This post was last updated on July 11th, 2014 at 12:52 pm
As part of our emerging “Friday Food Flicks” theme, we chronicle our food adventures in our own backyard. The adventures tie into our adventures in the fall of 2009 when one of the coolest things ever happened to us here on the property: We discovered a road that had not seen human traffic in 70 years. The property has been in the family for 30 years and is only five acres — the discovery of a road was a surprise indeed. We called it “The Lost Road” and had a great time inviting friends to see it, marveling at how scary it was, and cleaning the areas around it to gain access.
Never has so much fun been had over what is a fairly small patch of dirt.
The Lost Road Discovery
The discovery itself was a bit of an adventure since accessing the road required pruners and rope. My 8-year-old son (at the time) and I attempted to access the road together, got as far as the top of the road, when my son looked out at the over-grown untrafficked road and declared, “Mama, I think this was a mistake.” (Read it here.)
I snapped a picture of him that day and later laughed. The picture itself looks like the poster for a horror movie.
I posted an open invitation on social media sites to explore The Lost Road for the first time on Halloween Day of 2009. To my surprise, my phone rang. Friends arrived on Halloween for homemade pancakes and an unusual hike. That day was the beginning of our “Scary Lonely Hiker Photo” series, inspired by my son’s first walk on the road.
Times were good. A simple patch of land inspired a lot of fun but we then had to put it on hold. My infant son started walking and had a sense of adventure. He was a toddler who could get really lost on The Lost Road and who was just too young to understand the danger he would face if he explored the area of the property on his own. The rest of us agreed that the north side of our property was completely off limits. We did not hike on it, clean it, or even glance in its direction. None of us appeared interested in it and it did not exist for Alastair either.
Those three years were a complete success in keeping him safe in the forest.
As each season has passed, I have thought of all the nettle leaf soup and mushroom sautes we could have harvested from that rugged terrain and yet I wait. I considered introducing him to the area this past year at the age of four but I hesitated.
The Lost Road Returns
The turning point came this summer when, within the period of a few weeks, Alastair was introduced in a very real way to wild animals. First, he was walking to the garden to meet his grandma when he caught sight of a young black bear harvesting our plums. He ran inside screaming, “wild animal!” and shutting all the doors. He had done exactly what he was told: “Keep a look out for wild animals and, if you see one, get to safety and tell an adult.” Weeks later a mountain lion actually got stuck in our hammock creating a story even stranger than “The Lost Road” (deserving its own telling someday) and reinforcing the point that the most aggressive of predators frequent our property. (Mountain lions will literally eat you alive, especially if you are a small child. They are very bad business and they have been the main reason for our concern with Alastair and The Lost Road.)
In a fun “coming of age” moment, I sat the former-toddler-turned-preschooler down with his Lost Road-experienced brother and we read the old posts about our adventures. I deemed Alastair old enough to join us if he could follow instructions carefully and promise never to go by himself. He has some understanding of “death by wild animal” growing up in a forest and displays some general caution. He seemed to be ready.
We chose Christmas Day as the beginning of our new adventure.
We prepped with a mountain lion pep talk. Check.
(That’s my sister dancing around back there.)
Some hesitancy in there….
And the entry to The Lost Road, steep enough to require a rope, is…..
We encountered this beast before in our first-ever entry on The Lost Road memorialized in Our First Attempt: “Mama, This Was A Mistake”.
Sure, there are a lot of animals on our property, many of which would be capable of eating a rope. Oddly, our two other ropes in the area are completely intact. It is just the rope at the entry of The Lost Road that has been eaten.
Read The Lost Road highlights from the past at our house website:
- Found: “The Lost Road”
- Our First Attempt: “Mama, This Was A Mistake”
- Exploring the Road, a New Tradition is Born