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the zen of slow walking

With Labor Day approaching, we initially planned to take advantage of our first long weekend in DC to go hiking in Shenandoah National Park. Given the 100-degree heat this past week, however, we’ve thought better of it. Hiking, as we discovered to our chagrin a couple of months ago, is not Munchkin’s strong suit anyway.

We spent a good part of our home leave out on the trails in Idaho. Whereas S would typically hike ahead, carrying Junebug, D walked at Munchkin’s pace, enduring a litany of complaints along the way. Munchkin’s belly was too hot to walk. His energy too low. His legs too tired, or too short, or too itchy from mosquito bites. All of this within minutes of setting foot on the trail, even on the flattest and easiest of walks.

Sometimes Munchkin would find a burst of energy, or D would motivate him into trying to catch up with S, but these moments of brisk hiking would usually end badly. Munchkin is prone to distraction, and more often than not would wind up tripping on a root or loose rock. Naturally, the bumps and bruises thus acquired did not make hiking seem any more appealing to the little man.

To be fair to Munchkin, his complaints only accumulated in one direction – when we were hiking out. As soon as we would reach our turnaround point, however, a switch would flip. The knowledge that the car, snacks, and videos awaited and that we would soon be heading home always rejuvenated his spirits. Munchkin would walk nicely instead of stalling, or hold D’s hand and take turns telling tall tales, taking the classic fables that D related and creating fantastic riffs on them. If only we could figure out how to hike back to the car in both directions, we’d be golden.

We still hope to make it out to the Shenandoah’s Blue Ridge Mountains once the heat subsides in the fall. By then Munchkin will be closing in on his fifth birthday and – after several months of sucking DC pavement – might be more appreciative of the opportunity to take a quiet stroll in the woods.

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