Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whalen's Wanderings
 Completing the Circle, Walking a Loop

Shaylee, my daughter, sits on my lap as I write this column.  I feel that is very appropriate since this edition of my wanderings is very much oriented towards family.  I consider myself very blessed to have such a great family.  I took special note of this recently on a hike that I went on.  My father, my son, and I took a short hike along the ridge in Foxhill.

Over the years my father and I have logged a great deal of time together in the wilderness and I can usually count on him for companionship when I need it.  On this day he did not disappoint me and was eager to come along with Seth and me.  Seth too was excited to go, especially since his Grampy was going.  Seth must have asked 15 times between Sussex Corner and Apohaqui "Are we there yet Daddy?"  When we pulled into the parking area at Jones Park he was out of the car before it was fully parked.

We took off, the three of us, across Highway 121 and up the hill on the east side of the Millstream River.  Many times, on my way to church, I had looked up at these hills wondering what the view was like.  Now I was about to share it with two people who have a huge influence on me and my column.  The first hill was long but gradual and as we reached the top the wind picked up and chilled us all to the point where we all pulled our hoods up.  I stopped at the top and took some pictures and Seth asked if he could use the camera.  I handed him the camera and let him take a few pictures.  It was interesting to see what he focused on.  I typically take landscape photos while he focused on the hay bale sitting nearby, or the largest log in a woodpile.  My father on the other hand would likely turn the camera towards the nearest person and snap photos.  Three generations, with similar interests but different perspectives.

The hike continued along the south side of the Foxhill Ridge and it offered many great views up and down the Kennebecasis River from Sussex to well beyond Apohaqui.  The ridge dropped quickly to the river to the south while to the north a diverse forest offered more to explore.  We stopped for our first break at a large rock, that Seth thought, made an ideal seat.  After a short break we carried on into a small ravine and across a small stream where ice was still clinging to the large rocks.  After a series of small ups and downs, we reached a rock escarpment that offered a great resting place and view, we stopped for a few more pictures and carried on.  We reached the Allaby farm and made the turn to head home.  We stopped again at the escarpment for another snack but the cold wind chased us away prematurely.

As we started down the last hill to the car, completing our loop (circle), Seth was walking between my father and me holding our hands and it was then that I realized how lucky we were to have shared this experience.  My father, when I was young, gave me the gift of the wilderness, and now I get to share it with my son completing the circle.  It was, dare I say, an emotional moment for me and as I was about to verbalize it, my father gave me that knowing look and we thanked each other.

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1 comment:

Graham said...

Hi Ben,

This sounds like a great palce to hike and I really like that photo. Must be some nice views from there.
What a wonderful way to spend time with your family. I think we owe it to our children to explore nature with them. I'm really glad that you decided to share this touching experience.