"Hey! What's this?" My nephews have spotted my new hammock hanging between the porch and the garage at my folks' house.
"Oh, that's my new house, what do you think?"
"That's a house?"
"Sure, I'm going to live in that when I hike the Appalachian Trail. Do you want to get in?" The boys emit some excited squeals and flap their hands like ducklings--I pretty much feel the same way about the hammock. The boys, ages 8 and 6, take to the velcro trap door like fish to water.
"What's the Appalachian Trail?"
"Well, it's a long trail in the woods from Georgia to Maine" They nod, like they know what I'm talking about.
"So you're going to walk that whole way?"
"Carrying all your stuff?"
"How long will that take?"
"How long do you think it will take?"
"A few weeks?"
"No, more like five months. Want to come?"
"Oh, yes! But only for three months because we can't miss school" That's my 8 year old nephew, he is a serious student.
I talk them into going on a hike with me the next day. I took them out to a little patch of forest north of town. We explored a creek. Found a frog and some sticks. Climbed up a ridiculiously steep hill and walked for about 1/2 a mile before my 6 year old nephew expressed his dislike of "All this walking". Maybe long hikes aren't in his future, but he does have an aptitude for plant identification and taught me a thing or two about the flora of the area.