Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hiking with nine, it can be done!

Today's post is a guest post by Debi at Who Says Eight is Enough?. She took her kids on a hike in the dead (and judging by lack of birds and anything green, I mean that in the literal sense) of winter in Eastern PA and managed to have a good time while being reminded that having a backpack with a change of clothes and more diapers than you ever thought you would need is always a must while hiking with toddlers. I think her idea of a scavenger hunt is a fantastic idea because it opens up children's eyes and helps the spot things they might never notice in the great outdoors. So with further adoo, I give you Debi and her nine kids hike:

I've always been a planner by nature. I kind-of had to be, what with 9 kids and all, but as of late, I have let that obsessive part of me go a bit, which has mostly ended in things being much more easy going in our household... until it isn't ;)
So, when my husband, Russ, and I decided to take a trip to Pennsylvania with our kids to possibly purchase our new home, we decided that if it was a nice day we would take a hike somewhere in the Appalachian mountains.
As it turns out, it wasn't a nice day, but we decided that we would take a hike anyway. We needed something affordable to do with the kids for the afternoon....
Lucky for us, in the very town where we may be moving, there happens to be a trail that runs along the Schuylkill river and cuts right through the mountain side.
So, we set off down the path with 9 kids, a double stroller, a camera and nothing else*.
*I say this now as you will understand the irony later

To keep the kids busy, Russ and I decided to have them go on a scavenger hunt of sorts, which basically entailed us shouting out things for them to look for. We started with them trying to find a nest. Seems easy enough, right? But in the dead of winter, when all of the branches are brown and twisted, it was actually quite difficult and took the kids at least 20 minutes to locate one.

While walking along searching, we did see some really lovely sites and made us realize just how nice this trail will be once spring hits the area.

The second thing we asked the kids to look for was scat. This gave all the kids a good laugh while they began searching for animal poo. Of course, this wasn't all that hard to find, considering the trails can be used by horses, so we actually nearly stepped in horse scat quite a few times ;)
So, to make things at bit more difficult, Russ decided to ask the kids to look for new growth...
Of course, the younger kids weren't even sure what he meant, so once Russ explained, they were off hunting...
and hunting...
and hunting....
Although Russ and I kept telling them to look down in the ground, beneath the leaves, they all insisted on looking up on the mountainside.
And, where did they find the new growth, you ask?
Down on the ground.
Under some leaves.
I told them so :)

Next we asked the kids to look for a bird, any type, not realizing just how impossible that task would be in the dead of winter in Pennsylvania. LOL So the kids gave up looking and begged and begged us to let them climb up the mountain.
Finally we saw an area that looked safe enough and I shouted out, "First one up to the top gets a dollar!"
And they were off!

(can I just say that I love that a dollar will still get my kids excited)
And, while the big kids were working their way up and down the mountainside, the twins were sitting comfortably in their stroller...

Or so we thought....
The bigger kids got down from the mountain and were all excited and arguing about who made it up first when all of the sudden, Emma cried out and threw up all over herself and the stroller!
And, this is where it gets "good"...
You might remember that I said I brought nothing but the kids, the stroller and the camera? Well, so much for all of those years as a Cub Scout Den Leader! Be Prepared.... I was not!
We had to strip poor Emma down to her cloth diaper, wrapped her in my daughter Stephanie's sweater and we called it a day.

Although our afternoon ended in a vomit covered stroller, for the most part, it was a fun and affordable afternoon with the kids and if nothing else, lesson learned... Be Prepared for ANYTHING when hiking with 9 kids :)

And so you see- if she and her husband can take a hike with nine kids you certainly can get out there with yours too! And when you do, take lots of pictures and write me a post because I would love to have you!


debi9kids said...

Thanks for having me Shar :)
I promise, when the leaves actually start to sprout and the flowers are in bloom, I will do a prettier guest post.

Terri said...

Looks like a great trail. Can't wait to see pictures of the kids there in the Spring when there is actually other life form!

Deanna said...

WOW...what a great trail Debi!!! Sorry to hear about Emma...awww...pooor sweetie!!

Nicole said...

My kids have been begging me all winter to go hiking! I told them they have to wait until it gets nicer out. We love being outdoors and exploring. Great guest post!

The Corradetti Clan said...

That trail is going to be beauty in the spring. Looks like the kids love it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we are sitting here in snow covered winter wonderland still. Brown is one step closer to spring! I love the scavenger hunt idea.

Angela & Albert Fontenot said...

Love your blog Shar! So cool that Debi was your "guest blogger". Hope everything is going well for you...I miss you a lot!

Helene said...

Okay, okay...if she can do it with NINE children, I can certainly do it with four, right? I love the idea of a scavenger hunt to keep it fun and adventurous!!!

This was a fun post to read!!

Alisha said...

Looks like Debi had fun with her kids ... minus the puke part! :S

BenLand said...

scavenger hunt?@!!why didn't i ever think of that????!!! that's sure to keep my 4yr old entertained!
what a beautiful family :o)

~Colleen, PA

BenLand said...

scavenger hunt?@!!why didn't i ever think of that????!!! that's sure to keep my 4yr old entertained!
what a beautiful family :o)

~Colleen, PA