Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Day Hike 2014

We really enjoyed our First Day Hike last year at Pokagon State Park. However, we were under a winter weather advisory and needed to drive about an hour in possibly inclement weather. Instead, I took the older boys to Lieber Nature Preserve, which is close to our home.




Nice to see groups working together to give us nice natural areas. This guy was making snow balls all along the hike!


I loved seeing the Queen Anne's Lace all curled up and filled with snow! Snow weighed down the taller grasses and plants; however, it was easy to clearly see the animal paths that are used through the preserve. 

  

With the amount of recent snow, there were no human tracks to be found. Kind of fun to be the first ones there, but I almost felt bad to leave our mark!


On winter hikes, it's interesting to see how the snow collects! We also noticed some details we might not have noticed otherwise, like this poison ivy growing up the tree. Note all the hairy "roots" coming off the creeping vine. 


While we didn't see human tracks, we did see animal tracks! With the deeper snow, it was a little more difficult to tell what animal made the tracks; however, we ran into this situation and tried to figure out what happened. These were my son's tracks to the right--I wondered if someone else would come and try to figure out what our experience was like. 

 

There is a sign closer to the pond. Of course my snowball thrower (see above picture) had to try out the harmless snowball on the sign. 



It was interesting to note which sides of trees were covered with snow. 


It was interesting to see holes and decay in some trees--this will be good habitat for animals.


These little spheres were beautiful white balls in summer! I like seeing the differences over the seasons. 


We took the path down to the bog. 


I think that big mound out in the bog is a beaver lodge--need to watch it more to see what type of activity we see.


We saw several galls on an oak tree. We needed to investigate a few other items more closely, too.


It was nice to see green covered with white throughout the walk. 


Of course there were more snowballs and a little chasing. That happens with a 9 and 7 year old hanging out with mom outside on a cold day. 


This is a good place for a winter wildflower walk--we should bring our identifying books with us next time. With as cold as it was today, we needed to keep moving. Actually, we were running for parts of it! 

 

More snowballs!


It did feel like we were walking in a winter wonderland! 


Somehow they ended up on the ground. I don't always ask questions! I wonder what the tracks for this will look like.  No snow angels, though. My phone died about here as it doesn't seem to like the cold, even though it was charged before we left. It happened yesterday, too! It's been chilly!


It was warm enough once we drove back home. Love the drive home!


We continued our First Day Hike tradition with part of our family. It shows our commitment to getting outside this year in different temperatures. Insulating boots and warm gloves were helpful! Looking forward to many more hikes in the coming months!

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