No Nature Deficit in Athens, OH

One more day in Athens, OH.

Lenny and I joined the Athens, OH, Sunday morning hiking group with our younger granddaughter, Isa. It’s an informal family hiking group, which, surprisingly, attracts hikers without children.

So Lenny, Isa and I arrived at the meeting point, Sells Park, ten minutes before the start time, just like we do with Carolina Mountain Club. Only two women were waiting. Since they didn’t have children in tow, we were sure that they weren’t part of the group.

At exactly ten o’clock, a small army of adults, children and dogs came around the corner, ready to hike.

A newborn girl, seven weeks old, was nestled in her mother’s bosom. A couple of rambunctious six-year old boys informed me that “we’re going to look for treasures in these caves”.

Isa and her four-year old girl friend did their best to keep up with the boys. Two tweens were talking up and down the line. And two dogs chased each other, back and forth, on the trail.

Sells Park is an intown park, off the main shopping street, with lots of trails. Not really wilderness, but neither is Bent Creek in Asheville. According the signs at the trailhead, the land was donated to the Federal Government. But what was the national park service going to do with this small piece of land? Thirty years later, they gave to the city of Athens. The result is a bunch of trails and some intriguing rock formations.

Each Sunday, the group walks for about two hours, mostly in Sells park but it sometimes ventures further. After an hour, the folks with children decided to turn back. The unattached adults sped up. We continued another twenty minutes before we headed back.

No nature deficit disorder here. Maybe most of these kids will go on to more challenging hiking, as they get older.

Wonderful group… OK. I wasn’t enamored by the dogs. I was concerned that they would run down the small kids, but I have to get over it. Lenny and I will be back.

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