My heavy backpack belted tightly to me. Its contents and everything else strapped to it made me feel prepared and ready for our little adventure in "the wild".
An hour later and the contents are purposefully positioned around our temporary home. We're both knelt down in a forest clearing beside our well fuelled campfire, the tent is masterfully constructed, the super noodles are almost boiling, a tawny owl screeches in the distance, and my 6-year-old nephew (Alfie) and I are loving our outdoor adventure.
If life is a cake recipe that we are trying to perfect, then me and Alfie have got this outdoor adventure recipe down JUST RIGHT. And the icing on the cake is what - our hammock setup.
Now my nephew (like most energetic six year olds) has quite an imagination especially when in a forest full of sticks, trees, mud, creatures, leaves, fire, and his silly Uncle Greg. This isn't going to be the most relaxing of evenings I realise.
"Why are trees brown Greg?"
"Have you seen this Greg?"
"Can I burn this stick now Greg?"
"Can we climb that tree Greg?"
"Have you seen how many leaves I've got in my hood Greg?"
"My knee is bleeding Greg!"
"Can I have a drink please Greg"
"Alfie, have you laid in the hammock yet?" - Our evening was suddenly transformed.
He laid back, looked straight up at the tree tops and using a long dead branch I handed to him he began to make the hammock swing gently to his preferred beat. I then picked up a tea and clambered into the hammock chair. A whole half hour went by and as the sun set behind the dense forest, we didn't utter a word to each other. Not out of agreement, hammocks just seem to have that calming affect.
I love icing. I love my nephew. I love hammocks. I love life.