Headwaters Park

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, which means I scheduled another meeting of our Outdoor Adventure Group. The weather cooperated with us and provided sunshine and little wind – finally. It had been a week since I had seen the sun last, and I was ready for something other than grey skies.

Entrance to Headwaters Park

Entrance to Headwaters Park

This week we went to Headwaters Park. It’s a lovely little park tucked away  just north of I-90. It’s a relatively new discovery for me, so I’d never been in the winter. The trails are marked with blazes and other people had walked them, so we didn’t worry about getting lost. Besides, the creek is there to orient us the whole time.  My only complaint is that you can hear the roar of the highway wherever you are in the park, which breaks the illusion that you’re in the deep woods.

P1090275The park is used as an educational facility, so it has a well-marked trail that includes a tree walk, and very sturdy bridges whenever you cross water. We decided not to look for the tree markers this time, since recognizing specific trees without their leaves is difficult. Instead, we headed off toward the vernal pools, which were more vernal ice ponds than pools, but fun nonetheless. Our adventures today were focused on two aspects of the park – the creek and the trees.

Investigating ice formation

Investigating ice formation

Any time we find water or ice, snow must be thrown on it. The little ice we found was too strong to break, but prompted a discussion of why there was ice in some places and not in others. The first guess was shade vs. sun, but Mr. Curiosity proved that wrong by noting there was no ice under the bridge. Eventually, they figured out it was the speed of the water that determined whether or not ice formed.

Climbing vines

Climbing vines

We also found some pretty awesome climbing spots. This one was a tree just wound about in wild grapevines. No one could resist trying to climb. There were lots of handholds, but very few spots for the feet to go, which let to a bit of frustration. Mr. Curiosity did manage to get up to the crotch of the tree, and then slid down the dead tree ramp.

Downed trees = perfect climbing opportunity.

Downed trees = perfect climbing opportunity.

The girls decided to try to climb a downed tree puzzle (one tree took down several others), but they were too scared to go very high. The snow did make it slippery, and they started off over five feet high, so they probably made a good decision there. The boys were off investigating the creek on their own. Luckily, no one fell off a tree or in the water, so I would count it as a successful adventure. And of course, there was lots of snow, so there were snowball fights.

Snowballs in the parking lot.

Snowballs in the parking lot.

It was quite delightful to get outside and enjoy the relative quiet of nature. I recommend a little nature therapy to everyone!

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