It was a beautiful and mild (for early February) day today. The sun was bright and there was no wind. We decided to take a hike to enjoy the outdoors before the cold creeps up on us again. Schooley Mill Park is just a few miles from us. We've been to their playground many times but have never explored any other parts of the park. A little internet research gave me a map of a nice network of trails I never knew were there.
To get to the trails, you walk by several ball fields. At the edge, there's a small incline down and a huge stretch of woods I hadn't seen before. We walked down and to the left until we got to Path 19 which I could see from the map would lead us to lake. I find that a destination like a lake, stream or waterfall is good to keep the kids moving--it's good to have a goal!
Not too far down the trail we found a stream that meandered along trailside. Streams always hold lots of appeal for the kids (and the dog which was also along). Before I knew it, they were down there throwing rocks, crossing from side to side and exploring. Despite my requests, they both decided to just walk thru the water and so ended up with wet shoes and socks. They do this every time we hike, winter or summer, so from now on they'll either hike in galoshes or I'll just keep my mouth shut! Levi spotted some animal prints in the sand on the shore. We're guessing they're raccoon.
As Levi stomped thru the water, he announced that he'd never been happier in his life. Wow, wonderful from the child who put up a huge fight about leaving the house to go on this hike!
After the stream play, we went on down the trail to the pond. To our surprise, it turned out to be a beaver pond with a nice visible dam and a lodge that was also easy to see from the shore. This was lots of fun because we've been talking and reading about animal homes, habits and tracking lately. A wonderful winter hike.