With an unexpected day off from school, the kids seemed more than happy to stay inside in front of their electronic device of choice for as long as I would allow. But I know from experience that leaving a child to watch TV or to play on their iPod for an extended period of time is a lot like a wind-up toy. When you stop turning the crank and let the toy go… watch out for the crazy to be unleashed!
We had to get out of the house and needed an activity that would involve our two and a half year old golden retriever as well as he too has a tendency to get “wind-up toy syndrome” (minus the use of electronics, of course). Luckily, our activity of choice was just a short drive down the road to the Mi’kmawey Debert Trail. Archaeological evidence revealed that the Mi'kmawey site in Debert was a traditional hunting place of the First People (Paleo-Indian people) who lived in Atlantic Canada almost 11,000 years ago. To put that into perspective, the artifacts found were more than twice as old as the Pyramids in Egypt. Now that’s some serious history! The trail is designated under the Nova Scotia Special Places Protection Act and recognized as a National Historic Site.
The 4.4km loop is a perfect length for an afternoon outing with a variety of interesting terrain, several bridges and stream crossings as well as informative interpretive panels along the way. Great exercise and educational too – can’t beat that!
This wasn’t the first time we had ventured down this path. Last December, my son Jaden and I took our dog Quentin (who was a rambunctious year and half at the time) for a walk here. I recall Quentin being really excited by the smells of a new adventure and he was pulling more than usual. For this reason I held the leash to try and keep him contained. As we walked I realized that my shoe had come untied. I asked Jaden to take the leash for a second and instructed him to hold on tight to avoid having Quentin break loose and running away. Jaden did exactly what I asked but Quentin decided to test the change in command and attempted to bolt! Just as I had asked, poor Jaden didn’t let go. He went body surfing a good ten to fifteen feet through the mud on his belly before coming to a halt. Seeing that he was ok, I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of it all, but it did end up cutting our walk a bit short that day.
This time around there was a skiff of snow on the ground and the temperature was just right at -2C°. Not too cold, but cold enough to freeze the ground and prevent it from being muddy. I thought the walk might be a good bonding experience, but rather than walk together, the kids took the opportunity to run about chasing and teasing each other. Although not the wilderness experience I had imagined, I was able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings while they blew off some steam the way brothers and sisters do.
The final stretch of trail led through a fantastic stand of pine trees. Earlier in the month, my wife Sara had been looking for a few pine branches to jazz up our holiday decorating. Although our house is surrounded by evergreens, for some reason we couldn’t find a single pine tree for the life of us. I had to laugh at the irony of it all. Isn’t that the way? When you’re looking for something you can’t find it; and when you don’t need it anymore it’s everywhere you look! It was a fine conclusion to a great hike nonetheless.