A Walk in the Woods: Adventures of Danger & Discovery with Betsy & Debbie


Betsy! I told you not to touch mom’s Ipad! Now we have to go live in the woods!!! Waaaaaaaaa!!!

The other day I had the chance to take my nieces to the woods for a nature walk they had been bugging me to take them since I had given Debbie an exploring nature kit (compass, canteen, binoculars, etc.). So it was a nice day and they were in imminent danger at home. My sister was ready to kill them for some minor offense, OK a series of minor offenses. All I know is there was a lot of yelling and some mention about Sponge Bob hanging out in the fish-tank and a cat in the easy-bake oven. I figured time to get them out of harms way.

We went to a “Preserved Prairie” patch of woods near their house. They live in Brookfield Illinois. Besides the Brookfield Zoo and a train station that no longer actually has a train pulling up to it they have a large patch of woods with signs everywhere pointing out the bit of nature you should look for, you know important stuff like A small grove of Larch! or Observe the hive of Killer Bees! each with brief description explaining to the daring adventurer just what it is they’re looking at or suppose to be looking for, sometimes plants, sometimes animals (OK there are no killer bees.) and they were also nice to enough to put signs out for poison ivy. So todays adventure was going to focus on them deftly avoiding the clearly marked poison ivy and seeing what there was to be seen.

Now I should take a second and point out that Debbie is the high maintenance type, she’s seven and already packs two days worth of supplies for a two-hour trip. Betsy who is four on the other hand is more of a minimalist bottle of water and she’s ready to go…

Betsy! Watch out for poison ivy! It’ll get you when you when you’re not looking!

So our adventure was moving forward and we explored deeper in the untamed wilderness in middle of Brookfield. The suspiciously well-groomed fields bringing into question the “left untouched” statements on the signs we passed on our way through this refuge from civilization. But my fellow travelers experienced in this wild expanse felt our chances were good to get out relatively unscathed. Elated by their confident assurances, I was able to relax for a minute…

Debbie do you think we’ll see any frogs?
I don’t know Betsy keep looking but watch out for that ivy!

As the path narrowed things did become a bit more rustic but there were little signs posted everywhere along the path and plastic logs so people could sit and enjoy the scenery, did I mention the part about the area supposedly being untouched?  They of course stopped at each one and Debbie being new to the whole reading thing had to stop and read each one. Some were interesting, some were a bit perplexing urging the reader to keep their eyes open for creatures that were nocturnal. I say perplexing because the park closes before dark, so are the unlighted signs there for the kids who sneak in after dark to party? But to young minds it’s all good as they scan the area for new things to see, ever vigilant in their efforts not to get attacked by the poison ivy whose signs were the only one we didn’t pause long at…

Betsy comeback! I heard something! I think there’s ivy on the move! Debbie I’m going to the river it’s near the baseball park!

With my unflinchingly brave and trustworthy guides leading the way we scurried along narrow weaving pathways untraveled by another human for at least twenty or maybe even thirty minutes. The only real critter to see besides the squirrels and butterflies was a chipmunk however the sounds of birds filled the air with a cacophony of sounds and gentle breezes kept us cool with the distinct smells of  dead fish and the river drew ever near…

Now Betsy be careful you don’t fall in the river!
But Debbie YOU fell in the river last-time!
I didn’t fall I was escaping from the poison ivy!

Finally, at the river we set up base camp. My guides thoroughly explored the area to make sure there was no poison ivy lurking to strike! Upon completion of their re-con we rested for a bit watching the waters of the river drift idly by as we enjoyed a repast of nutri-grain bars and bottled water. But alas like all grand adventures we were at the apex of our expedition, it was time to begin our exodus from this wild haven of nocturnal creatures and the ever-present dangers of poison ivy lurking in shadows to pounce on the unwary traveler… But wait what is that on the side of the path….

Look! Look! Debbie! Uncle Marty! A FROG! Can I pick it up?!?!
Betsy! I said watch out for the poison ivy!
There’s none here right Uncle Marty?!?

Yes a toad! right there on the side of path Betsy has good eyes to be able to spot it or maybe it was because she’s closest to the ground. She thought it was a frog, I thought it better not to mention it was really a toad since it would have started a whole series of questions distracting them from the toad. I believe in not disturbing nature or the creatures living in it, so I didn’t let her pick it up but we all stood there for several minutes watching the toad doing his toad thing until he finally jumped into the bushes. My guides now satisfied having successfully completed yet another dangerous and grand expedition were ready for their return to civilization and onward to more important duties like wrangling sea monsters…..

Betsy! You’re blocking his eyes! He can’t see where he going!
Put a sock in it Debbie!

I may have been a bit sardonic in my telling of this tale. I really do enjoy spending time with my nieces, we really did have a great time in the woods and being an avid camper myself  I’ll have to take them on a real nature hike when they’re old enough. But for now junkets to the local woods work just fine for everyone involved. Giving them time to hone their skills and increase their knowledge of the actual wilderness.

Next time the story of the girls and Freya in the case of the giant mushrooms!

The dog isn’t that small the mushrooms are that big!

This adventure was conducted by seasoned professionals don’t try this at home without taking the proper preparations and precautions! Names have been change to protect the innocent!

About MartyW47

Attending Triton College. Studying Emergency Services Management & Criminal Justice. Currently employed @ MPPD & Aflac. After 30 years out of school I'm back in College and having a Blast!
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4 Responses to A Walk in the Woods: Adventures of Danger & Discovery with Betsy & Debbie

  1. Mimi says:

    So fun to read your adventures.

    • Thank you very much Mimi! They’re at that age where they’re trying to interpret the world around them based on their limited experiences. It makes being out with them a lot of fun! I enjoy reading your stories as well! Thanks again for dropping by!

  2. LOL! That poison ivy is sneaky, isn’t it? So glad you and the nieces escaped unscathed. And I’m looking forward to the giant mushrooms post.

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