Monday, December 7, 2009

Roxbourough State Park-2

This is one of our first Nature Study Hikes and it was quite a traumatic one. Just after the bridge and the stream the path got really narrow and yet we kept going because we expected it to open up more and it did at times, just enough to fool us into keep going. By the time I got half way through the hike, I finally called for help. I called David and he gave me the name of the Park Rangers, who were off on a hike of their own. What was supposed to be an hour long at most hike ended up being 5-6 hours. We ran out water, had no snacks, and lost Mr. S's shoe. I had no baby carrier and kept him in the stroller to keep going. Finally we got to the top and some kind people gave us some water and we had some gum which kept us going. But the kids were freaking out and I was only worried cause we didn't have any more water and I didn't see any more streams since just before it got bad. And for hours we didn't see another soul. So here I am with four kids in the forest with no water and little food. Later when emptying out a back pack we found a package of girl scout cookies. The rangers finally were able to help us just as we finally made it out with David's help who had to come rescue us and bring us water. Then it poured rain, massive amount of thunder and lighting and hail on the last 1/2 mile or so. So all the pictures were from the bridge and before. The camera with these pictures were left in that stroller and up and until two days ago I hadn't used it in about a month and I was actually getting ready to buy another camera soon (as it seems that two cameras are nice or if we had an extra battery for one. But they are older and the kids enjoy using them a lot.
So enjoy the pictures from the more enjoyable portion of the Nature Hike. Now my nature bag has two packages of trail mix for emergencies and their nature bags are extra stocked too. After this experience, they leave it alone cause they remember being hungry and thirsty and worried that we were going to be lost forever.
That being said I was somewhat prepared if got really bad. While my experience didn't look so good given that I am a Scout Leader, I did have a pocket Knife, some bags (could have gotten water by tying them over leaves on branches, but that takes a while), emergency blankets, and three ways to make fire. Now our nature bags all have ponchos and a light weight coat as well as the snacks. I had plenty of other things, like sun block and bug repellent, but we ran out of water and had no snacks. Their paranoia and mine keeps us more on the prepared side, though they have no desire to go back to Roxbourough again. I think we will cause, "when you fall off a horse, you need to get back on." So we have had some really good hiking experiences since, so I think we may be ready to go back.
And just to share, I am thankful that I remembered to have a map of the trails (a good be prepared rule of thumb) and I was easily able to tell the Park Rangers where I was. Thank goodness for cell phones, but at times I did have spotty reception. I also had a whistle and compass as well. So I was able to alert them that I was in trouble and they could help me decide what to do next. We figured, based on my descriptions to them that we were more than half way and they advised to keep going as the trail was somewhat better. It was the only time we saw someone else though when we got to the top of the outlook. While the lack of water was a major concern and snacks, cause they are young, I was well enough prepared otherwise. And if Mr. S had shoes I might have ditched the stroller as it was its inability to get through that was the real problem. It was only a three mile hike on a moderate trail.
So enjoy the pictures from the more stress free part of our hike.

At every hiking area we come to Mr. A is obsessed with making sure he reads these as encountering wildlife. And yes, that can be scary. Not that I would know as it hasn't really happened, the most was a fox, but otherwise, just deer and squirrels and peaceful creatures such as that.
Another reason I enjoyed this State Park because it does have Poison Ivy. With a clear sign to point it out cause looking at pictures doesn't really help you to get a good look at it. The three older kids got really used to checking all over this trail. So it was a good way to get real life experience and we managed to come home without contact with it. Though I wouldn't have been surprised if that stroller might be loaded with it. That stroller was not Leave No Trace friendly on this trail.
The Real deal- Poison Ivy. LEAVES OF THREE, LEAVE THEM BE!
Roxbourough's beautiful red rocks are just awesome.
Ok, here is where a Nature study can clash with the Leave No Trace Ethics and some of our Waldorf Education philosophies. Seriously, I know you are supposed to leave what you find or take only pictures, but I think the kids can miss out when that happens, so we had to compromise, but be modest in what we do take.

Nature Journal time. We often pick a shady spot on a trail to journal. That day we journaled about the Poison Ivy.
Our just played with things on the ground.
Mr. S looking at our Pocket Naturalist Guides

Ok, on some other nature blogs it has pictures of kids from behind and I like them so I needed some of my own.

Oh... there it is the bridge and the small stream. We stayed there at least a half an hour. The kids loved making leaves float down it and looking at water specimens.
So Like I said, here is that bridge. The beautiful peace before our the downside of this beautiful hike. Perhaps next week we will do it again. The same trail, no stroller and extra prepared. I remember that we even missed our speech therapy appointments cause we couldn't get far on that trail. Will have to post the results. But we will definitely do it before the summer is done. I would like to go to Colorado Springs soon. So we will see. It would be nice to spend a few days doing some pretty awesome things there.

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