Cleanup at Tree Three

by | Sep 1, 2018 | Every Day Life

The end of summer always comes with a bittersweet feeling for me. On one hand, warm evenings that stretch late with sunshine, taking my son on vacations and quick adventures without him missing school are the best. On the other hand, months of hot weather, the idea of cooler days, pumpkin spice everything, and my son starting back to school always makes me look forward to fall.
This year I took Raff hiking on the last Sunday afternoon before school started. I decided to head to Mount Nebo, which is only about a 15 minute drive from my house. Packing my picnic basket with meats, cheeses and crackers, and a couple of bottles of water, I pictured us hiking to a lookout point and having a nice picnic on the rocks while taking in the beautiful view. I grabbed a thick quilt to spread out and sit on while we enjoyed our snacks and packed everything in the back of my car.
We drove up the winding road to Nebo, narrowly missing some deer while going up a steep curve, and decided to park at Sunset Point and hike along the Rim Trail.
As we hiked, we encountered lots of deer, squirrels, and even caught a glimpse of a fox darting through the thick foliage. We trekked along for a good hour before arriving at our picnicking spot. I spread out the thick quilt. Raff slipped his shoes off and made himself comfy on the blanket before pilfering through the basket toting our goodies.
We had the best time just talking and laughing while we snacked. After we finished eating, I repacked our basket, careful to not leave behind any litter. We both stretched out on the quilt and looked at clouds, naming what they resembled in shape. The afternoon was warming so it was perfect for gazing at the blue sky. I was beginning to feel like I needed a nap, but I still had so much left to do so I begrudgingly sat up and started collecting our things. After refolding the quilt and getting everything packed up again, we headed back to the trail to finish our hike.
We hadn’t been back on the trail for more than 5 minutes when Raff started to complain about his stomach hurting.
“Well, we will be back to the car in just a few minutes, and you can recline the seat and relax.” I said.
“I don’t think I can make it back to the car,” Raff said.
“Do you need to sit down here and rest for a little while?” I asked as I looked around for a big rock for him to sit on.
“No, I think I need to go to the bathroom,” he said.
“Well we will be back to the car soon and we can go use the bathrooms at the visitors center,” I assured him.
“No, I don’t think I can make it,” Raff said, with a worried look on his face. “I have to go number two. That’s how serious it is.” He stared at me with round eyes.
“We are a long ways away from a bathroom. If you need to go that bad then you will have to go out here,” I warned him.
“Oh gosh. This just got real,” he said to himself as he glanced around for a good spot.
“We have to get off the trail. We can’t just be all number two-ing where everyone can see you,” I told him.
We looked around and found a perfect spot (as in perfect if you’re having to go to the bathroom in the woods) and I left Raff to it. A couple of minutes later I heard him call my name.
“Mom! How am I supposed to wipe? With leaves?” He asked with shock in his voice. I stifled a giggle.
“I think I have some napkins left in the basket,” I called to him. I rummaged through our stuff to find the spare napkins and walked back to where I had left him to do his business. When I got to him, he was pulling up his shorts.
“Do you not need these napkins?”
I asked.
“No, I just used leaves. I didn’t want to have to put those back in the picnic basket and carry them around. You know, so that we don’t leave litter,” he said sheepishly.
“Good thinking. Does your tummy feel better?” I asked.
“Yes, it feels so much better.” Raff said with relief.
Raff didn’t say much the rest of the hike. I thought maybe he was feeling embarrassed for having a bathroom emergency in the outdoors. I was preparing to comfort him and assure him that I wouldn’t tell anyone as we got our seat belts fastened in the car, when Raff said “Can I see your phone?”
“Sure,” I replied and handed it to him.
He immediately went to my contacts and began to call someone.
“Pappaw!” Raff said excitedly. “Guess what? I pooped in nature!” Raff proceeded to tell him about the belly ache, the leaves, and every other detail that I wouldn’t have shared had my life depended on it.
As we headed back into town, I stopped at a gas station. Raff wanted to go in to get a drink. I walked in with him as the clerk behind the counter greeted us and asked how our evening was going.
“It’s going great! I pooped in nature! And my Pappaw says I’m a real outdoorsman now!” I rolled my eyes. Of course, only boys would find pooping in nature to be a milestone for something.

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