Camping, Biking, Leaf Man

DAY 41 -- I remember when I was younger and a sleeping bag and a backpack was all I'd need to go camping. This morning our family of five packed up and headed to Kickapoo State Park to camp with some friends.

On the way there, a few times I heard "Kickapoop" from the back seat and I knew somewhere my mom was enjoying a moment of what-goes-around-comes-around.

We set up camp and headed out for a trail hike in search of a mysterious tree with a small door at the bottom. Apparently the idea is to leave a treasure inside the door for whatever mysterious creature lives there. A fairy, maybe? A troll?

Whatever. We hiked.

And we found the tree which was already filled with random "treasures" left behind by other hikers.

Later ... Dinner on the fire. Marshmallows and lightning bugs. High temperatures in the 70s. This was pretty much perfect.

I haven't camped regularly since I was in college when the experience usually involved a case of Rolling Rock and a pack of Backwoods cigars. After such a long hiatus, I think I've got the camping bug again. Only now, beer and cigars have been replaced with ghost stories and glow sticks.

. . .

Speaking of ghost stories, our friend Matt told a pretty memorable one as the kids started to wind down for the evening. His story was about Leaf Man -- the cousin of Bigfoot who would come to your tent at night and put a leaf under your pillow if you had littered during the day. Leaf Man was smarter and more environmentally conscious than Bigfoot because he had stayed in school.

The moral of the story: don't litter and do your best in school.

Or something like that.

Anna put a leaf under Mason's pillow the next morning.

Mason was not happy.

. . .

The biggest news of the day came from Anna who took a liking to her friend Gwen's bike and sped off on her first no-training-wheel ride as though she'd been riding a bike for years. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of the time we where there she spent on that bike riding circles around the camp sites.

She was pretty proud of herself.

Rightfully so.

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