Monday, August 18, 2008

Evening Hike

We hadn't been to Rocky River in a long while and The Last Child in the Woods kinda weighs on me even though I've never read it, so Anna and I took the kids for an evening hike. As we walked, we realized that we hadn't been in ages and wondered why. It seemed like we only tend to go there in the spring and fall and somehow skip the summertime. The undergrowth was wild and unruly and there was poison ivy everywhere, which we kept shrieking at the kids to step away from. Bastian did, in the end, walk right into some, and I rubbed him and his shoes down with rubbing alcohol and bathed them and gave him rhus tox as soon as we got home. Nothing developed. Of course, now I've read in National Goegraphic magazine that poisony ivy (which, thanks to global warming is becoming more and more prevalent) usually doesn't produce a rash upon the first exposure. Apparently, the body recognizes the oil with subsequent exposures and acts against it in the form of a nasty rash that spreads. Great. Sounds to me like the chicken pox/shingles phenomenon which I learned all about when the kids had pox.
An initial exposure is necessary to "sensitize" the patient; In other words, you get "one free pass". A subsequent exposure will result in an allergic reaction if the plant oil remains in contact with the skin for as little as 10 to 15 miniutes. The resulting rash begins after a 12 to 48 hour delay and persists for about two weeks up to four weeks or longer.
Great, in looking up that bit, I also disovered this gem:
The entire plant, except the pollen, is toxic throughout the year, even during the winter months when the branches and stems are leafless.

As always, first thing is first, the children giggle and squeal excitedly at seeing one another, followed by running far off down the trail and immediately climbing the wall and nearly plunging to their deaths (though not really).
Aleks and Jonas hopped down from the wall and immediately started trying to go straight up the gigantic staircase to the top of the ridge. We reminded them that this was far too exhausting for us old ladies and that we preferred the long way around. Thus, down they came.
Anna found a dead cicada which Aleks carried around for a bit and everyone examined. They're all really into bugs, or er, entymology. Last year, Aleks was really into cicadas in particular and carried a million of their shed exoskeletons around in a plastic baggy. I think I finally disposed of that this past winter as it was, um, quite gross, really.
After climbing the somewhat tall staircase on the other side of the ridge, the kids found another cicada carcass and examined the two corpses side by side.
The kids took a different route than usual and along a mystery path that cut straight through the wood, we noticed all these downed trees. We think there must have been a wood-boring insect of some sort to kill so many. I do know from last falls' leaf collection that there are lots of Ash trees here, so it may have been the Banded Ash Borer.
Bastian wouldn't let me up onto the viewing platform. He claimed it for his own as though he were King of the Wood.
Anna distracted the children from whining with this seed fluff. I like the idea of these being fairies.
The boys grabbed sticks to hunt the poor dear, though.
At last we reached the summit.
It seemed some earth had fallen away since our last visit. The board did not look substantial enough to hold back someone heavy. Scared me a bit.
After all, the fall is probably several hundred feet. The boys, especially Bastian for being so short, tend to climb too high on the fence, which also makes me nervous.
Coming down the tremendously steep staircase, which also makes me nervous, especially as Aleks walks straight down rather quickly without holding onto the railing, I spotted a muskrat off in the pond. Once down, I took the boys to the edge of the pond to point it out more clearly and had to explain what a rodent is.
Walking past the nature center towards the parking lot, they spotted another interesting bug.
Another, albeit smaller, assassin bug. Or possibly a leaf-footed bug. I'm very confused about bug identification. Will have to submit my photos to the
After our lovely hike and some fussing about parting, I took Aleks and Bastian for ice cream, which we all enjoyed very much and got us all tuckered out for a bath and bedtime once we arrived home. All in all, a lovely evening.

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