Children in the Woods

On top of Big Glassy
On top of Big Glassy

Thanksgiving is over and all my guests have gone home. We ate, shopped and hiked.

Saturday, Lenny and I took Hannah and Isa to Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. You remember Carl Sandburg from  your high school English class. He’s probably best known for his Lincoln biographies and his cutesy poems:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

No. Well, never mind. Carl and Lillian Sandburg spent about 20 years on an estate in Flat Rock. When he died, Mrs. Sandburg sold the property to the National Park Service. Today, visitors can hike 1.2 miles to the top of Big Glassy Mountain with a great view of the surroundings. While Hannah and Lenny strided out, five-year old Isa and I walked, talked and sang our way to the top. She didn’t complain or say she couldn’t do it. Both girls know that when they visit, they’ll go hiking with us. They look forward to it.

We passed and were passed by adult hikers, runners and dog walkers but no other child. Where were they all? After a snack, we ran down and took a side trail to Little Glassy. We didn’t realize that Little Glassy didn’t have a view. We blew right past it and we were back at the Sandburg home and visitor center.

That’s where most of the visitors had congregated. The children and their adults were listening to music, played with toys at the bookstore and generally hung around. Why weren’t they on the trail?

2141130CARLgoats 006A
At the goat paddock

We wandered to the goat barn and fields. Lots of children were petting goats and playing tag. There were plenty of children in the national parks, but they could have been on a farm.

Mrs. Sandburg was a goat breeder and the park still maintains a few goats for the historic feel of the place.

On Sunday, our son and family all headed back on the road and Lenny and I went on the half-day Carolina Mountain Club hike in Pisgah National Forest.

Caney Creek Falls
Caney Bottom Falls

Five-year old Cameron and his dad, Jacob, came along for this five-mile hike. Cameron had his arm in a sling, but he was very happy to skip along with twenty other adults. Jacob has been taking Cameron on CMC hikes for years. We all remembered when Jacob carried Cameron in a backpack. Now he was on the trail with a bunch of adults.

So the moral of the story is:

Children will be in the woods if adults are willing to take them.

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