|Everglades National Park (February 2012)|
Laurel told her uncle, "Sometimes my dad forgets me". This was in reference to hiking trips I took with just Kellisa because the trails were too long and/or hard for Laurel at the time. I was working on getting Kellisa to each state and figured I had an extra 10 years to worry about getting Laurel to all 50 states by her 18th birthday. Laurel joined Kellisa on several trips and was ahead of Kellisa at the same age as far as states visited. Laurel never said anything and always seemed OK with staying home. But, everything changed when I heard that she was feeling forgotten.
To keep things fair, I was taking Laurel on our own trips. Some had a hiking component, but most were centered around wildlife which Laurel showed a great interest. Her favorite animal is the polar bear, so we traveled to the Memphis Zoo to see their polar bears. I'll never forget the disappointment on Laurel's 4-year-old face when she realized that she would not be allowed to pet the polar bears.
Since Laurel shared her feelings, she has been included on almost every hiking trip with Kellisa.
Manatee Viewing Center
Everglades National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park
The Birmingham Zoo
Land Between the Lakes