Unbeknownst to us, our township owns a sizable chuck of mountainside just across the way from our house. There was a blurb in the newsletter about a guided tour this morning. We strapped the baby into the yard-sale-purchased backpack contraption and promised the 10 year old some ice cream if he rolled out of bed into pants and shoes and joined us.
The guide and his dog were a little shocked that over 20 folks showed up. He led us up and around a labyrinth of unrestricted (dog, dirt-bike & drinker friendly) trails to abandoned quarry sites, pumping stations and impressive views. In fact this is how cool this place is. The only permit archery hunting and it doesn't even have a name. I asked the guide what the territory was called and he shrugged his shoulder and said "the woods". I was only bothered that I hadn't discovered them early. Well, that and that I didn't think to bring a camera, but I'm sure I'll be up there soon and often.
The trails were no joke. At least not for beginners. Plenty of creeks to cross, loose rocks to negotiate and felled trees to climb. I've been getting tired of sidewalks and playgrounds anyway. This could be the discovery of the summer. I could see spending whole Saturdays up there.
We lasted about an hour and forty-five with the kid. Not bad. I learned that my Redwing's aren't as broken in as I thought. But I also learned that if you get far enough from civilization, you can literally taste the fresh air. I was a boy scout, and have been on plenty of hikes and camping trips. And I spend a lot of time running trails and in parks. But there's a difference when your 100 yards from a highway or when you drive to a trailhead and you're 13. This was way better. Mother nature, isolated and untouched, behind the house next door. Life just got a little better.
I have to go now, and decide between archery gear and a dirt-bike.