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Everybody loves the hiking backpack!

We’ve been having nicer weather the past few weeks, which means it’s time to meander out in the woods. The last several springs, we’ve been sticking to the same trails. We know where the morels and the ramps grow, and we know how far the kids can go before they start getting tired. This time though, we decided to try something different.

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In the Morgan-Monroe state part near our house, there are a couple of orienteering courses which is something both Jack and I enjoyed doing when we were younger. So, Jack got the kids excited about learning to use a compass by challenging them to a treasure hunt with the promise of pirate booty at the end.
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At the first sign of warm weather, we loaded up the van with lunch, water, compasses, and walking sticks and headed to the forest. We decided to try the shorter, easier trail first. Jack took the time to explain how to orienteer–reading the compass, finding the marker, judging the distances. When everyone was comfortable with their budding skills, they split into teams and took off.

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Learning to chart a course over a picnic lunch.
It took a couple of hours for everyone to find all the markers, mostly because the trail we were supposed to be following was challenging to follow. Without the contrast of green foliage and a dirt path to follow, there were spots where we struggled. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a little struggle. It was a lesson in not panicking when things got hard, to sit and take a breath when we’re frustrated, and to get up and try again when we’d rather quit. In the end, we all finished and because of the challenge, felt more pride in our accomplishment.
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It’s hard being the baby in the backpack.
At a shelter, we stopped to regroup, have lunch, and learn a few more compass skills, then we were back on the trail. Down a winding path, there was a vernal pond that was swamped with green frogs, all croaking and singing because they were as sick of the gray skies and winter chill as we were.
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When we weary from walking all day, we loaded back in the van and ended the expedition with Jack’s pirate booty (a.k.a. candy) and a trip to get shaved ice. The warm weather and sunshine were such a blessing and we enjoyed learning a new skill (and having a refresher on how to orienteer) while spending the day together. Certainly looking forward to more time in the forest and seeing where adventure might lead us next.
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Our budding family
 

Welcome to the farm!

True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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