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Bike, Canoe, Swim, Bike

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We had such a great active day it was like a pre-kids day. We started off with a bike ride around town, just me, Clark, and Tabby.  A few days ago we went for a longer ride around town and it was quite a milestone for Clark-his first biking on the street.  You see, we live in an area that experienced bicyclists love-beautiful views of fields and farms and nature, and swooping winding hilly roads.  All year long people in matching Lycra outfits go zipping past our house on our hilly no shoulder narrow road.  Well bully for them, but guess what? These roads suck for a kid trying to learn how to ride a bike.  So it has been a long process because it has always involved getting in a car and taking bikes somewhere and we don’t drive a minivan or a big suv so that’s been a problem too.  After the confidence boosting Duke Farms ride last weekend we thought we’d give it a try and Clark did very well, save for needing to work on really being a more predictable rider and strictly staying on our side.  So we had a very nice easy ride around town this morning and even made it up our hill (no easy feat towing 50lbs behind me!)
Then we went canoeing. Much like the “then we went biking” statement from last weekend this actually involved a ridiculous amount of prepwork and frustration.  However, much internet searching and we discovered a secret hidden tow hook on our car! Paul finished installing our new roof rack and we were on our way.  I think the kids did pretty well sitting in the canoe for a couple hours. We didn’t stop and swim (we did a different section of the river).  The real highlight of this trip was the great blue heron and snowy egret that followed us down the river.  I couldn’t believe how close they would let us get to them, then they’d gently lift up into the air, fly 20 yards ahead and wait until we were even with them before flying ahead again.
Our friend, the great blue heron
 I wish I had amazing photos, but I really don’t. I didn’t feel comfortable bringing the fancy zoom, the canoe was somewhat unstable, and we were floating. But trust me, it was beautiful.  We also saw a couple turtles and some really interesting blackish/brownish water type birds (Paul said cormorants? but aren’t they ocean birds?)
Our friend, the great blue heron
When we got home I took the kids swimming next door, and then after dinner we all went for another bike ride! Phew! I’m pooped. I’m sorry to report that again Tabby tried hard to spoil some of these activities with whining and crying, but hey let’s not dwell on that. Instead, check out this raft that someone had built on the river. The flotation part is made out of Gatorade bottles!! What a cool repurposed project!

 Check out this cool raft we saw-made out of Gatorade bottles!

 *Update: Checking in with our field guides at home it turns out that we did see cormorants and we also saw a Belted Kingfisher. I didn’t even know they lived around here. I also forgot to mention that we also saw a lovely little fawn checking us out from the bank.


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

4 responses »

  1. Your pictures of the heron are beautiful! Cormorants aren’t necessarily ocean birds, just water birds. They like salt water and fresh water. So that very well may have been what you saw!

    • We looked them up in a field guide and it turns out that yes! they were indeed cormorants. We also saw a belted kingfisher and I didn’t even realize they lived around us. So that was pretty cool.

  2. Wow, this is really cool! I so admire your ability to do all these outdoorsy activities. I like gardening, but for me biking or canoeing would really push me way out of my comfort zone. I also love your honesty about how it is to plan and do activities with growing kids (who aren’t always in a cooperative mood).

    • Thanks Anne 🙂 Indeed the kids are not always cooperative. In the midst of this day, though, I said to Paul that I feel like we have finally reached a time where the kids are old enough that we are able to suddenly do a bunch of family activities that I’ve looked forward to us doing for years. And sure, there are tons of awesome campers and hikers and whatnot with their babies out in the woods and rafting and stuff, but that was just not really for us. So we’re pretty excited that Clark can ride his bike and they can both swim and we can do stuff.


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