This week, while I hunkered down for the start of classes, Dr. Free-Ride’s better half took the Free-Ride offspring camping.
They camped near Big Sur, which provided ample opportunities to hike near the ocean (and to swim in it). Indeed, on one of these hikes the first day out, they spotted some otters:
The Free-Ride offspring describe these as a mother and baby otter. I’m not sure that I’m ready to rule out the possibility that the parental otter here might be the father.
At one point, coming back to the campsite, they noticed some avian company:
The elder Free-Ride offspring thinks it was a red-tailed hawk. “It had wings with black and white stripes on the tips. The tail was reddish-brown underneath and black and white striped on the top. The rest of it was brown except for its belly and chest, which were white. And, it looked like it wanted to catch a squirrel.”
There were, apparently, ground squirrels a-plenty, plus the usual assortment of lizards one sees on a hike in this part of California.
Also, the Free-Ride offspring saw some wild rabbits, including this one:
But I will confess, as much as I share the sprogs’ enthusiasm for encounters with cool critters, I was even happier when the younger Free-Ride offspring described their camp meals and displayed a piece of thermodynamic insight:
“We made s’mores, but they didn’t really work exactly right. They weren’t melty enough. The marshmallows were nice and melted on the inside, but I think the chocolate was too cold for the hot marshmallows to melt it enough.”
It makes a parent proud.