Day 2: Fishing and Hiking

So it was a slow day.  The kids slept in until almost 9:30 this morning.  Rich and I got up early and got our day started.  That meant coffee and the paper.  We messed around in the office with our computers and personal accounts while we waited for the kids.  Rick got up around 8:00 and stated that they were still talking when he went to bed last night about 10:30.  That explains why they were up yet.

So somewhere before 9:30, they finally came crawling out of the guest room.  By this time, Rick and Rich had had their breakfast.  Rich explained that they needed to get dressed and eat if they still wanted to go fishing this morning.  It was getting late and the boats were already starting to roam up and down the river out there.  The boats tend to get in the way of fishing with the noise and the waves.

I got cereal for everyone while they got dressed and found their shoes.  After they ate, Rich and Rick gathered up everyone up and headed down to the river.  I stayed to clean up and get things picked up a bit.  Then I followed them down to watch the fun.

By the time I arrived, Cael had caught a drum.  Sophia and Cael caught a couple of blue gills.  Rich caught a small catfish.  The boats were already running up and down the river.  This was putting quite a bit of wake into the water.  Everyone was being patient and trying to put in the time to catch the fish.  Cael and Sophia were missing most of the bites on their lines.  In spite of this, they still managed to catch a couple more fish.  This wasn’t Bel’s day though.  She came away without a fish.  Maybe that’s because the fish remember that she caught everything last time.

We finally called it quits and packed up the bunch to head back to the house.  There was another group of fishermen at the point there as well.  I don’t know what they were speaking, but it sounded Eastern European.  They had some fancy tackle with them.  I was pretty sure I heard some electronics on that one guy’s reel as he was bringing in a fish.  But they weren’t doing much better than any of our group.

Back at the ranch, we put away our tackle.  Everyone put on their tennis shoes and slathered on some sunscreen.  Rich took them out to the garage to apply bug spray.  We were going hiking.  Rich thought it might be nice to go out to Volo Bog and hike the bog trail.  This is an easy trail that is basically boardwalks out over the bog to the remains of the lake in the center.  It is very springy and soft as you walk.  Even the boards on the walk have bent and contoured to the soft ground underneath.

Rick took Bel in his car.  This would allow her some freedom without having to squish in the back between Sophia and Cael.  We had to take two cars anyway to get us all there.  Hopefully, Rick was talking to her some.  She didn’t seem too unhappy about riding with him.

We brought bottles of water to keep hydrated.  You never know on a hike.  Better to be prepared.  We stopped off at the visitor’s center to use the restrooms before heading down to the bog.  There are some long trails, but the bog is pretty short.  Cael was amazed at the trail out over the water.  There were lots and lots of cattails growing on either side.  You could see water with the mosses growing on top.

We got almost to the center when Bel’s stomach started hurting.  She had gotten sick while in Seattle on vacation.  Unfortunately, I think the remains of the illness were still with her.  We had been pushing water, but she just hadn’t gotten enough.  She spent a few minutes hanging over the trail.  Then we went on down to the lake.  There were lots of turtles in the water.  Little heads were popping up all over the places.  The kids thought this was cool.

Heading back up the trail, we stopped at the koi pond to look at the fish swimming around.  This is more of a natural pond with lots of little fish.  The park had installed a boardwalk that took you down the side of the trail and out onto the water.  From here, you could see the birdhouses used to collect more information about the native birds around the bog.

We decided to walk down the Tamarack Trail a bit.  There is a cool overlook that looks over one of the lakes.  We could see lots of turtles hanging out on the logs through the low blueberry and other berry bushes around the lake.

We found that Cael can walk pretty fast.  He was good at keeping up with Rich at the head of the trail.  Bel and I were bringing up the rear.  Neither of us walk very fast.  Toward the end, Bel was getting tired.  I can’t blame her.  I was tired too.  I don’t think she was feeling too well from earlier.  We met everyone else up at the visitor’s center when we continued at our own pace.

In the visitor’s center, there were displays that told you about the bog.  They had recreated the spongy walking surface.  There were stuffed animals and skulls from animals that live in the area.  At the entrance is a coyote with a squirrel in his mouth.  Reminded me of Sascha when she manages to catch a squirrel.  Sophia enjoyed playing the birdcalls from the set of buttons that labeled each bird.  The speakers overhead played the call when you pressed the button.

After going through the displays, it was time for lunch.  We got back to the cars and headed to Happy Jack’s.  This is a little place up in McHenry that serves sandwiches and stuff.  The entire place is decorated with Coca-Cola stuff.  It is red and white everywhere!

We ordered our food and settled in to wait.  Everyone thought the bog was cool to walk on.  The turtles were the best part for some people.  After hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or sandwiches, we all felt a little better.  Then it was time to go back to the house.

Sascha was glad to see us when we got back.  But some of that might be because it was almost time to eat her dinner.  She did her best dance when it was time to put the food dish on the floor.

We rested up for a bit.  It was nice to put our feet up.  I decided to put weeds out front.  Bel, Sophia, and Cael decided to take their chalk out to the driveway and make some pretty designs.  Before long, the three of them were out front entertaining me while I finished pulling up weeds.  I had given them bug nets for their stay.  They all disappeared for a minute and then returned with their nets to try and catch more bugs.  There wasn’t a lot moving around out front.  The bees were enjoying the flowers, but that’s not something you want to catch.

I was done, so we moved back into the house.  After taking a shower, it was time to start dinner.  Tonight was simple.  I made mac and cheese for everyone along with spam and green peas.  Each person could add what they wanted to their plate.  Of course, Rich added it all.  I also put peas and spam into my mac and cheese.  Cael tried the spam and found out he liked it.  Sophia wasn’t so sure about the spam.  Bel was strictly mac and cheese all the way.  I think Rick took only the spam as an additive.  Overall, we did pretty well for dinner.

After cleaning up and loading the dishwasher, we took Sascha for a walk.  The kids weren’t keeping up so we let Rich and Sascha continue on without us.  Probably a little too much walking today.  We went back to the house and prepared Sascha’s pool for her.  It was warm and I was sure she would look forward to rolling around in it.  And she did.

Rich headed down to the lake to try some more flyfishing.  Each of the kids took a bath.  Then it was time for a movie as we settled in for the evening.  It was going to be an early evening and have some quiet time.  Tomorrow will be a busy day.  I think the kids are tired today anyway.

Rick went out to join his friends for Lakemoor Fest.  There are fireworks that they have done every year since we’ve moved here.  This will be his last year, I assume.

More tomorrow.  Good night.

Cael caught a fish.
Cael caught a fish.
Sophia caught a fish.
Sophia caught a fish.
Rich caught a small catfish.
Rich caught a small catfish.
Heading out on the bog trail.
Heading out on the bog trail.
Path leading out to the center of the bog.
Path leading out to the center of the bog.
Looking for turtles in the bog.
Looking for turtles in the bog.
What remains of the lake in the bog.
What remains of the lake in the bog.
Watching the koi in the pond.
Watching the koi in the pond.
Prairie around the pond.
Prairie around the pond.
Purple everywhere throughout the bog.
Purple everywhere throughout the bog.
Platform over the lake.
Platform over the lake.
Lake on the trail where the turtles were sunning themselves.
Lake on the trail where the turtles were sunning themselves.
Rick just hanging out.
Rick just hanging out.
The kids used chalk to draw on the driveway.  Pretty colorful.
The kids used chalk to draw on the driveway. Pretty colorful.
Another angle on the chalk drawings.
Another angle on the chalk drawings.
The kids watching Sascha in her pool.
The kids watching Sascha in her pool.