One of the most wonderful things about our area is the amount of effort that the county puts into the parks. I used to think parks were all about the playground equipment, but we have grown to a point where we don’t focus on the equipment. This area wins a gold medal for the efforts put into preserving nature and manicuring gorgeous parks.
Nature Hikes and Research Skill Development
Last week, we discovered another hidden treasure of a park in our area. On the front, it looks like a baseball complex and dog park, but on the back side… a little piece of hidden serenity.
Yesterday, Pouty and I took a little one on one time to go see if we could discover some new trails. We discovered a lot more!
We started on a new trail that was more challenging than most of the others we had been on. There was a steep decline towards the river, and it was muddy. We had to really watch our footing to be sure we didn’t slip. We came to a point on that trail that looked like it hadn’t been traveled in quite some time, so we decided to turn around.
We started our backtracking when I saw Pouty jump and came back with the squeal of, “SNAKE!” I really thought it was a mistake, but I put her behind me and peered over the clump of tree roots. Sure enough, this little guy was slithering, ever so slowly and peacefully, across our foot path. He was in no hurry to get anywhere, so we waited for him to cross. He slithered towards us, in a curious – non-aggressive manner, and stopped to look at us. So, we took a couple of pictures and decided to get out of his way.
Pouty asked, What do you think he was thinking, Mommy?
I replied, I’m sure he slithered home squealing, Mommy! Mommy! I saw a little girl and an old lady! What do you think they thought when they saw me?
Once we passed by our little friend, we got back to the steep parts of the trail. The river was below us, and there were woods above. We heard a rustle and movement above and we both nearly jumped into the water! We looked up and there was a huge white tail deer! I couldn’t get my phone out quickly enough for him, so you’ll just have to trust us!
I also couldn’t get my phone out for the next beautiful creature we came across. We were walking across a boardwalk and to our left, in the water, was a gorgeous, great blue heron. What a majestic creature! We didn’t see him until he was in the air and he was so close we could have nearly touched his wings. What a breathtaking creature!
As we ventured along through the series of trails, we came across a raised platform/outlook called Birds Nest. This platform was about 10 feet high and looked over the swamp in 2 directions and the trails/woods in the other two. Pouty and I really enjoyed just sitting there, watching and listening to the birds.
Pouty and I were the only ones out there. Honestly, we both sat marveling at the love God has for us… He created those sights and sounds of nature for us. He created us to enjoy listening, to enjoy watching wildlife. God created us to be revitalized by breathing in such a peaceful type of air; air that is so different from city air. God loves us that much!!
Moving along, we were on another boardwalk, looking out across the swamp again. This time, way off in the distance, we finally spotted something we have been hoping to spot since our first visit. We saw a beaver! You have to look closely, but he is standing on his back legs way in the distance. I wonder if he was watching us, watching him…. (He’s to the left standing on that log under the tree branch.)
We also saw a couple of cute little chipmunks, lots of birds, dragon flies, and lots of stinging and biting bugs. OUCH!
Not only was this nature hike an opportunity for Pouty and I to spend some one on one time, but it was also a series of awesome teachable moments! Stay tuned tomorrow to see how we used these moments to develop her research skills!
Delight driven learning…It’s delightful!