The past three autumns, I’ve said that the kids and I were going to hike the same stretch of trail every week for the whole year to watch how it changes. Despite my declarations, somehow the weekly hikes never happened.
But I have a feeling that this year is our year.
Both of my kids are ridiculously excited about weekly hikes on a familiar trail, and I’ve got new snowshoes on order and/or hand-me-down snowshoes on promise (and a plan for how to park near the trailhead even if there are eight-foot-tall snow piles).
We’ve done two weeks of hikes so far, but I didn’t post after the first because after so many false starts, I wasn’t confident we’d make it happen this time until we’d done a couple of weeks in a row.
Here’s the recap of these first two weeks.
Week 1: Acorn Patrol
During the first full week of October and the second week since the equinox, we went to the trail to collect acorns for a project the kids are doing in their monthly nature class. We needed a gallon-sized freezer bag full of acorns for each child, and we had no difficulty finding even more than that. The acorns currently reside in our basement, waiting for the day of the class.
When we stopped by the river to rest before heading back with our acorns, we found a little patch of lycopodia.
We love these little pre-trees and love to imagine them millions of years ago, towering over the dinosaurs.
Week 2: Pond Water
We’re learning about plants right now in our biology studies, so this week we collected some water in which we hope to encourage algae to grow so we can study it under the microscope. The water level was quite low, but there was still plenty to fill a pint jar.
We were supposed to get pond water, but we hope that water from the still offshoot of the river will serve the purpose. If not, we’ll be visiting some friends with a pond in their backyard to get another jar-full.
The most exciting part of our hike this week…We saw two of these fellows in our path:
We agree they were both Eastern Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), which I’ve learned is the state reptile of Massachusetts. I think both kids were tempted to pick this one up, but they had a talk about how unpleasant being bitten by even a non-venomous snake would be and decided to settle for a photograph.
It surprised me how much the fall colors came in just over the course of a week. This is just the kind of thing I was hoping to capture, hiking the same trail every week.