Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Camping At Arm River (1)

This past weekend was the annual Arm River camp weekend. We look forward to it, and this year was no exception. We had ourselves a throughly great time! We left our place on Friday afternoon, and came home Sunday evening. All though if it had been up to Jayden we'd have stayed for the rest of his life!

Jayden lives to be outdoors, and camping was 100% his thing. From the moment we got there until the moment we dragged him off to bed he was outside playing ball, hunting for bugs, playing cars, etc. The only part Jayden wasn't keen on was our walk down to the creek. The camp runs off creek water, and we enjoy taking the small jaunt down to the creek to check it out. It's also a quick and simple walk for the kids, compared to the forest walk Lawrence and I enjoy without them.

On our trip down to the creek the path is clearly marked until a certain point. Then you do a bit of a guessing game following the wallaby, and other wildlife paths. Again, not a problem. We even made it all the way to the water without any issues. The boys, and a cousin, had a great time checking it out. On the way back we ran into our first snag.

Lawrence led us up the wrong "guessed" path. So we landed in the middle of an area with fallen trees and no clear path. He thought the other side of the fallen tree was where we needed to be, so I walked up the fallen tree (not as hard as it sounds) only to find that while we were on level ground again, we still weren't where we needed to be. So it was back down the tree and to the creek to start over.

Jayden was slightly stressed that we were lost, and he had no water. Morgan was annoyed I hadn't brought the compass, and I was starting to agree. Lawrence walked up another path, and just out of view to return a minute later declaring that wasn't the right path. His third path was the right one, and so after only a minor delay we were back on track. All though our quick, "I must be back in ten minutes to get the soup started before everyone gets here" plan didn't work.

The creek (not at leechy point)

Upon our arrival back at camp we noticed that the four people left at camp were missing. (They'd run out for matches!) Once we got back and sat down Aunty Angela felt a funny itch on her leg and decided to check it out. She had a dreaded leach! Now, it's not abnormal to find leeches, in fact the forest walk always has leeches on them, and coming back with a few to dispose of is just normal. However, we've never had an issue with the creek walk!

Anyway, she pulled her leeches off, in total style, while I scanned the boys for them. At which point, and I so don't blame her, Aunty was slapping herself a bit to make sure she had no more. Morgan and Jayden are watching in wide-eyed wonder until we discover one on Morgan's leg. At which point Morgan lets out a blood curdling scream and Jayden says, in a very timid voice, "I sure hope it doesn't suck up all your blood and you die!" Morgan's scream was LOUDER until Daddy pulled the offending leach off and life returned to normal.

However, Jayden refused, for the rest of the time at camp, to go back down to the creek, and even had a nightmare about a "black worm sucking up all my blood!" Alas, maybe next year. We'll have to buy him his own bottle of salt so he can see that a little salt will knock those leaches back a few steps.

Lawrence and I enjoyed the forest walk while the boys opted to stay behind with Nana and watch a video. We didn't figure they'd make it the whole loop without being carried, and I'm not sure Jayden would have gone anyway! We really didn't see as many leeches on the forest walk, but that doesn't mean we didn't have them.

While talking our forest walk the old saying, "Moss only grows on the north side of the tree." came to mind. So, I'm thinking, right, if I get lost I'll just follow the moss back. Only, as I look closer I notice that this moss is growing all around the tree. I'm thinking, "super moss". So I ask three different people if they've heard the moss saying, and none of them had! You know that moment when you suddenly wonder if you really are crazy? Yeah, well I had one of those moments..

Uncle Chris however had heard of this saying, only he pointed out that he'd heard of it as, "Moss only grows on the south side of the tree!" Thank goodness he pointed out the obvious. Otherwise if I ever got lost in Australia and opted to find my way out with the moss, I would have OBVIOUSLY been going in the wrong direction.

I was so relieved about not being totally crazy that I nearly forget to point out that the moss I'm looking at is growing on all sides of the tree. (Someone else pointed this out for me..) Uncle Chris pointed out that it's not moss it's lichen. At which point I decided that before I can get loss I need to get a field guide out to determine the difference between lichen and moss. Then I had to ask if Moss was a plant of a fungus, which couldn't be answered at that time. (Just for the record it's considered a plant not a fungus..)

See all that green, not moss!

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