Plan your Link Trail hike!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fun with the Kids along Canastota Creek

Before we played "Three Billy Goats Gruff" with the kids, we had fun hiking to Canastota Creek, not to mention playing the simple game I've played with my daughter for seventeen years: "Throw the stick from the upstream side of the bridge and watch it appear on the downstream side."

Teaching Dylan and Abby about Seed Dispersal

Here's my favorite thing to do with kids: take them out in nature and hone my translation skills.

I have an engineer's vision of natural processes as being cut from the same cloth as heat transfer and osmotic gradients. I think of seed dispersal and root branching in terms of entropy and suface-area-to-volume ratios. But I can't talk to kids about heat transfer and osmotic gradients and entropy and surface-area-to-volume ratios. I need to fit my vision to their eyes. Between the majesty of nature and the child's perception must stand an intermediatry: a Metatron whose voice a nascent ear can hear. To be that Metatron is a life's calling.

I've given variants of this speech to Dylan many times during our walks along the roadside. To teach Dylan, and now Abby, the sundry evolutionary innovations in seed dispersal, I speak in terms of mother and child, of animals and fire. Nature has no intent, but I rely heavily on anthropomorphic imagery. A decade or two from now I can explain to them my abstruse notion that evolution doesn't happen, but rather fails to not happen. For now, I fill their heads with vivid images of nature to lead them to reverence.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Grace and I drove to Oneida on Thursday morning to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We'd barely gotten our coats off before Dylan and Abby started asking if we were going hiking on the Link Trail. Oh yeah. I've got 'em hooked.

We hiked in from the Mount Pleasant Road trailhead, crossed Canastota Creek, followed the railroad bed for a few hundred yards, and turned around. On the way back, we made a few little movies based on an idea I'd had while crossing the bridge on the way out: "There are four of us. And we're all different sizes. We have the perfect cast to enact 'Three Billy Goats Gruff'!"

So we shot these videos with Grace's phone. There was much giggling. Especially when we started switching up the roles assigned to each actor. My favorite is the last one, in which Abby plays the Biggest Billy Goat Gruff.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A video survey of my section - October 22, 2011

On October 22 I spent a few hours working on the Irish Hill section, the mile and a half which I steward. The trail didn't need mowing, but I gave it a quick manicure anyway. Happily, there was again no vandalism. I'm hopeful that I'm wearing out the vandals.

There were a lot of branches, and one medium-sized tree, fallen on the trail, but nothing I couldn't wrestle away. I used a lot of them as trail guidelines. When I got to the Irish Hill end, I remembered a conversation I'd had with a gentlemen who lives just down the road. He had looked down the trail and assumed it went straight. So I arranged some branches to better delineate that first sharp turn, similar to what Steve Kinne did farther on where the trail bends to follow the stream.

On the way back I took the time to shoot three videos, because the leaf color was worth sharing. Here they are. Enjoy.