A couple weeks ago, we enjoyed a fun-filled day at our local State Park. We were invited by a friend to join her family for a hike, picnic lunch, and play time; with a bonus nature center feature. Our day was exhausting and amazing! Just being out in the woods seeing God's beautiful creation was so serene. How can a person not believe in God? The world He created proclaims Him LOUDLY!
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalm 90:2
Not being real familiar with how state park's operate, I had no idea that in the summer they offer all kinds of guided hikes, classes, and other events. We joined the Paw Paw Trail hike guided by one of the summer staff rangers. The trail is named for a tree that grows locally, which kind of reminds me of the Jungle Book movie where the bear likes the Paw Paw Tree. Of course I have no clue whether it is the same kind or not. As we walked through the woods, It was so peaceful and still. Serene! It reminded me of some favorite Scripture:
"Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD!" Ps 50:2
Yes! Hiking can give you an awesome sense of God's nearness, and His creation is so beautiful, there is so much to see; it is just hard to take it all in without being awed.
The silence, however, was short lived as the children enjoyed running through the trail, trying to keep pace with the ranger and hear all he had to say.
The ranger was very helpful in educating us on forest life. Along the way he showed us various different kind of trees, wild flowers and edible plants. We even got to savor a few.
He opened a hickory nut for the kids to see the inside and explained which part can be eaten and when. It was a hands on science lesson, and much more interesting than a textbook!
On our hike we had the opportunity to visit various overlooks!
Time to hold the kids hands YIKES!
Isn't God's handiwork amazing?
There were some very steep bluffs, and keeping an eye on the kids was a big priority when going to the overlooks. Definitely not wise to let them hike alone at this age! It's a family outing for sure!
This is Cane Creek Falls from one angle;
and the same falls from another viewpoint.
He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. Psalm 104:3
Before ending our day, we visited the Nature Center. It is full of all kinds of "cool" wild life displays.
(bobcats happen to be one of my son's favorites)
A bee hive is visible through a glass wall and the kids were even able to locate the queen bee.
Theresa was giving a Box Turtle lesson that morning, but we missed it because we were hiking. Believe it or not, she was so kind as to do it again, just for us! I am amazed at how the park people went out of their way to be thoughtful and cater to us. Certainly made us feel special!
We got a box turtle power point presentation explaining a little about their habitats, habits, and different types of box turtles.
The kids got to look at some turtle shells, and try to put the scales back on like a puzzle.
Here's what a scale looks like.
Then we got to see the turtle. Sadly, I cannot seem to remember his name. The ranger let turtle and kids crawl together. Big Hit! They also got to hold it, pet it, etc...
The kids and I love hands on learning. The state park is definitely a place to get some! I know this is a day that will not soon be forgotten!
Did you know that all summer long the state parks have activities you can participate in even if you are not a camper? Many of them are free! I did not know that until recently. Boy, am I excited!! I just wish I lived a little bit closer!
Have you visited a your local state park lately? What did you do, and what did you learn? Share your thoughts and experience; I would love to hear about it.