I hike a lot. So when Robin told me that, she and JC were going over to Illinois for a day-hike, I was not a bit envious. After all, I hike to the mailbox and back everyday. I hike from the parking lot into Soup Dumpling on a regular basis. I hike from my computer to the kitchen several times a day. Often I hike around the deck at my farm. Yes, there’s no doubt about it, I’m hiker.
Shawnee National Forest a.k.a. Little Grand Canyon
I quizzed my daughter about her trip to the national forest in Murphysboro, Illinois, near Carbondale. I asked what they were taking along to eat. In my mind, I pictured a lovely picnic like one might’ve spread in the French countryside a hundred years ago.
I envisioned a pastoral scene with a damask cloth and matching napkins cast upon the ground. A pleasant outing, where one would partake of an aged Bordeaux sipped from a crystal goblet while nibbling on a crusty baguette, a tin of herring, and an exquisite pastry.
She said no. The hiking menu was energy bars, Mississippi River tap water, and fruit.
I was disappointed, but I didn’t let on.
“I might like to go with you,” I said fictitiously. “Hmm. . . that would be fun,” she said, in an equally fictitious tone. “But it might be a few too many miles for you.”
“Well,” I said, “I recall that our Native American ancestors carried the elderly on their backs, when they hit the trail.” She rolled her eyes. “Not gonna do that. These packs are heavy enough.”
A Mother’s Advice for the Trail
It was a brisk morning with a little snap in the air as they made their way to the car. I threw them virtual hugs and kisses as I shifted into my maternal mode.
“Be sure to wear a mask,” I cautioned. You never know who you’ll come face to face with nowadays. A lot of those “14-day-isolated CO-VID-ians” are walking around in the woods. Besides that, I think I heard Dr. Fauci say that trees and rocks can emit the virus.”
More eye rolling.
“Whatever you do, be sure to stay six feet away from any suspicious trees or rocks,” I shouted after them. “Same for ticks and poison ivy. . . and don’t forget the hand sanitizer and the Clorox wipes. Have a good time—and wear warm socks.”