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tonight after my post work ride I was walked into a house lit with glow sticks
seems the boys got into a box that arrived for Halloween
lisa let them each have one glow stick
which gave each of them two glow sticks after they retrieve some frozen glow sticks from the other night

as the days are getting shorter and it is getting darker earlier
I lured the boys on another hike in the woods

the notion of the glow sticks in the dark woods was enough to get everyone excited
I asked lisa to help them gather their shoes as I stripped out of my lycra cycling gear and into something more suitable for a hike in the woods

lisa had already walked brutus
but... since the boys were motivated I figured we would stick with the momentum

the hike started slow
the boys were intent on stopping and investigating anything that resembled a mushroom
at one of the anti-erosion barriers I had built on the trail the boys got on their knees for a closer look
they got in real close and drew me in with them
I had seen the mushrooms from a walking position from the other direction
this was the first time I looked at things from this angle
at a closer look underneith a little shelf that one of the logs creates there was a little collection of cigarette butts
it seems that what was built as a terraced stair to catch run off and slow run off works as a nice short stoop for someone

a natural place to sit on the trail
a place for taking a break
a place for sneaking a cigarette

a secret hiding place for the secret cigarette

there they have their own little landfill
where they can watch the sunrise or escape the house for a few minutes
then tuck their cigarette butt where no one can find them

rather than get angry I let this discovery of the little landfill educate me

grant had grown tired of his now flavorless sugar free gum and then asked if he should swallow it
instead of teaching him to spit it off the trail or chuck the gum into the woods
I told him that he should not swallow it
but instead hand it to me so I can put it in the trash when we got home
I put his gum and my gum in an already empty Gatorade bottle that I was carrying in my back pocket

the boys picked up the pace
only stalling for a few more mushrooms
some I had seen previously
others that the boys discovered on their own
they took pride in their discoveries

with a petzel headlamp on my head I tried to light the trail ahead of me
in the headlamp's glow grant moved effieciently
I tried to keep pace with fast little grant
dean moving faster ahead in the dark took a few spills

one of the spills was on some off camber roots that looked like they may cause some hurting to the hips
but... he got up each time, brushed off the dirt, and jumped back in at a fast pace
I love it when my boys are tough
although I do not mind it when they are sensative as it is their nature

of course... I hate it when they whine

the hike looped around without incident
there was one meeting where brutus got to prance and play with a young puppy
dean did argue with grant about being the leader as grant made a pass after one of dean's falls
grant accepted dean's offer to be second leader
we did not see anyone else other than the man and his young dog

well... there was that long stretch of cars on Beach Drive down the valley of Rock Creek Park
we watched the cars as dean took a short breather
by this time grant was taking a short breather on my shoulder

right before a steady rolling twisty piece of singletrack I put grant back down
grant marched the last bit of climb

the boys love to run down hill in the woods

they both got ahead of me
the lack of light worried me
but the familiarity with the trail helped them
it was not quite dark yet
but definitely dark enough that everyone had to focus on what was up ahead

once home I grabbed my camera and went back into the woods to snap a shot of the little cigarette landfill
when crossing the street I watched the man who lives in the woods down the street that we have come to know as screaming man
as he went down the hill he waved his crutch in the air
cars raced up the hill
I questioned his comfort between the parked cars and the fast moving late rush hour traffic
but... he has walked that stretch of road many times

as he screamed I moved across the road and into the woods
now needing the blue light of my petzel
flashed a few shots
then rushed back inside before the boys ate all the pizza

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