Ben don’t do hikes. That’s really a boring, mommy and daddy kind of thing. Don’t mention the “H” word to a 4-year-old, even one who logs five miles of meandering on an active day.
So when we set out for Point Defiance, I made it clear our trip was an “adventure.” “We’re going,” I explained, “to find the secret beach.” I had heard tales of a hidden trail that led through the forest down to a sandy beach. I had heard rumors that pirates once camped there on the shore. I had heard whispers that those pirates may have buried treasure there.
If you want the attention of a 4-year-old, even one whose mind is preempted with Pokemon-SpiderMan-HappyMeal-ActionHeros, mention something about pirate treasure.
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We arrived and parked at the unofficial trail along Five Mile Drive. He happily scampered down the trail ahead of his old man. When we reached the secluded beach, I suggested that we split up to hunt for pirate treasure. After a few minutes, I called his attention to my discovery: A big X mark over a shallow lump in the sand.
Ben dug in with his sandbox spade and uncovered a small green box. He took it over to our picnic blanket and carefully opened it. Treasure! The box was busting with coins, candy, medals and other cuiros, which he carefully inventoried over and over. When we got back home, he rushed in to tell Mom about our trip and show off the booty.
I don’t know. Maybe someday soon Ben will realize that the treasure chest looks exactly like an old bait box. Or that the items within seem to include an eighth grade science fair medal, an Irish punt piece and various Scout badges. Or that pirates didn’t bury Tootsie Rolls. But if he remembers our day together, he’ll really have something to treasure.