For family hikes, it used to be that we could throw the one kid in the backpack and go.
When there were two boys and they started to get smart, we didn't even call them hikes, because no one believed that, not even me. We called them "adventures," usually under a mile on a wide park trail with interspersed M&M breaks.
Then, as the dudes get a mind of their own, the bargaining began: if we finish this hike we will get an ice cream cone.
Now, it's Grand Old Duke Dad and Grand Old Duke Mom. We simply announce we're going. We march them up the hill and march them down again.
We announced the hike at Hartley Nature Center at 11:00 this morning, packed up the car and left.
Marched them up the Superior Hiking Trail, across the dam that makes Hartley Pond:
Marched them through the woods, the birch, oaks and maples lovely with the translucence of fall. Except the older one is outmarching us and would leave us in the dust.
Marched them up Hartley Knob, with its 360-degree views of wild Duluth, and down again.
I like it better this way. The older son likes it too, he's smiling. I think the poodle is smiling too.