The weather was quite nice this weekend and after an exceptionally brutal winter we were anxious to get outside and enjoy the change. The 3 older kids went to their mother’s house on Saturday leaving Bridget with her mom and I. There were some outstanding chores for me wrap up including arranging the garage, raking leaves and refilling propane.
Immediately after breakfast I got started and found myself wrapped up more and more into the various small “to do” items around the yard. Bridget joined me at one-point exclaiming how wonderful the weather was and how we needed to go ride bikes. I agreed that was a fun idea but remind her we must fulfill obligations before we play.
She would lend a hand here and there but inevitably her mind would wonder (in this weather who can blame her)… “Dad, it’s SO nice we need to go play tennis”. Mom would recruit her, or she would find herself watching YouTube till we insisted she go rider her bike up and down the street. Eventually we closed in on our work plans for the day and with Ana’s help we finished raking up the late falling leaves that had to wait out winter. By this time the sun was nearly set and Bridget’s demeanor had dropped seeing the missed opportunity.
“Daddy, I want to have an adventure!” she said with emphasis in an almost pleading tone. The choice of words, her sweet face and voice mixed with the pangs of guilt I felt delaying her wishes all day made it near impossible to resist. A glance at mom to see a nod of approval and I agreed. “You’re right we need some adventure, what did you have in mind?”
No adventure is complete without Geocaching in our family and as luck would have it a hike was planned today at Shawnee Mission Park. Looking to make the most of it we decided to make it an all-day affair incorporating two of her favorite things, fishing and biking.
We woke up early to load up the bikes, poles and tackle box. I went online to buy fishing licenses and we were off arriving near Ogg Road on the North side of the park. A large number of Geocachers were present and continued to arrive until the start. We made our way West and before we’d even made it to the first turn she was asking if we were halfway done, uh oh.
Several piggyback rides, stops for geocaches and the shuffling of 8 year old feet later and we arrived back at the starting coordinates having logged ~4.6 miles of walking. We took a break for lunch at IHOP before returning to fish. I’ve visited this park many times of the years but never for angling. There was a thin sheet of ice that still covered more than half of the lake so we visited the marina and a few peers to throw our lines in.
As a family we don’t fish often but Bridget had a new pole and tackle box she got for Christmas and she was very proud to carry it with her. Mom and I showed her how to prepare the line and cast off. Admittedly I rarely fished as a kid so mom had more wisdoms to share than I did. After a few hours we came up empty handed but I didn’t see anyone else with a catch either so I don’t feel too bad.
From there we went East towards the Theater In the Park amphitheater. There have been past geocaching picnics there but this early in the year the gate was closed so we had to ride our bikes up the steep hills to reach it.
Bridget was in heaven. So much asphalt and no cars to contend with. She rode her bike up and rolled down the gentle slope over and over. Mom and I found a geocache and played Pokémon in between rides but Bridget got her full kid groove on yelling and smiling the whole time.
On the way home she offered up that indeed today was an adventure and she hopes to do it again soon. We wrapped up the day seeing long time family friends to deliver Girl Scout Cookies and finally watching Captain Marvel in our home theater. Mom and I are exhausted, but we created a positive memory for our little girl and it was all totally worth it.