Going for a walk or hike is one of our favourite things to do. Whether planning a short walk or a full day outing we rarely have 'destination'. We have some preferred routes but we often deviate from are original plan when we find something interesting. Walks are time for exploration.
The children are involved in the planning of our trips but I don't usually ask 'where' do you want to go - implying that there is an end point. Rather, I ask 'which direction should we head' and at various points I'll ask 'which way should we turn'.
Walking through the cemetery is one of their favourite routes - they like to look for owls in the nest boxes. Last fall on one of our cemetery walks they noticed this park on the far side of the river - "Can we go there?"
Hmm, some day maybe. I was not very familiar with the area on that side of the river and although I had a rough idea how to get there I would need to scout the trail without children first.
Earlier this spring my husband and I went on an evening hike to check out the available routes. The park wasn't actually difficult to get to - just a short detour off one of our familiar trails. However, to make a full loop back to my house was not possible that day because the spring river levels were too high and parts of the trail were under water.
Last week the children and I made our first trip to the new park - not the playground, I rarely go to playgrounds (read why here). Parks are full of nature and so many things to explore and discover. We left early and took our morning snack and picnic blanket with us;
It is a little difficult to see in the photo but the children were easily able to locate the cemetery across the river from our picnic spot;
The new park also has an amazing forest and riverbank to explore;
The boys like to look for bears and wolves in the forest - this trip resulted in a very exciting discovery;
Probably just a dog tracks but HUGE like a wolf!
I was impressed when these three and four year olds noticed - and correctly identified this bridge by name. It is one of five bridges we frequently visit but we have never approached it from this side.
Crossing the bridge on our way back they stopped as usual to look at and talk about this 'house-shaped' cement barricade/structure (please leave a comment if you know the real name for this thing).
When we pass this way we often discuss the river levels at various times of the year. This day they were talking about how the driftwood got stuck up there in the spring when the river was higher. Then they noticed something even more interesting in the driftwood...is that a nest? Why would she want to have a nest there?
We've visited the new park twice now. On our second trip the children eagerly anticipated seeing this goose again - and maybe babies. She wasn't there, however there was a pair of mallard ducks.
While we were watching them they jumped off the cement into the river below. The children were thrilled and now refer to this as 'the diving board'. I suppose that's better than 'house shaped cement thing that I don't know the real name for'.
Picnics in our new park and the exploration along the way have been full of adventure and discovery. I'm sure there will be many more to come.