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A Spring Hike

April 25, 2011 pm30 10:00 pm

The weather was beautiful today. Well, it was nice. And compared to the forecast, it was beautiful. Instead of thunderstorms, we had just a bit of drizzle. And less sun than we would have liked, but more than we were promised.

I went with a school group, another high school, up the Hudson Line to Garrison and hiked Sugar Loaf. It was nice to be out. The hike was moderate. I hurt a foot a while ago, and thought it was better, but this was the first test. Foot?  Ouch, blisters. But the previous hurt is still previous. And the weather cooperated. Even the rain was just a nice interlude. The bugs were not too thick, and no mosquitos yet. (we did find two tics).

The kids were great. Seventeen, about half and half seniors and juniors, with two mature sophomores. They loved being outside, and appreciated the opportunity. Sometimes I just swept, sometimes I talked (remember, I didn’t know any of them, not from my school), and they were interesting and pleasant. Eventually I had some sort of conversation with each of them. All were ESL, all Spanish speakers, and all from DR except one from PR and one from Honduras. The boy from Honduras, when I spoke, there was something about his accent. I thought. And then asked “What is your first language?” Bingo. Garifuna. And then he told me about his family, and how the younger siblings just use Spanish and English, but how he continues to use Garifuna at home.

The cactus on Sugar Loaf looked healthy, there had been some sort of burn going up from the meadow near the start of the trail, with fallen and standing trees both scorched, and there were plenty of small animals to entertain the kids. Chipmunks. Frogs. Toads. And one pileated woodpecker.

They played a game in Spanish, actually two games, that I sort of figured out. They assigned each player a rank, eg Captain. Then one player would say “I took roll and everyone was here except the Major” the Major would object “The major is here!” and the first player would ask “then who is missing?” and the Major would reply “The Lieutenant” at which point the Lieutenant would object “The lieutenant is here!” and the major would ask “Then who is missing?” and the lieutenant would say…

The object was speed. It was not easy to listen for your name/rank, and to remember when to jump back in. Much laughter. Later, they played the same game, but with parts of a cow. The kids playing the eyes and ears had fun, but the <i>culo</i> and <i>teta</i> were just plain silly.

My school returns to Breakneck Ridge in a few weeks. I can’t wait. (2007. 2008. 2010.)

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