Yesterday we set out on an adventure to Lake Mangamahoe with two of our closest home schooling families. First stop was blackberry picking! I have really fond memories of this from my own childhood. I grew up on a farm under Mount Taranaki and there were oodles of blackberry bushes, everywhere. Nom. The kids have never had this experience though, so it was lovely to share it with them.
We’d been told that there were a few bushes just off the bridle trail near the lake, so we met there first and had our fill. The kids enjoyed treking in and out of the paths people before us had made – though were not impressed by the thorns! Natalie thoroughly enjoyed eating the fresh berries, while the other two abstained after I mentioned the possibility of making blackberry pie later on.
After they’d had enough we drove back toward the entrance to the lake to a really nice picnic spot and shared some food. The kids had fun running around, and while the pic to the right is terrible quality (the next phone I get is going to have to have a decent camera!) I adored that they all went off for their own private little powpow away from the adults. It was super cute.
I also adored seeing my youngest make new connections. She got me to pick her up and then said ‘I want her to carry me’, ‘her’ being one of our newer homeschool mum friends. Natalie didn’t know her name, but she’d obviously spent enough time around her to want to forge a new friendship, and she wanted me to help her facilitate that. I never force my kids to spend time close to someone that they don’t want to, which makes these moments more beautiful for me.
Natalie and her new friend then went for a walk, looking at some flowers, before joining some of the other kids on a jetty just across from us. They dangled their legs off the edges, and leaned down toward the water, and a couple of the boys climbed underneath so that they could play at being trolls while the kids on top got to trit-trot across the boards.
After the kids had eaten their fill, and had enough of this area, we put our bags in the cars and headed off along the walkway to the lookout. There are a few tracks around the lake, and I’ve never actually been around any of them, so it was fun to head off into the unknown. There were a couple of awesome swing bridges along the way and as the kids were running ahead they would stop and pass along the limits of the bridge (only two people at a time) and make sure that everyone followed the rules.
After a massive climb upwards, we finally made it to the lookout. It’s a gorgeous view, though a lot lovelier to look at when the water level isn’t so low. We’ve had very little rain lately, so had plenty of opportunity to talk about how that was impacting on the lake. I waited at the top with one of the boys for his mother and her youngest, while the rest of the crew headed onward to the redwood forest.
By the time I finally caught up to them they were heading back, so I didn’t get to see it. The kids were dusty, hot and tired after the walk so it was a fairly slow trip back to the car, with a well deserved stop for an ice cream on the way home 😉
Was an awesome outing, and while the kids are all tired and doing not a lot of anything today, we’re looking forward to more trips out and about with these friends. I love the way the kids interact, and the fact that I get to share time with these other awesome women.
And last night I got to enjoy home made fresh blackberry pie 🙂 Been years since I’ve done that! Funny how my brain has never thought to make it with frozen berries, or ones we’ve got from the store. Blackberry pie seems reserved for the moments when I can pick them myself.