Thursday, April 2, 2015

Half marathon stroll

This week is spring break for E. He and I briefly contemplated a mom-son road-trip, but work got in the way of any overnight stays. That didn't keep us from finding adventure closer to home, though. Yesterday morning we set out with our friend A to walk as far south as we could on the American Tobacco Trail.

The first part of the walk took us through A's neighborhood as we made our way to the trail. We spied evidence of earlier human life forms.

It took us a whopping 27 minutes to get to the trail because we were engaged in profound philosophical discussions about squirrels. E observed that they expend a lot of energy burying and digging up acorns, while A felt sorry for them because they don't get to eat things like Oreos or breath mints. Once we made it to the trail, we had to take a 10 minute break on a bench for a snack.

Although assorted wildflowers were starting to bloom along the trail, the most interesting plants we saw were mosses.

One of the advantages of walking rather than biking was that we noticed things we'd never noticed before--like this dilapidated log cabin.

Here's a fascinating fact: when one boy finds a good stick, the other boy must find one too. A's stick doubled usefully as a baseball bat for the pinecones E pitched at him following the much needed Second Snack (after which both kids immediately inquired about lunch plans). Playing pineconeball helped ensure that we didn't exceed the zippy 1.75 mph speed limit we had established in the first hour.

Around mile 4, we took a half-hour break to play in a park next to the trail. After that, A made it another impressive 2.5 miles before tuckering out. We phoned his papa, who met us in a Krogers parking lot. There, we traded A for his older sister K and some Oreos, and our merry band continued on its way. We crossed over the interstate and waved at drivers, who waved back.

We came across a large patch of clover, which led the kids to ponder, "what would the world be like if four-leafed clovers were common, and three-leafed clovers were rare? Would that change St. Patrick's Day decorations?"

We passed a swampy pool that looked like the byproduct of a construction project, and thought about the pioneer turtles who managed not only to find the pool but also to find similarly pioneering mates therein.

We walked and walked and walked, and then we walked some more.

Around mile 9.5, after we were halfway into our second package of Fig Newmans, E realized we had exactly enough cookies left for each person to eat one per mile before mile 13. This became an important incentive. "See that sign up there?," K said encouragingly, "It says mile 10.5. There you shall get your Fig Newman!"

To make the Fig Newmans last, the kids made do with Oreos at mile 10. "What do you call it when the decorated side of the chocolate wafer is facing the icing, and the flat side is facing out?" The wrong Oreo-ntation.

Just before mile 11, we crossed into Chatham County.

The southernmost 8.8 miles of the ATT will have to wait for another day. At 4:30, we phoned K's dad and told him we'd meet him at 5pm at Pittard Sears Road (roughly mile 13.2), which forced us to keep up our afternoon's average 3 mph pace.

"Pittard Sears" strikes me as an odd name for a road. The internets aren't terribly forthcoming with an explanation of why anyone would name a road "Pittard Sears." However, in my Googling, I did come across a site that says "Pittard Sears Rd has high hail risk, which is higher than average for the majority of North Carolina." That's pretty useful to know, even if it seemed pretty safe there yesterday when we finished our walk.

1 comment:

Robin Magee said...

Glorious! A great reminder for me that there are adventures to be had right here.