This just might be my last official Field Trip Friday for the summer. Sniff. Because school is starting up in just over a week and we’re heading to Florida to take a sort of family vacation before it’s officially back to the grindstone.
Have you ever noticed how summer goes? For me, anyway, it’s something like this:
JUNE: Yay! School’s out! No more packing lunches! No more alarms in the morning!
JULY: I can’t help it if you’re bored. That sounds like YOUR problem, not mine. Why don’t you go outside and play?
AUGUST: Where did the summer go? I don’t want my baby to leave me!
I know other moms are probably doing a happy dance and I will appreciate more guilt-free time to work, but for now, I’m going to focus on squeezing a little bit more fun out of the rest of the summer.
Now that THAT’S out of the way, let me tell you about what we did last week and why it almost didn’t happen and will take a miracle for it to happen again.
My friend Cara (who has a very high energy daughter close to Evan’s age) asked if she could join us on our field trip adventure. I put the burden on her of asking what she wanted to do and she came up with a bike ride on the NCR Trail.
What I heard was: Do you wanna figure out how that new bike rack works and ask your husband if you can use his car since it’s the only once with a tow hitch and drag your child out to a place you’ve never been to hear him whine about the heat and the physical exercise?
So I was hesitant. And then my husband said YOU SHOULD DO IT. So we did.
The NCR Trail, which is officially now known as the Torrey C. Brown Trail, stands for Northern Central Railroad. Yes, it was once a railroad line that now provides a nice, flat 40 mile trail for hiking, biking, and horseback riding through Maryland and Virginia. It’s an easy ride with plenty of shade and a few places to stop. Perfect for potentially whiny children.
We met up at the Phoenix entrance near Hunt Valley, MD, which is about 2 miles from the official start of the trail. It was a Thursday so the parking lots were accessible but I’ve read that it can get super busy on the weekends.
We unhooked our bikes, put our lunches on our backs, and headed north on the trail!
After about 60 seconds in, Evan asked when we would eat lunch and we knew these kids wouldn’t hold out long. So after a half hour or so of riding, we found a lovely shaded picnic area near what appeared to be a closed Nature Center.
Then we saddled up again to continue riding north. I’ve found that on a flat trail, it’s easy to ride for miles and miles and not even realize it. Until…
Your child complains that his seat is becoming, ahem, rather uncomfortable. Torn between concern and telling him to suck it up, we pushed on. And then we stopped. I offered to switch seats, switch bikes, and even switch shorts (I was wearing padded shorts) and nothing was solving our problem.
We pressed on some more becoming occasionally distracted by sights like old railroad signals.
And friendly little houses along the path.
And finally, we reached a point of definite return and we headed back. We stopped along the river banks for a quick break and even spotted a horse on the trail.
But the kids finally hit their stride when we reached our cars and they were able to sit in the cool grass AND COMPARE APPS.
Not wanting our day to end just yet, we headed to a nearby frozen yogurt shop where the kids loaded up on sugar (which is why we put them at another table).
And we got our sugar fix too.
Was this Field Trip a success? Well, I’ve learned that the NCR Trail is the perfect place for a family bike rides. And I’ve learned that Evan needs a new, softer bike seat. And I might just need one too. But we’ll have memories – memories of the time our rear ends hurt for days but ended with a nice bucket of frozen yogurt.