Richmond 2015 – Day One
There is a wonderful art camp my children attend each summer in Richmond, Virginia. Many mothers think I am insane for traveling so far for art camp but when we arrive, we are with our tribe. My children love the art camp and the art camp counselors are always thrilled to see my kids. So, when it came time to sign up for camps this summer, we made sure to put our names on the list early. I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work out adding our new baby to the mix so we committed to only one week.
It has been an incredibly rainy summer here in Virginia. The first day of camp was no exception. It poured as we drove down I-95 in the morning.
We dropped the girls off for camp with their new backpacks.
The boys and I headed off in search of an adventure to occupy us for the day. I had a loose list of activities in mind for the week. For today, I thought we would try Belle Island. I set off driving in roughly the right direction, when I saw a green tourist sign BELLE ISLAND with an arrow. I made the appropriate turn and found myself in an unfamiliar parking lot.
There were not many cars present. Just a few hikers and one family driving a run-down pickup truck. The boys were asleep so we hung out in the car for a little bit. I read and dozed a bit until they woke up.
My preschooler was ready to run! We set off on the trail.
This was a different entrance to the James River Park system than we were used to but it looked awfully familiar for some reason. We crossed a railroad bridge and wound down a set of steps. Below us beautiful views of rocks and the river beckoned.
At the bottom of the staircase, we decided to go for the “dry rocks” section. This is an area of large rocks separated by small rivulets of water. The deepest water was about one foot. My son thought this looked like a huge climbing playground and it was! It was a bigger challenge for mom to get across as I had the baby strapped to me in a sling.
There is no set trail for the dry rocks. You can go in any direction. We tended to look for the easiest path.
We wandered back toward the bridge to the parking lot. I gave my son a choice. We could either go find some swings to play on at the nearby park or walk down the trail in the other direction. To my great surprise, he chose the trail . . . with enthusiasm!
We turned and walked back toward the car. Generally, we were all alone on the trail so I was spooked when someone silently came up behind us and needed to pass. I screamed and then laughed in embarrassment.
Little did I know the biggest surprise was yet to come!