A Walk in the Woods

Alternate title: Honk if you’d like to kick a Canada Goose in the neck. (I figured this title would get me unwelcome traffic, though).

The plan for today was to take the kids on a walk in the woods, which seemed simple enough. Since it’s so warm, I figured I couldn’t go wrong spending the afternoon outside with the kids. They would get fresh air and I would get out of the house: win-win.

After a few false starts to our outing (including both kids falling asleep in the car and me  realizing that was best case scenario for me), we reached our destination at a local conservation area. We hadn’t been before and I was looking forward to a change of scene. A couple of friends had taken their kids bird-feeding there and although I am not fond of birds, I decided to suck it up and take my kids. After all, they are suburban kids and I want to make sure they spend a lot of time in nature.

When we finally arrived at the conservation area, I realized we had to pay for parking. I grabbed my credit card and headed to the machine.

“Coins only”

Great. I never have cash. Somehow, whenever I have coins, they magically turn into caffeinated drinks. I went back to the car to dig around for quarters and headed back, impressed that I had manage to find six.

“Minimum $2.00”

Obviously, I should have read the sign the first time. Note: this is when I should have given up and gone home. With a roll of my eyes, I headed back to the car. Again. A few nickels and dimes later, we were set for two hours.

I unloaded the kids and, thinking the trails wouldn’t be stroller-friendly, put Em in a carrier that I hadn’t used before. Off we went.

At the entrance of the trails, we were welcomed by geese – so to speak; they were there and so were we. I hate geese. Dirty, loud, aggressive geese. Sucking it up, we entered the trail and I took some pretty photos.

Opting not follow the bird-feeder trail, we kept walking along the swampy water snapping photos. About five minutes in, I knew the carrier had been a mistake. Small as she is for her age, Em was getting heavy and I was already aching.

I took her out and slung her onto my hip, walking ahead while Q hung back stuffing handfuls of gravel into his pockets to take home to his “collection.” Weighed down as he was, he couldn’t walk without risking losing his pants, so he asked me to help him take the rocks out. I crouched down, positioned Em on my leg and proceeded to empty his pockets.

Cue freak-out in:

3, 2, 1…

Nothing says “lovely nature walk” like a 4 year old throwing a tantrum because his gravel was emptied onto the trail from which it came.

I turned around. We were going home. Forget the plan. Forget the quarters and nickels and dimes. This outing was a bust.

Holding Q’s hand and carrying Em, we headed back – with Q half-heartedly dragging his feet in protest. Thankfully, we hadn’t gone far and would be back in the car in no time.

Not so fast.

Enter evil geese. Did I mention I hate geese?

We were met by three evil geese at the exit of the trail. Stupid geese. My human arrogance kicked it – all-powerful rulers of the Earth and all that. Tucking Q behind me and boosting Em a little higher, I walked on.

We didn’t get far. Before we could get close, one goose hissed. Loudly and fiercely. For a split second, I could have sworn it had teeth, and visions of the evil goose from Shrek Forever After popped into my head.

And then one charged.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

The goose chased us back up the trail and the one with the teeth stared us down. There I was with a 4 year old, a 10 month old, and no phone. I wasn’t about to play chicken with that goose and tempt fate.

So, I did what anyone would have done; I took a photo of the offenders. Then, I just stood there helplessly, wondering when Mr. T would notice we should have been home.

After finally scanning for possible escape routes, I scooped up my kids and booked it through some brush, over a ditch, and back onto the road. Take that, geese! Who is all-powerful, now? OK, it was still the geese.

As we approached out car, I saw another mother about to pay for parking and offered her our parking voucher. Apparently, after all that we’d only used 20 minutes of it. Twenty long minutes.

While I was putting him in the car, Q looked at me, held out his hand, and opened it to reveal a piece of asphalt that he’d rescued from the rock-dumping. Asphalt. Of course. Way to teach my surburban kids about nature.

17 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods

  1. So sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience on your outting. We LOVE going there and although the geese hiss at us (yes we’ve had it happen – my kids just run at them and they back away) we’ve always had fun. We usually stick to the bird feeding trail (which is stroller friendly – in CASE you should try again). It is short and managable.

    It is kind of a funny story though. And sorry I didn’t mention the pay for parking previously.

    • The outing was doomed before it began, really. I should have left and tried again a different day. We’ll definitely go back and go on the other trail. The geese didn’t seem to like that side. Ah well. Lesson learned. Next time, I’ll know.

      Good to know that’s it’s stroller-friendly. I wasn’t about to chase those geese with Em in my arms. I hate geese.

  2. I know exactly where you were and I am dying laughing. Z also collects rocks, which is unbelievably annoying. Always follow the bird feeding trail. Avoid geese at all costs (although I’ve never had them hiss at me or charge me or even acknowledge me). Sage advice from the suburbanite who probably was the one who told you to go there.

    • The rock collecting is so annoying, though it is more tolerable at the waterfront.

      Next time I’ll know to go to the bird feeding trail. Rookie mistake.

  3. Thanks for the laugh! I laugh because I can relate. We have two rules: only two special rocks can come home and noone goes near the geese ever! Teeth or not, hubby has been charged and bitten by a goose ;)

    • I told him he had to leave everything there because it was a rule of the conservation area. ;) Then, he produced a chunk of asphalt. Sigh.

      He got bitten? Ouch. I didn’t even want to risk it with Em.

  4. I was afraid he was going to open his hand and produce a petrified goose dropping! Our park is covered with it! :)

    • Yuck! Stupid geese. When I worked at the day camp at a conservation area, they raked the poop off the ‘beach’ into the water. Then, the kids would go swimming. SO vile.

  5. Oh, girl, do not move to my neighborhood. We live across the street from a man-made lake that is overrun by geese. After observing them for five years, intimidating joggers, holding up traffic, soiling everyone’s yard with their poop, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that geese rule the world.

    Or at least the suburbs.

    Love your photo!

  6. Geese suck! We had 2 on our property growing up. The mom decided to lay eggs in our barn and the heat was too much so the eggs were rotting. My dad chased the mom our of the barn to get rid of the eggs and it chased me around the yard and bit the back of my leg. It doesn’t just LOOK like they have teeth, it feels like they do too!

  7. I thought of you yesterday when I slowed down on Moodie drive because a Canada Goose was crossing the road. I have always been told they are endangered so I did my best to keep from hitting it. I have been told that they can be nasty if you get too close too. I slowed down to let it cross while Barbara was suggesting I might get us killed slowing down. I couldn’t help laughing thinking about this post when it happened…

  8. I’m sorry but this story made me laugh so hard. It so could have happened to me!!! Love the pictures.

    I told my 4 year old I was planning a mommy/luca 24 trip to a waterpark. His reply when I showed it to him online? Tears and yelling, “I don’t wanna go on those slides!”

    Currently sesrching for a non-disastrous Plan B. :)

    • Thanks! If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right? ;)

      Good luck finding an alternative…just make sure there are no possessed geese.

  9. N & I once got attacked by a squirrel. It was terrifying.

    So what if it was a baby squirrel that fell outta its nest and thought we were friendly enough for him to cuddle with, I screamed anyway.

    Nature is scary. Lol.

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