Monday, 3 May 2010

Indiana Jack

We went to Becky Falls in Devon on May Bank Holiday. It's kind of a wilderness preserve and woodlands park smashed together. There's a small petting zoo and some falconry. The main showpiece is obviously the waterfall to which is about a thirty minute hike. It's honestly one of the better days out that we've been on. Jack loved petting the bunnies and a goat licked his chin and nibbled his collar. He realized in the car on the way home that technically the goat had tried to eat him... The hike to the falls is a bit bland because most of the wildlife they promote as viewable on the trail is actually the random local wildlife of the area. So they're smart enough to not be around when people are. The falls themselves are a bit of a let down, but that might just be because I've seen a lot of water falls in my day. There was one thing that really made the whole thing worth while though, that was The Challenge.

The Challenge is simple. You collect a free card at the gift shop. On this card is a chart of a bunch of different pictures of animals and flowers found in the area. You then take the card and go one of the trails looking for posts. Each post has a box containing a stamp and an arrow pointing which direction to go. When you find the post you use its attached stamp to stamp the matching picture on your card. Once all stamps are collected a prize is won. The prize is a choice of the same kinds of things that you can purchase for twenty-five tickets or less at a video arcade. Jack already had his eye on one prize bin in particular.

I've honestly never seen Jack take something so seriously in his whole life. After he got a fix on what it was he was looking for he became obsessed. He ran along the trail looking for the posts, he'd spot each on and shout out its location. When we'd caught him up he'd have already read the directional arrow and worked out which direction we needed to go next.

As soon as the stamp was on the card he'd set off again, with or without us. One by one he found all the posts himself, and more or less guided us along the trail as well. With each post located he grew more confident and more excited about completing the challenge and getting the prize.

About half way through. We came across a family who were blocking the path. Jack wasted no time in approaching them 'Excuse me, we're trying to win a prize.' They all laughed and asked him about the prize but Jack wasn't very conversational, he wormed his way between them and ran down the path. What he was really saying was, 'Get out of the way, you're holding up the expedition, there's a prize on the line.'

Over the second half the trail started to get a bit gnarly with roots and Jack's pace was becoming a concern. Helen asked him to slow down and walk normally to which he replied. 'No, I'm in charge. I'll run.' Shortly after that he tripped and decided that he should maybe slow down a bit but that didn't in anyway change the pecking order. A few minutes later Helen and I found ourselves in the front of the line after Jack took a minor detour to look for creatures. Once he noticed we were ahead of him he quickly caught me up, stated 'Excuse me, I'm in charge' and pushed his way past Helen and I.

We completed the challenge, we collected all the stamps and Jack got his prize, a tiny green bouncy ball... His leadership faded somewhat after that until soon he was just his usual self. In the car on the way back to the campsite Helen and I talked about his being 'in charge' as this isn't the first time we've heard this, Jack heard us talking and declared 'I am in charge, I am... I'm in charge, of eating, pooing and all kind of things. I eat, and poo, and eat and poo.'

All in all it was a great day out. We spotted a wild horse on the way in, I've never seen a horse outside of captivity before, or even really considered it. We got to meet an pet one of the resident owls, Mrs. Merlin, and we learned something about Jack. Jack is a treasure hunter.

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