On Sunday September 22 Jenny, Jackson, and I met Tom and Nancy (aka Grandma & Grandpa E) for a hike in Parfrey’s Glen. This was only the second time I hiked into our state’s first designated Natural Area the first time being somewhere around 13 years ago with a group of Soilies. This trip was quite a bit different, particularly on the middle trail – what used to be an easy walk on a board walk along Parfrey’s Glen Creek was now a little trickier (remember Jackson is only 3.5 years old) as the board walk and much of the trail through the gorge have been destroyed by several powerful floods over the past few years. Jackson had a great time rock-hopping over the creek as we climbed back to the waterfall.
A little side-bar: one of the reasons I have not explored this beautiful site, as well as many of the TNC properties in the Baraboo Hills, is that Dogs are not allowed. Rosie was not a very happy dog to be left out of this adventure, particularly since we haven’t gone hunting even though she knows hunting season has arrived. She became fully aware that hunting season is upon us a couple nights before when I washed my bow hunting clothes and hung them out on the line – Rosie promptly walked over, sniffed my pants on the line, then looked at me with that little Rosie look, head slightly tilted, little questioning glance – then a slight doggie smile – she knows fall is here – now every time I walk out of the house she races to the garage and waits by the door to go into the truck – sometimes, if I don’t go near the truck, she will lie there and stare at me with a look that says “well, let’ s go already!” – when she didn’t get to join this trip, well she was not a happy dog.into our state’s first designated Natural Area the first time being somewhere around 13 years ago with a group of Soilies. This trip was quite a bit different, particularly on the middle trail – what used to be an easy walk on a board walk along Parfrey’s Glen Creek was now a little trickier (remember Jackson is only 3.5 years old) as the board walk and much of the trail through the gorge have been destroyed by several powerful floods over the past few years. Jackson had a great time rock-hopping over the creek as we climbed back to the waterfall.
More on Rosie’s adventures soon – this is about time in the nature with Jackson, something we most often get to share with Rosie, but not today. So Jackson did an awesome job on our little adventure climbing and rock-hopping his way up the creek to the little waterfall at the head of the gorge. Jackson and I left the others behind a bit as we made our way along the trail at the base of the gorge until we found a wonderful rock seat to sit and watch the waterfall for a while. Exploring the world with Jackson, along with the conversation that goes with it, has become one of my favorite activities of being a dad! I guess the surprising part is how each adventures gets better and better as his world, imagination, and vocabulary expand. As we sit there and watch the waterfall he asks:
“Dad, when will they turn it off?”
“Well, nobody turns this on or off, Jackson.”
Silent contemplation for a while.
“That is the nature of things (this has become a favorite pat answer that we stole from a friend – Thank you for that!). If we don’t get rain for a long time, the stream might stop flowing but nobody turns streams on or off like a faucet.”
Silent contemplation for a while.
“Dad, can I touch the water?”
“Sure pal – touch the water by the edge here.”
“WOW that is COLD!”
Back to the rock for another moment of silent contemplation.
“Dad, why is the water white?”
“Well as it splashes over the rocks and down the waterfall it mixes with air to make the foam (good enough explanation for a 3.5 year old…).”
“Dad, why is the water green?”
Silent contemplation on my part…until I see what he means.
“That is the reflection from the leaves on the trees. See them up on the hill; water can act like a mirror sometimes.”
A little more silent contemplation and then it is time to head back down. Sitting quietly for long periods of time is not a particular Jackson skill but this was a good amount of time. There was time for one more question as we were heading back to Jenny and Grandma & Grandpa E.
“Dad, is it a little spooky?” Jackson asks.
“Yeah just a little pal, but that is what makes this place special.” Beautiful scenery and a slight spooky, almost mystical feeling makes this a wonderful place to visit – sharing it with Jackson in such a special way makes this trip one I will not soon forget!