Wilderness Kids Alexandria started April in a wet and wonderful way. On Saturday, April 2, we set out with seven kids and two volunteers to hike Turkey Run and explore the blossoming bluebells, a sure sign of spring in the DC area.
The trail did not disappoint. We first descended a magnificent stairway built by the park service - on our return up the stairs, each of us took the climb in silence, counting the steps along the way. Was it 101? Or 102? Or just 100? Something in that ballpark!
At the bottom of our descent we found ourselves within a stone’s throw of the Potomac and set off on a hike that would take us across more than just one stream feeding into our hometown river.
Stones that made bridges across these streams were sometimes a bit of a stretch, other times were actually underwater, and still other times were just a bit slippery. So, while we always made it across, we didn’t always do it with dry feet!
One prize of the day was the chance to skip stones and re-build submerged stone bridges as we played along a “beach” on the Potomac. We clambered over trees and branches that had been swept down stream from Great Falls, looked for tiny fish in the shallow waters, and admired ducks and geese enjoying the sunshine.
Another prize was of course the bluebells themselves which blossomed from fields of green along our route.
The biggest prize of all was, of course, the simple pleasure of a few hours spent outside in nature with friends on a sunny day. Tossing the football around during a picnic lunch used up whatever energy we had left.
Not just bluebells were in bloom, but new friendships too. One of our students was born in Honduras and is working on her English; another came to the US from Afghanistan just six months ago and is also working on her English—and her Spanish as well! It was great to watch the friendship between these two girls blossom, right there alongside the bluebells.