wife had to take the newborn to the doc, and left me with the other one for a good long time today. since i'm heading back to school, well, having meetings tomorrow and downhill from there, i had to get her out of the house. so i took her out to my favorite local trails at alley park. so i took her out there, a lovely place that starts with a lake, and our destination was the other pond out there too (she loves watching the water) not far in, we stumbled across sassafras (my favorite nibble in the woods.) she wasn't a fan of the smell of the root, but she enjoyed the taste of the leaves. i'd love to also point out her water bottle carrier-she wanted to be like daddy, so i took my long paracord from my pocket, fold it in thirds, and did figure 8 on a bight at each end to hook on the carbiner of her bottle. she was proud to carry that herself! she started her usual thing of collecting rocks and nuts....but she was pocketless today! so, to the rescue was daddy's (clean) hanky. a knot in two opposite corners, then tie the other two together for a handle. i find it small, but it was a perfect size for a gathering bag for her for the day. i love her sharp eyes-as we were walking back up the trail, she saw this and asked, "what's that daddy?" i first let her know i was proud of her for noticing, and then said that i think it's called rattlesnake plantain. i'm trying to teach her that we don't touch plants or mushrooms if we don't know what they are. she's always looking down though! we talked about different kinds of ground-sand, clay, dirt (simpler than loam) plus noticing mushrooms, wanting to feel moss (asking first though) love it-takes after me! just a cute pic.... and then i found something for her, to help her be even more like daddy.... got it trimmed down to size, and used a piece of paracord lark's headed on to the stick for a wrist strap (like daddy) personalized it for her too. (first initial-another fun conversation we had, since she's never heard of initials before, and saw some letters carved on a tree) she's proud of her very special stick! she loved the discovery of our hidden pond destination. we talked, and she told me about frogs and fish and turtles that probably live in there, and we spent some time watching the dragonflies. across the trail was a beautiful meadow area with tons of butterflies (which, of course, she loves) so that made this destination EVEN BETTER. we headed back, a slightly different trail. she was starting to get tired, so she did have me carry her a time or two-of course, those times were when we headed up hill! but it helped her recover, and so she was ready to go! especially with her walking stick and using it to help push her up the hills. i do have to say, though, that this little girl is a magnet for poison ivy! i was keeping my eyes open, and putting myself or my stick between her and the itchy plant since she wasn't paying attention (i also haven't taught her yet, since, as a 4 year old, she'll try to point at it and will probably touch it) we talked about needing to avoid it to keep ourselves safe, and she said, "daddy, then we'd just use your jewels weed." love this little sponge! she recovered on the way back, since more was downhill. so we had to explore the covered bridge before we left. the best part was when i asked her if she had fun-"daddy, your good idea was a great idea! we should do this again!" she tromped at least a mile, possibly closer to two miles, up and down hill. this picture shows me what a mini-me she's becoming! love our times like this-i'll have to dress her stick up, and make some other stuff for her to make us even more similar! anyways, thanks for coming along again everyone. hope you enjoy reading it even half as much as i enjoyed being out there with her.