School’s (almost) Out For Summer

RobinHood and Cartwheel’s teachers have stayed in touch throughout out the hike. They pass along questions from the kids’ classmates that we try to answer in a timely manner. We don’t always hit the timeliness factor. We miss everyone back home at Dresden Elementary, and we’ll try to answer your questions here before everyone heads off to Summer Vacation! Also, we got to be on the radio: you can hear it here!

Questions from RobinHood’s class:

Q: How are the bugs?
A: some days worse than others, but overall they’ve been pretty good. We met two hikers named Poomba and Timone who like to eat bugs. They say that ants are juicy. We’ll take their word for it. One night in the hammock I got a lot of bites on my face and arm that were sticking out of the sleeping bag. I like the bugs that don’t bite better (but not to eat). They’re all kind of annoying when hey swarm around your head.

Q: Have you had any ticks on yourselves or Orion?
Yes. A ton. One day Cartwheel found more than thirty five ticks crawling on her. Usually they aren’t that bad, and we only find a couple each week. We’ve only had a few bitten in, and we’re always on the lookout for symptoms of Lyme disease. Our clothes are treated with Permethrin to help kill ticks, and Orion has a flea and tick collar that kills the ticks that bite into his skin. My dad says that don’t make those for people because they probably have a hundred percent cancer risk rate after 15 years, and it’s just that dogs don’t usually live long enough for that to matter (and those that get cancer earlier don’t have standing to bring a class action lawsuit).

Q: What has been your favorite thing so far?
A: I’m sick of this question. I’ve liked it all, or at least I don’t have a favorite part. One of my favorite parts is that I don’t have to take showers very often. But my longest time ever without a shower was back at home when my mom was on a trip and my dad wasn’t paying attention. I went seventeen days (but I never got my socks dirty enough to stand up on their own).

Q: Do your parents worry when you’re on cliffs and overhanging ledges?
A: Why else would I climb them?

Q: How are your leg muscles? Are they getting bigger?
A: at the beginning my legs would get sore, but now I can walk all day and they don’t hurt. I wanted to measure my calf muscles at the beginning and the end of the trip, but we forgot to measure them at the beginning. I think they’re getting bigger.

Q: The trail sounds really cool. What has been the worse part?
A: on a rainy day, I really wanted to go home and see my friends. The day that went from rain to snow to hail and then dropped to seven degrees was probably the worst. Now that it’s warm, I like getting rained on (even though my sister still hates it).

Q: Are you getting tired of walking?
A: I get tired, but not tired of walking.

Q: Are you getting tired of your clothes?
A: No. I like never having to change my clothes (and I get to wear shorts every day).

Q: Do you hear frogs and other critters at night?
A: yes, we hear lots of frogs, birds and other critters at night and early in the morning. One day we camped by a pond and the peepers were super loud all night. Usually I just fall asleep and don’t hear a thing after that. But one night at the Doyle Hotel I had to wear ear plugs because the cars were so loud.

RobinHood wishes everyone (teachers and students alike) a happy summer vacation. Also, a special goodbye to Mrs. Nell, who will be moving to a different school next year. See you all this coming fall.

Questions from Cartwheel’s class:

Q: How do you charge the electronics?
A: We eat lots of pancakes. When we’re in a restaurant eating pancakes (or pizza, burgers, eggs or falafel) we plug them into the wall. We do the same thing when we spend the night in town, or when we’re grocery shopping, or when we come to a place with a soda machine. We also carry a small backup battery that we charge the same way, that can recharge the other electronics. We’re careful with charging things in the woods (for example, it’s never a good idea to charge a bear)

Q: Where do you go to the bathroom?
A: In the woods. If it’s pee, we go pretty much anywhere there’s some privacy. My brother likes to pee off high rocks, so if you’re walking by a cliff and it feels like it’s raining but there aren’t any clouds in the sky, you should check the blog to see if we’re hiking near there. If it’s poop, we dig a hole a bury it about six inches deep and cover it so you can’t even tell. We never poop near the trail or near water sources. Most shelters, and some campsites, have outhouses. Also, pancake restaurants usually have bathrooms (but those are usually the dirtiest of the options).

Q: Do you have to put Orion on a leash sometimes?
A: Yes. Most national parks, and some state parks require him to be on a leash. Most of the time he’s not on the leash, which is ok because he listens to us. We always leash him when we cross roads, or when we’re passing people on the trail that we don’t know, or when we’re coming up to a shelter where other people might have their stuff spread out, or when they’re are other dogs he hasn’t met yet. My dad carries the leash with one end clipped to his pack, so when we need to leash Orion, my dad clips the other end to Orion’s pack and doesn’t even need to use his hands. Sometimes when Orion has lots of energy, we put him on the leash to pull us up the hills when were tired (in the winter home he pulls us across the snow on our skis).

Q: Do you always have to get off the trail to get sleep?
A: Yes. If we slept on the trail, people might step on us on their way by. Mostly we camp NEAR the trail. Often we can see the trail from our campsite, but other nights (like tonight) we can’t.

Q: How come the snakes and scary animals don’t scare you or bother you when near?
A: because we’ve seen so many that I’m not afraid of them any more. If I don’t bother them, they don’t bother me, and we both like it that way.

Q: Are your feet sore at the end of the day?
A: Yes, very.

Q: Do you always have food available?
A: Usually I just have to ask my parents. My mom carries snacks in her side pouch so we don’t even have to stop hiking. We get more food when we go near towns. My parents say that if we aren’t well behaved, there won’t be any food available. So far, though, they’ve always fed us, no matter how mischievous we’ve been.

Q: Do other hikers camp at the same location with you ever?
A: Yes. Most nights there are other hikers camped at the same place we are, but a lot of nights (like tonight) we camp on our own.

Q: How do you brush your teeth?
A: I move my toothbrush in little circular motions, but my brother brushes back and forth (even though our dentist says that’s not as good for your gums).

Q: What has been your most favorite part about your trip?
A: Seeing the wild ponies in Grayson Highlands, and watching my brother’s reaction when people ask him that question.

Q: How do you get on the hammocks?
A: we climb into them. If they’re too high, our parents lift us into them. Once I fell out onto a log, and another time I fell onto the ground. I think that hammocks are more comfortable when they’re up high, even though my parents say that shouldn’t matter at all.

See you next fall (that’s what my dad says when we trip–sometimes he also asks if we had a nice trip). We don’t think that’s very funny, but he always says it anyway.







6 Comments on “School’s (almost) Out For Summer

  1. I’m enjoying your adventure! Thank you so much for sharing. Your children are very, very lucky to have this opportunity and to have you for parents. Happy trails!

  2. Ok, I’ve messed up. RobinHood please forgive me for wishing you a happy father’s day and please offer this on our behalf to … your father! What can I say? Here is my question for you RobinHood, and it is NOT what is your favorite or least favorite! Question: What would you have packed that you did not or did remove along the way and why? I’m trying to fathom the challenge of having what you need at the necessary times and of course improvising because I didn’t have it. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  3. Great interview on NPR. Greater interview with classmates!

  4. Cartwheel, you crack me up!

  5. How was the interview Did you like doing it? (Mrs. Faulkingham heard it on the radio yesterday!) The fourth grade class liked it. we hope you like your trip. I [Tiffany] can’t wait till your little kiddos get back . We can’t wait to see them!

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