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Once I was Blind...Seeing Nature through a Child's Eyes

This is a nicely written story that we excerpted from the Cascade Subaru website. It deals with the very different way that children and adults see the outdoors and the world. For all of us wanting to get kids outdoors there are important lessons to consider.

Once I was Blind...Seeing Nature through a Child's Eyes
by Glen Carlson

Once I was blind...

Well, maybe not blind.

I saw but didn’t see. My lack of vision is more a matter of conditioning than a condition. It’s like the billboards on my way to work. No matter how colossal, clever, or colorful they are, their messages soon melt away into the mix of everyday exposure. I am not even aware of the moment when my eyes narrow, glaze over and ignore what is in plain sight.

During a camping trip to the Icicle River this weekend, I was reminded that it’s not only clutter that gets erased. The vibrancy of rich personal experiences can also dim in the shadow of routine. My hiking outlook needed a new set of eyes. I found them twinkling in the grinning face of my 8-year old grandson, Taden. Our third companion would be Noble the wonder dog.

I picked the Rock Island Campground as our getaway for two reasons. It sits high in the valley, which means cooler temperatures than the 100-degree readings in Wenatchee. I also thoroughly enjoy the Icicle Gorge River Trail. It loops the river in a delightful meander conducive to young legs and frequent stops. This trip was not about power hiking; it was about a young boy and a black dog walking in the wonder of life that lives outdoors.

We were fortunate, on a late Friday afternoon, to secure a great campsite overlooking the rock of Rock Island. Here is where the Icicle splits, bends and dips, merrily sluicing froth as it goes. Camp was made in a whirr of efficiency and boots laced for an evening stroll of exploration. The temperatures were indeed cooler, but the mountain sky also darker and a bit threatening when we set out.

Across the river and into the woods we followed a network of trails. My normal inclination is to cover ground, Taden’s is to pause and ponder. If we were horses, he’d be jerking back on my reins and I’d be tapping his flanks with my heels. Truth is, I soon went from canter to walk. When I did, I begin to see what Taden saw...

For the rest of Glen's story, click here.