Dateline April 9, 2023: Come on Lily! Come on 9! We’re going on an expedition!


You mean an Easter egg hunt?


Great question but no, 9. I mean a real adventure. We’re going for a hike at Bennington Lake.


Isn’t it kind of cold for that?


Not if we bundle up, Lily. Jeans, insulated shirt, turtleneck, fleece, down vest. Check, check, check, check and check!


But it’s a holiday.


The best kind of day to get out and move! It’s spring, the weather is survivable, and I’m packing us a lunch. Or, as people on expeditions say, provisions.


Like what?


Interesting hint of skepticism in your tone, 9. I think it’s a very good lunch. Killer egg salad sandwich on a bun, a Cosmic Crisp apple and two shamrock sugar cookies.

An expedition requires provisions!


It’s Easter, not St. Patrick’s Day.


I don’t think the cookies know the difference, Lily, and they’re a shortbread variety that keeps incredibly well. Also, we’ll take the water bottle.


Fine, you carry it.


Come on, you two, shake a leg! We’re headed for adventure.


Bennington Lake is a favorite recreation spot for many- -walkers, runners, dog walkers, people on horseback, even people in boats fishing on the lake (which is technically a reservoir). It’s maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers and has miles and miles of trails with gorgeous views of the Blue Mountains, the surrounding farmland, and the lake, itself.

Dateline: Right now today. Lily, 9 and I tackled our expedition with gusto.


Speak for yourself.


Since both of you are inner versions of me, I think I am speaking for myself, Lily. At our first stop following the 25-minute ascent from the lower parking lot we broke into the provisions. A polite girl in a pink windbreaker was seated at the one-table picnic shelter when we got there and very nicely agreed to share with us. She looked to be about twelve or fourteen and was by herself. Also, she was reading a book- -pink cover with artwork that suggested a middle grade romance. She seemed relaxed and content, like she was reading in her own back yard.


I liked that she was reading but I’ll admit I don’t like “girly” books nearly as much as I like fantasy. I had a huge fight with my former best friend about that once.


I remember that, Lily. She was reading “The Pink Dress” and called our book, “The Wicked Enchantment” by Margot Benary-Isbert, a baby book.


And we didn’t get the cookies when we stopped.


Nope, just the sandwich and a couple of swallows of water because you need to ration your provisions, 9, in case of emergency.


I was having a cookie emergency.



Moving right along, I’m certain the water bottle was heavier when we resumed our journey. Instead of following the reverse path back to the parking lot we hiked around the east side of the lake and encountered something that truly surprised me: we discovered the place where Christmas trees go to die!


Seen on the expedition: the Christmas tree burial ground!


It gave me the creeps!


Me, too, Lily, like an evergreen mass grave. We lingered just long enough to get the picture- –


Not long enough to eat the cookies, you mean.


That, too. Because I was eager for you two to see a spot that I for some reason think of as Land of the Giants.


Midway through our expedition: Land of the Giants!


Looks like the Giants got interrupted playing with Legos.


That’s the way I see it, too, Lily, but for those more technically inclined I got the real world scoop from an engineering friend. The blocks are baffle blocks that would be at the start or end of the concrete channel they use to fill and empty the lake.


The Giants are more fun.


I agree, 9. You must have liked all the wonderful dogs we saw along the way?


Especially the Corgi/Blue Heeler mix! She was so cute.


Sadly, I was too shy to ask the owner for picture of her.


The Land of the Giants was the point where we turned back and walked the trail on the west side of the lake. Here’s what it looked like from above:


Namesake of our Expedition grounds: Bennington Lake.


I was pretty thirsty by then and took a few more swigs of water. All three of us were feeling it, nearly five miles in an hour and twenty minutes with enough ascent to give the hamstrings a good stretch.


Speaking of ham, about those cookies. . .


It was nice to have them in reserve, and the apple, too, at the end of our expedition. We enjoyed all of it in the Subaru, looking out over the wheat fields and contemplating the sights we’d seen. And you know what?

At expedition’s end: cookies!

They were just about the darn best cookies I’ve ever eaten.


Nothing like an expedition to make you appreciate the little things.

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