outdoors · siblings · slice of life

We drove nearly a half-hour to see a caboose. #SOL21

Oh, what a difference a day makes! Please note that the 47 minutes did not include stand-still times when we waited around for Ari. That was actual MOVING time.

Last year, one of my goals was to go on hikes with my kids. I thought I’d be able to do it by the time I was six months post-op from ankle reconstruction surgery, but I didn’t meet my goal. However, in the mid-fall, I started walking for exercise on flat, paved ground. At first, I was able to do a couple of miles and my pace was terrible. As the weeks passed, my stamina and speed increased. In January, I walked for five miles. And while I haven’t done another five miles since then, I have continued to walk about four miles whenever the weather permits.

Yesterday, I achieved my fastest mile, 17:36 min/mi, since the surgery. (I credit the wind at my back!) So, despite the cold and the wind, I told my husband that I wanted to finally go on a light hike with the kids today. Initially, I picked a park that was 40 minutes from our house, which Marc thought was a bit much considering the cold.

“What about the Enola Low Grade Trail?” I asked him.

He hadn’t heard of it so I filled him in. “It’s on the Susquehanna River near Columbia. Plus, there’s a caboose there.”

Ari LOVES trains so the caboose felt like a good sell on this cold March morning.

We didn’t rally the kids to leave the house until a little after 10. By the time we got to the Enola Low Grade Trail, it was nearly 11 since we made a restroom stop because I avoid porta-potties at all costs!

The caboose is 1/10 of a mile in on the left side of the trail. It was a hit with both of the kids.

But then, it was a lot of river, a lot of rocks, and not much else. To my surprise, Isabelle was excited to walk beside me and kept pace nicely. By the time we were a half-mile into the trail, Ari was lagging behind with Marc. Isabelle and I took off power walking downtown the trail. Eventually, my phone buzzed.

“He’s complaining about all of the walking so we’re sitting on some benches,” Marc told me.

“Okay. We’re almost at the one-mile marker. As soon as we get there, we’ll turn around and head back to you.”

Once Isabelle and I headed back, we heard voices. Seconds later, we saw Ari running towards us.

“I wanna walk to one mile!” Ari told us.

It was probably two-tenths of a mile more for Ari to reach the one-mile marker so the three of us had to convince him to turn back.

Ari continued to walk slowly on the way back to the caboose. I tried a few races between the kids, “There’s the half-mile marker. Let’s see who can reach it first!” and “There’s the signal house. Who will be the first one there?” These things moved Ari forward, but it was slow-going back to the car. At one point, Marc carried him until I told him to “Make sure Ari’s train has oil, give him a boiler treatment, and keep moving.” (Yes, I’ve been faced with Ari not walking quickly around our neighborhood before. These things have worked for me since I’m not in the shape to carry a four-year-old child in my arms.)

Despite the kvetching from Ari, we’re going to keep doing family walks. Perhaps we need to bring a stroller for the way back next time so we don’t have to cut our walk short. Or snacks. Or maybe a stroller and snacks!

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20 thoughts on “We drove nearly a half-hour to see a caboose. #SOL21

  1. I like slow walks so I may observe the surroundings and have time to take pictures so I like your story. Doing what he is doing now, Ari will also like walks for a very long time. Walk on!

  2. Just like many of us when faced with a task that seems daunting, breaking it up into smaller goals gets everyone to the finish. You inspire me with your walking and your problem solving.

  3. You are impressive post-surgery! 4 or 5 miles at a time! Way to go! Sounds like you all had a great time together. My nephew would have loved to see the caboose too. 🙂

    1. Oh, I feel like I left out a detail. It was a flat, gravel path. That said, I couldn’t have done it even nine months ago so it felt good to achieve this. Hoping to get onto a real trail this summer!

    1. I’m planning to take the kids to Philly to do a goat walk this spring. Ari LOVES goats so I have a feeling he’ll be more excited when he has a four-legged friend alongside him.

  4. Hiking with kids is such an experience. I’m pretty sure I only remember the good moments of it until I get out on the trail, but that’s what keeps me going back. We recently moved within walking distance of a large park with tons of trails and a large lake. It’s been mostly cold and snowy since we moved in so I cannot wait to get out and walk at the park today. I’m sure it will lead to some sliceable moments!

  5. I love the idea of walks and hiking with the whole family. A very cool caboose! Great day! The photos are always a plus with your small moment stories! I took long walks in the woods with my grandfather. When I was five, my grandparents had a cottage at Lake Wallenpaupack. We walked up the mountain while my grandfather named the different trees and birds. It was a shame that my sisters and I never did these things with our mom and dad. Isabelle and Ari are lucky to have you and Marc. You are incredible!

  6. My son, our youngest, is always trying to avoid walks too! We have to trick him into joining us, then we have to trick him into going just a bit farther. He’s 8! LOL But I keep pushing. I don’t even bother on super cold days though.

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