On the way back from running errands, I convinced Aleks that we should go to Shaker Lakes instead of Turtle Park because we were passing it and it was far more interesting and more shady. I already got sunburnt once this week.
First we stopped and examined some large black ants that were running about on some tree roots. Bastian had one on his hand for awhile and it crawled up his arm and down the front of his shirt. Eventually we lost him and couldn't figure out where he'd gone. They moved too quickly to even photograph.
Then Aleks tried to catch fish with a stick, as he is wont to do whenever we go on nature hikes or get near bodies of water. This time, there were lots of fish. A whole school of them trying to make it through the shallows and failing, but making lots of jumping noises. Whenever we approached, however, the fish fled.
You can sort of see some of them in this picture, if you enlarge it. I had trouble even getting the boys to be able to see them because they kept swimming off, scared by our shadows and noise.
Aleks used his fishing stick to scare some ladies on the bridge above, being a Trip Trap Troll.
Bastian joined in the scaring of the fish as well.
Aleks turned over a big rock to see if anything was living beneath it. There wasn't anything at all. Perhaps it's not warm enough yet, or maybe it's a bad spot, but there were no bugs, no salamanders, no worms or spiders, nada.
Trout lilies in bloom:
The ladies on the troll bridge were talking about all the signs of deer they saw. We found some tracks too:
Bastian examines a tree tag, identifying the tree as a sugar maple.
And of course, they like to climb on all the walls, just like last time:
Aleks and I spot a bat box up on a tree. I tried to look inside to see if there were any bats, but couldn't see any as it was dark in there. Aleks suggested using a flashlight, but I told him I didn't want to disturb them, not to mention that I didn't have a flashlight on me at the time. Now that I think about it though, the bats wouldn't have been able to perceive the light anyway. I explained how they come out at night and eat bugs and he warned against vampire bats. I told him that vampire bats live in warmer climates.
We trekked our way all the way to the lean tos beyond where the path ends. These have been changing and growing for many years now. This one used to be open. Aleks tried to find a way in, but couldn't. He concluded, however, that there were no animals asleep inside.
We visited the lean-tos several years ago as well, when Heather had more hair and Aleks was just 3:
Here are the remains of former lean-tos, now destroyed, presumably to construct bigger better structures:
Bastian headed back to the creek, trying to move a branch many times his size.
Aleks found some moss floating in the water.
The biggest, most recent lean-to sits at the far end of the park, just a hundred or so yards from the road.
The boys look inside.
Aleks crawls through a hole and up to the top.
The whole park is covered in tiny bits of green, flecked amidst the brown of dead leaves and the wood of trees and fallen limbs.
Bastian digs around inside the rotting log with a stick. The inside is turned nearly to dust and surely many bugs live and eat within.
Aleks and I find more evidence of deer: poop.
The boys head back again to the creek to explore some more.
Bastian climbs right in.
It reminds me of right after Bastian was born, when Aleks was the age Bastian is now, and his father somehow let him climb right into the pond at a reserve in Geauga County where we were attending a home birth families picnic. I believe, in fact, that they were wearing the exact same shoes in both of these instances.
I point out a tree growing entirely sideways. It's near one of the dismantled lean-tos, so it might have once been a supporting portion, possibly resulting in this odd angle.
The boys, of course, decide to ride it.
A rare photo of all three of us together.