Hi Gang! Please welcome Ernie Allison to the Mommy Hiker Blog! Ernie is a grandfather of two, a Nature Enthusiast and a self-proclaimed Bird Nerd!
I consider myself to be a pretty lucky person. I've lived a great life full of wonderful children who have blessed me with even more wonderful grandchildren. I'm to the age now where I can pretty much do whatever I please, and boy do I enjoy it!
Being outdoors and bird watching have been a passion of mine for a very long time and I spend every moment possible doing so. The only thing in the world I would rather be doing is spending time with my grandkids. Now here's where I consider myself to be an exceptionally lucky person—my grandkids enjoy being outdoors and bird watching too!! That's right, I get to have my cake and eat it too! (Yes, I realize that was corny but I'm old so please forgive me.)
Now that it's starting to warm up outside, I have been able to take my grandkids on quite a few nature hikes. Being that I'm a giant bird nerd, we always make a point of keeping our eyes peeled for any birds that might happen to be flying overhead, or resting on a branch. Considering how much of a ruckus 3 young boys can make, I'm pretty surprised that we see as many as we do.
My youngest grandson, Matt, has an uncanny ability to remember the names of birds. He's always the first one to shout out a name when we spot a bird. Sometimes he even throws the Latin name out there which I would say is pretty impressive for a 7 year old. This is lucky for me because I'm rarely put on the spot anymore when it comes to identifying birds.
On our most recent hike we went to a place in the Owyhee Mountains called Jump Creek Canyon. It's only a short drive from where we live so it is the perfect place for us to go for a nice day hike. Just as the name suggests, the trail follows a creek through the canyon to a waterfall that is deep enough to jump off of.
It's still a bit chilly to go swimming but of course that didn't stop my grandsons and neither did I. Watching each of my grandsons leap off a ledge and into a pool of water is always a treat for me. Their faces light up as they whoop and holler and even when they are shivering cold in the canyon breeze, their smiles never leave their faces.
As you can imagine, they begged and pleaded for me to jump with them. One of the perks of being a grandparent is that you rarely ever have to tell your grandkids "no" (that's their parent's job) but this was an exception for me. As it turned out, my luck kicked in again and I was able to use the excuse of being the 'official cameraman'. I’m dreading the day when they figure out that they camera can be removed from around my neck. I may be old but I’m not crazy enough yet to face that cold water!
I’m excited for the summer ahead because of the time it means I get to spend with my grandkids. While I'm lucky enough to be able to see them all year-round, summers are the opportune time because they aren't as busy with schoolwork and afterschool activities. I plan to take them to Jump Creek Canyon many more times through the course of summer as well as to some new locations.
I feel like this is the point where I should be wrapping up my hiking and bird watching plans with my grandkids but it's something that I never get tired of talking about. Lucky for me, I never have to stop.___________________________________________
About the Author
Ernie Allison is a self-proclaimed bird nerd who never tires of testing his luck. His family will tell you that he always has something to say which is perhaps why he enjoys writing for Bird Feeders, the supplier of squirrel proof bird feeders.