I love weekends where I have nothing planned. I'm not much of a planner anyways and prefer to "wing things" or "go with the flow." The only thing I had planned for this weekend was to coach a hockey game for the "Wolfpack." I should state they won the game handily. Outside the hockey game I had nothing going on. My wife was taking my son to a chess tournament Saturday morning so I thought...or my daughter thought..."Yay! A daddy/daughter day."
I couldn't let her down and I know she loves a picnic so we got up and had a good breakfast and then packed our picnic. She helped me make a couple of sandwiches, PB&J for her and ham and cheese for me. We packed some drinks, fruit and granola bars. We packed up and away we went. I had no idea where we were going but just walked out the door and headed off.
It was colder than previous days but she was still eager to go and her short legs followed me across the street and into the wooded area behind the Sussex Corner Elementary School. The dog was happy to be off her leash and sprinted back and forth in front of us. We watched birds flit amongst the poplar and birch trees in front of us. The thin ice layers on the mud puddles cracked and creaked under the heat of the morning sun. It was a morning that filled the senses and my daughter brought youth and humor to the whole scene.
We worked our way up along the farm fields of the Dutch Valley and then crossed the road and headed up parallel to the Mill Brook Road. We through a frisbee for the dog and she chased it and would set it down. Shaylee and I would then race to get it. I couldn't believe how much energy her three year old body had. In a cedar grove along Mill Brook we sat and enjoyed a morning snack. She found a snow covered hill and decided to slide down on her bum. She climbed the short hill, I bet, 15 times, and giggled every time.
We continued hiking and I pointed out trees and told her the names and she eagerly soaked up everything I passed on to her. It was an awesome bonding time for us but it had to come to an end and it was too cold to have Shaylee out for a picnic so I surprised her by ending the hike at her grandparents. We enjoyed hot chocolate and our sandwiches.