Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Scavenger Hike

During our stay in Harrisonburg, Rebecca drove the kids up to the Shenandoah mountains along Skyline Drive. They went on several hikes. The first one was on a trail called Story of the Forest near the Big Meadows area and Bryd visitor center. It was a 1.8 mile hike along an easy trail that had a free scavenger hunt adventure to go with it.  There were clues and 18 natural landmarks to find. We saw hemlocks, trees with lumps and bumps, branches shaped like deer heads, witch hazel trees, a gooseberry plant growing in a dead tree, a black fungus, and a second growth forest that had previously been a cow pasture among other things. You can see them below. Such amazing fun!

The clue read, "Find an awesome tree Indians and Pioneers used. Do not move--stay in the shade of the hemlock (our previous clue)-- turn toward the beginning of the trail--count 4 steps and look on your right hand side." Then we read about the yellow birch tree, its colors/bark and uses. 

Isn't nature just lovely to look at?!

The clue read, "Find the big rock that looks like it has snow on top" along with clues as to where it was located. Then there was a section to read about lichen and how the rocks formed and then eventually broke down.

The clue read, "Find a tree doing a backbend" and then there was a discussion about the weather in different seasons and how it affects the forest.

"A twee with 3 Twunks!" Say that 3 times! :) Did you know that sometimes a tree with grow several trunks because it had been cut down at one time. It has its original root system but as it grows, instead of sending up just one trunk it sends up several trunks. Sometimes this also happens when an animal chews on the tree when it is young. 

Red Spruce Trees planted by "Roosevelt's tree army" in the 1930s

Milkweed plants. We recently had two of our own Monarch butterflies so this was a great time for review.

Looking down on the local watering hole. We discussed the wildlife that drink from or live in this stream.

A tree (white oak) shaped like an octopus

Along for the ride. She just is so smiley. :)

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