Maggie: Wanna go for a walk?
Me: Oh, you don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Come along, lets get your coat and pink hat.
Which brings us to the poop. In Hawaii, most of my efforts at hiking were fairly limited due to one major issue: private land. Although Oahu does have a number of state and county parks, trails into the hinterland are often poorly constructed and sometimes impassible due to weather. Any number of online trail guides would direct you to any number of great trails; however, they often came with caveats such as “private land, trespassers will be prosecuted,” or “send $5 right-of-way fee to owner before proceeding on trail.” So pretty much any spontaneous need to hike the Ko’olau’s was tempered by the lyrics of a Five-Man Electric Band song.
That said, England is almost the exact opposite of Hawaii. There are public footpaths and bridleways all over the country. In fact the English government has made it even easier to pretty much walk anywhere without fear of repercussions through the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which pretty much allows you the right to walk on any moorland, downland or heathland. So when trudging across farm fields, over stiles, and through cattle gates, you will be sure to encounter plenty of cow patties and sheep landmines. Of course, it is easy to keep her cooped up in a Beco carrier, but once on the ground an eager two-year old will run everywhere. Turning around just in time, I was able to keep Maggie from diving head-long into a pile of bull hooey.
Me: No, no, no Maggie, do not step in that!
Maggie: What’s that?
Me: That is poop.
Maggie: That’s poop? That’s POOP. THAT’S POOP!!!!!
For the next two hours, every circular brown patch was called out, identified, and noted on Maggie’s travel bingo card. [Ed. note: Maggie does not actually have a travel bingo card. Perhaps we should start her with an animal scat pictogram card and work our way up from there.]
So, feel free to traipse around the many bridleways and public footpaths around the country. With that in mind, always remember to be dexterous and deft…because you have entered the realm of the sheep and the cow.