Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Mill and the Amphitheater

At the beginning of the year we made a goal to go on 100 family walks. It's mid-November. We still have 24 walks to take. Andrew swears we'll be able to take them all. I am not so confident but I planned a family walk today (more than our usual up-and-down-the-street romp before bed or quick-jaunt-to-the-park) and we were able to cross one more thing off our list.

We were also able to cross off another "North Carolina Adventure." We aimed to do 24 adventures over the course of the year. We have one left to go on.

The adventures were fun to plan. Sometimes they were elaborate plans, like our trips to the beach and the mountains. Other times they were relatively simple, like visiting a splash pad or trying out a new hike or visiting a local museum. Each adventure had to be unique, but each adventure typically counted as a family walk (since most of our adventures were outdoor and included a lot of walking).

The only other rule for our walks and adventures were that everyone in the family had to go. I think that's what's made it so difficult to get all our family walks in. It's hard to get everyone out for a walk. I can't tell you how many times I've either taken all the kids to the park or pool while Daddy's been at school. Nor can I tell you how many times either Daddy or I have taken the girls to the park or pool while the other parent stayed home with a napping Benjamin. But those times don't count because not everyone participated.

Anyway, today's walk was a new trail that I saw while zooming in on West Point on the Eno Park on Google Maps. It looked like a paved path, heading toward the amphitheater and a pond (though we didn't ever see the pond).

We were excited to find the mill open when we got to the park. I'd all but forgotten about trying to get there (it's open on weekend afternoons from 1 to 5) but since it was open we moseyed on in and counted it as a family adventure prior to taking our walk.

The nice old man behind the counter gave us a tour. During the tour he kept opening various windows and doors and sticking his head outside. It took us awhile to realize this was because he had a mouthful of chewing tobacco (we're pretty sure he was spitting outside). The tour was fascinating though! He turned the waterwheel on for us, which was awesome. The turning of all the cogs in the building shook the floors and made the girls pretty nervous.

Above the shop counter they had a rack full of snake skins. The man said he collects them from wherever he finds them inside the mill. I shuddered but said, "They're probably after all the mice that live here, aren't they?" "You bet they are," he said.

In the end we purchased a bag of grits that was ground right there in the mill (Rachel's holding it on her lap while pretending to play a match of checkers with Miriam). We're planning on having stone-ground grits for dinner tomorrow night!

We'll certainly be going back there again!

The walk was lovely. On the map it looked like it was paved the entire way, but it wasn't and though it was a well-established gravel path some parts were a little too rough on the stroller. Andrew carried it up this entire hill.

Rachel liked this part of the path—she's standing on a bridge, if you can't tell:

Benjamin was a little less willing to smile for the camera. He just wanted to get out of the stroller and toddle down the path by himself.

We were surprised when the path spit us out into a big, open field. It's one of the largest open spaces we've seen here. Rachel immediately took off running.

She ran back and forth between us and the tree-line several times before we all met up with her. Just as we got to the bridge (on the far right of the picture) we saw something huge dash through the trees right in front of us.

Andrew thinks it was a horse. I'm pretty sure it was a deer. Miriam's positive it was a wolf.

Andrew thinks it was brown with white spots. I'm pretty sure it was grey. Miriam positive it looked exactly like a wolf.

All Benjamin had to say about it was, "Ooooo!"

Rachel didn't see it because she had her back to it at the time.

Whatever it was, it kind of spooked us. All we knew was that it was big and fast and stealth-like.

We continued our walk to the amphitheater, anyway, because even though Miriam was positive it was a wolf, Andrew and I were equally positive that it wasn't. And the walk was beautiful!

We did a little tap dancing on the stage and tested out the acoustics of the amphitheater before heading home.

It was a pretty successful family walk/adventure! 76 walks down...24 to go! We can totally do that in 43 days, right?

1 comment:

  1. Neat idea! I love the pictures. And I vote for deer, too. We have six that live in our neighborhood and the one you saw sounds similar. :)