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After the sweltering heat of summer, we rejoice at the hint of fall in the air. The temperature dips at night, the gardens are ripening, and school beckons to our children.

Here and there we spy a colored leaf, harbinger of the colorful scene that will paint the countryside. This becomes a delightful time to take hikes with children and/or grandchildren when the days are a bit cooler and our energy renewed.

Hikes of Many Types

Hikes can be of many types, depending on where you live and the age of your companions. Some are short, no longer than a half hour because young children's short legs tire. Others may be day hikes, when you pack a lunch to eat beside a bubbling brook or from a mountainside.

You can go for a weekend, backpacking your sleeping bag and small tent along...or trekking out from a campground where you park your camper.

Hikes Around the Neighborhood

My grandson, now 7 years old, considers a hike across our woods to the neighboring development and its low traffic road "an adventure with Nanny." We stop to pick up stones that he'll drop in a small brook and create a splash. We look for grasshoppers, colored leaves, and listen to birds' calls. We identify trees and discuss their different leaves.

I'm transported to the simpler days of my childhood when similar
pleasures accompanied hikes in the woods and meadows around the farm where I grew up. I also recall those walks with our daughter around a large lawn and adjacent fields.

These later became longer hikes and camping trips with her as we explored the White Mountains and finally the Rockies of Wyoming. We created memories that have held us close as a family.

Hiking Foods

We always have to take a snack and water on our hikes, no matter if they're only in the neighborhood. That seems to be part of the fascination of these jaunts.

So Alex and I might tote a zip bag of pretzels with some chocolate bits mixed in. Or we might have a few cookies to sustain us on our tour.

Foods for day trips need to be something light to carry in our packs, yet full of energy. Our minds turn to gorp and food bars, a sandwich, peanut butter crackers, energy cookies.

APPLESAUCE COOKIES - You might want to try these cookies with a fruit base, then add raisins, chocolate chips, and nuts.

Cream together: 1/2 cup shortening with 1 egg and 1 cup sugar.

Sift together: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups flour.

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 cup applesauce. Add to creamed mixture.

Stir together, alternating dry and creamed ingredients.

Add 1 cup raisins or chocolate bits (or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup
chocolate bits) and 1 cup chopped nuts of desired type.

Drop on greased cookie sheets with teaspoon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

(c)2002 Mary Emma Allen

(Mary Emma Allen has been writing "Country Kitchen" columns for nearly 40 years, sharing recipes, food history, and family stories. She also writes and illustrates books for children and adults. Visit her web site:;
E-mail: [email protected])

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