Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grindstone Creek with Friends

Hello again!
    Today was our last hike before the school year starts next Monday (Labor Day). The rubber is hitting the road with school prep right now, but we HAD to take time for another hike. We spent over 2 HOURS hiking around (to be honest, it was more walking and less hiking). Overall, the kids really enjoyed it. I know the adults really enjoyed it and with a few minor exceptions, I thin the children really did too. All of our hikes through the year after this will have themes and purposes to them. So, this is the last "for fun" hike with the kids that has no specific educational purpose to it, just fun. So here it is, the pictures of our adventure.

   There were 4 adults and 8 children all together with ages (for children) ranging from 3 to 14. The boys enjoyed racing ahead and there were times the girls had an itch and started running around too.

The beginning of the hike. This is the first bridge we come to. It's a pretty view.
Here I'm on the bridge looking down at Eva who is throwing rocks into the water. It's one of her favorite things to do.
Another view from the top of the bridge.
A little bit down the path, another view of the stream. It was such a beautiful day for a hike! Very relaxing.
It's really amazing the number of birds you hear (but don't usually see) through this stretch of the trail. It's lovely to just stand and listen to their songs in the shade with the breeze blowing.
The path ahead. Eva you can see peeking up at the bottom. The brush in this area is quite over grown and some of the "weeds" are taller than I am!
Eva REALLY wanted her picture taken. "SMILE!"
Another picturesque view.
I think this is a Goldfinch, Mike doesn't agree. He doesn't think there's enough black on it. It's not the best picture, but they wouldn't hold still and when they did, the camera usually focused on the branch in front of it. Either way, he's a beauty!
More of the stream.
The water is deeper here and the girls REALLY enjoyed looking into the water. They found a toad, a crawfish and some other things through here. They were rightly proud of themselves for their observations.
Here's Caleigh's back side. Lovely isn't it? :-) She was examining a tiny little caterpillar. She was SO excited!
Down the stream from a-top of another bridge.
Eva is certain she can carry these enormous binoculars. They're quite heavy. She's tough though. She lasted another 20 yards after this!
They all found chickadees to feed!
These pretty little orange flowers were all over! Aren't they lovely?
As Michelle and I were coming up on this group of excited youngsters we wondered, what could possibly have them that excited that is staying so still? Well, we weren't going to have to wait long for an answer.
A cute, small, dead creature. I believe someone called it a vole or a mole. Although, I think moles are larger than this, but I could be wrong. Either way, Eva was sure it was a mouse and it was cute and sleeping. As long as she left it alone, I wasn't going to argue. It wasn't there on the way back through though, so something must have decided to make it a part of the food chain.
This amazing bird is a Cooper's Hawk. He was sitting aloft in a tree eyeing something. Quite majestic looking isn't he? Mike loves birds of prey, so does Sam. He got a great picture! Perhaps it was he who took the vole?
A lovely lotus flower amongst the lily pads.
Our faithful friend the chickadee.
Eva going across yet another bridge.
Down the boardwalk she goes. She was quite excited to keep going.
A view from the hill of the marsh below. I never get tired of looking at this.
Swans and ducks. The kids LOVED looking at them!
Beautiful isn't it? This boardwalk spans the marsh in one area. Ducks on both sides, birds and squirrels everywhere. Wonderful day for a hike.
Red Wing Black Birds
Little turtle on a log.
Continuing down the trail. This tree in the foreground has a sign on it that says "Fish Sanctuary". Michelle, Scott, Mike and I had a little too much fun with that. One of the kids asked about where we were. I told them it was where fish went to church. Michelle added that the music wasn't that good there though, they only knew scales and Scott mentioned that they were always fishing for compliments. :-) I guess the kids thought their parents were a little nutty.
This is in the same area, it looks like it may have been a boat launch at one time. Perhaps people who lived around there took canoes into the marsh to fish?
The kids enjoy walking over this log, it's nice they  made steps out of it.
A Crane is just standing in the water. It took a bit to peel Mike away from here. He really enjoys birds and the bigger they are, the more interested he is.
Another lovely specimen of the bird family. I still have to look up what he is. We watched him for quite a while. The children were fascinated as they watched him catch and eat several small fish. It amazed me that for as loud as they were, they didn't scare it away.
Now we're nearing the end of our trip. You can see fall is starting and the leaves are slowly beginning to change. This is my favorite time of year. As the weather cools, the sky greys and the leaves change and drop from the trees. When the rain comes and dampens the earth, I'm quite content to take a walk or read a book by the window. Isn't this a lovely time of year?

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