the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

The Giant’s War at Big Basin Park

It’s been a while since I’ve gone for a hike. I’m sorry to say that having a child killed hiking, rock climbing, scuba diving, cave/wreck diving, and all those interesting things I did pre-baby. I refuse to give up cycling though limit myself to speed/distance and not ripping down a mountain at sick speeds praying that I don’t re-affirm my nickname of pogo by crashing into a tree or riding over a cliff.

I’m feeling kinda soft these days and want some of my old life back, so we ventured out to Big Basin Park for a hike.

About 10-minutes into our hike the child-demon came out.

Child: I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore.

Me: Are you giving up?

Child: Yes. This is too hard and I’m not having any fun.

Me: If you give up every time something gets hard then you will never achieve anything.

Child: I’m still tired. I’m sorry to say I’m just not an outdoors person. Can we turn around?

Me: 10-minutes and you’re tired… little Miss I-can-swim-for-8-hours-and-complain-when-I-have-to-get-out. I don’t think you’re tired. I think you’re bored.

Child: Yes. I’m bored. This isn’t fun.

Me: And, you’re whiny. I’m not your entertainer. If it’s boring, make it interesting.

Child: I don’t know how.

Me: What’s that over there?

Child: It’s a tree with a hole in it.

Me: Sure. But you’re looking at it and not really seeing it… investigate… find the fun stuff. What’s the black marks on the walls?

Child: It’s big. Hey… that’s fire. OMG. Look at the ground. I see it. It’s a giant’s lair and it’s been attacked. Who attacked it? Is there a war? Look there’s weapons all over the ground and the tree is bleeding. I found a giant’s lair. I think I hear them coming back… let’s get out of here.

Me: Check out that stump over there… it looks like a portal. Is there something on it?

Child: It’s a clue. It’s some kind of magical staff. If I put this acorn on top of it it transforms into an artifact that makes things grow.

Me: Maybe that’s why the trees are so big here.

Moments later she’s off… we transport into a magical world where every stump is a portal to a different world of dragons, vampires, fairies, dryads, werewolves, witches, and wizards. We are spies and our boss is Santa Claus who wants to know what is happening in the mystical world. We have to try and make sense of the Giant’s War that’s happened in this world and report back to him.

We’ve got medicine that keeps us from transforming into a vampire (water), magic seeds that protect us from dragon fire/ice (chickpeas), an invisibility cloak, and a booby trap detector. We have to stay away from the forest paparazzi (she came up with this one on her own) and make sure we stay out of direct sunlight so we don’t transform into evil creatures.

Three hours later, we’ve thoroughly explored the Creeping Forest Trail at Big Basin Park. It was very quiet, peaceful, full of mystery, and no one seemed to want to venture out that far. It’s a good thing because they would have gotten caught up in the Giant’s War.

And, I got my hike!

Me: What did you think of the hike?

Child: That was really fun. Can we do this again next weekend? I want to step into Hansel and Gretel’s world.

Me: Just think: if you gave up, you would have missed out on that wonderful adventure.

The comment of the day came towards the end as child was trying to explain to me how the world worked: It’s only the worlds that rotate and change… the paths stay the same. A surprising bit of wisdom from the mouth of an 8-year old. I’m going to chew on that one for a while.

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