Day 2: Friday 6/17/16
Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
I’m sitting 20 miles outside of Madison, Wisconsin. With my cousin’s beautiful family. Four vibrant and hearty kids. There was a vigil for Orlando in their little town tonight. Far away from Orlando, but this small gesture means a lot right now.
It’s good to be away. Mount Horeb is about an hour and a half from Rockford through picturesque farm country. We arrived last night shortly before dinner to much fanfair: welcome signs and a ton of excitement.
Today, Nate and I went on a nice bike ride with Jacob and Emily. Fun 10 year old twins. They have a really cool trail called the Military Ridge State Trail very close to their house. Climb up the hills from their neighborhood until you’re winded and then you’re just about on the gravel trail. We rode for about 20 minutes before turning around, through rolling hills and corn fields and views that looked like the default Microsoft Windows XP desktop background. The kids told us that was further than they had gone before. We turned back and made our way to The Grumpy Troll for lunch – fish fry Friday (a Wisconsin tradition) and cheese curds – then back to the house for naps. Well, naps for Amy and 10-month-old Claire.
A relaxing afternoon followed, and then we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to Governor Dodge State Park.
We had a nice hike down to the falls. It sure is a lot of work to keep up with 4 kids in the woods, even with a 3-adult to 4-kid ratio, and one of those kids strapped to Charity (Clarie). Jacob, and Max (who just turned 6), headed up a trail with a nice rock hangout. But it did look a little precarious; however, the boys made it down just fine. Some coaxing and reassuring were provided too.
There is just something about being in nature and the woods in particular. Restful and yet so alive. Unfortunately, it is also alive with ticks. The next day one dropped off Max; he didn’t seem to mind though.
All of these kids have a ton of character and are just fun to be around.
Charity lived with my family when I was 10 and she was starting at the University of Minnesota at 17. She was one of the only people both Joel and I got along with and she also taught us the art of sarcasm. She was a really amazing big sister to us and would take Joel and I out for bagels and sometimes to a movie. So of course we stayed up late just talking about life. This time as grown ups. But my 10 year old self also was in heaven.