A Day Outdoors
August 8th, 2010
We discovered a magical place yesterday — Raccoon Creek State Park. Technically, I guess it was a “rediscovery,” since Josh and I had been there several years ago to go hiking with Riley. But we hadn’t been back since and this time I explored it with new eyes — a mom’s eyes. And I liked what I saw.
State parks may be the best things ever for parenting on a budget because, at least in Pennsylvania, they don’t charge you to come in and enjoy the bounty. Raccoon Creek is only about 45 minutes from our house, so my parents and I packed up Miss Mouse yesterday for a day of outdoor activity.
We started out at the Wildflower Reserve. At this time of year that area bears little resemblance to its name, but we saw a few pretty flowers and Miss Mouse enjoyed watching the bees and butterflies.
Then we went for a little stomp through the woods. It was Miss Mouse’s first real experience of “hiking” and I didn’t really know what to expect. She was a trooper, though. The trail we took was probably about a half a mile, and she walked most of it, only asking for a ride on Papu’s shoulders toward the end.
Then it was off to the beach. Murky nasty water, as most lakes are, but that only made the sand/mud more fun for a small creature to muck about in. She was even kind enough to give Nana a nice exfoliating mud bath, painstakingly rubbing handfuls of muddy sand onto her shoulders. Thoughtful child.
Last but not least was a picnic in a little pine glen. The presence of picnic tables greatly improved this experience over our last picnic attempt with Miss Mouse!
We returned home with a sandy, sweaty, and very sleepy child. The whole day was perfect and I have visions of spending all of next summer in the park!