and drove out to a spot I've been wanting to visit for years. It's a nature preserve adjacent to million-dollar houses on the shore of one of our nearby lakes, a narrow peninsula that leads a mile straight out, water on both sides of the ridge that you walk along. The parking lot is deliberately pretty small to limit visitors, so despite its beauty it's quiet and fairly unpopulated.

It was the perfect place to spend the day.

It was made clear to me that I apparently spent the entire winter hibernating, because I did not have ANY wind for the unexpectedly steep elevation changes we encountered. I spent most of the hike gasping for air and vowing to get my cardio back on track when, you know, the days are a little more reliably not 40 degrees and raining.

Luna got a little winded, too. 

Good thing the view was so beautiful! Gazing out at the scenery is a great excuse to stop and make sure you're not dying right that second.

My greatest happiness is that my teenagers still bring me awesome rocks to look at.

We have some geology studies that we're VERY low-key working on, so during this field trip I forced the kids to each find three interesting geological things to sketch. 

Will sketched a bluff, and then it was back on our feet for the final leg of our trek!

The trail ended on a dirt beach, with water on three sides and the far lakeshore visible in the distance.

I brought a picnic (that, plus the extra water, hardback book, travel watercolor kit with even more water, and camera might have explained a little bit of my hiking woes...) for us to share, and then I might have had a wee nap while the kids played with Luna, finished their sketches, and also sat quietly to enjoy the day. 

The lake level was very high, I think, so I'll be curious to come back one day in the summer and see what this beach looks like then.

Not gonna lie--the hike back was even tougher!

Will finally took my backpack and gave me Luna, who stopped often enough to sniff stuff that I could save a little face with my rest breaks, and who could generally be relied upon to tow me at least partway up every incline. 

It was a brilliant day, the kind of very early spring adventure that reminds you that yes, pleasant weather IS coming, and full days exploring outdoors will soon be the rule rather than the exception. I think this little hit of Vitamin D will get us through Winter's Last Gasp and into Spring, For Real!

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