Nature Quest, Shrooms, and five year old bladders

I decided we’d skip school today.

The day was lovely, and unlike most of our hiking/nature study, this summer, we have a mission:

The Baltimore County Nature Quest

To complete the quest, we have to visit different county parks, and hike trails designated in our “passport,” all the while looking for the special trail post. The trail post has a metal plate on it for getting a rubbing of in our passport to show we completed the quest at that location. Most parks in the passport have more than one.
We got two at Banneker yesterday in nearly an hour and a half moderate hiking.  (we actually walked several trails, not just the quest)
I thought the kids would quit (i was about to) and then they found the first one. The second was rather easy and spotted on the return trip.

Completing five or more will get us entrance into a park party in early November, seven or more into drawings for prizes. (yeah we have time)

However, Banneker is the closest park.
The rest are scattered and some distance north and east of the city and nowhere near us.  They are unfamiliar parks for this reason. With several choices of excellent parks  just minutes away, why drive forty minutes to somewhere else?

Yet in the spirit of exploration and with the end goal in mind, we’re trying this out.

Today we traveled to Oregon Ridge Park. It is just off of Rt.  83N not too long after the beltway.

First off we visited the Nature center. They have a lot of cool stuff, including numerous turtles, toads, stuffed animals (which, usually creep me out, but it seemed alright) bees,  and other interesting things to look at.

oregonridgecenter1 oregonridgecenter2 oregonridgecenter4

It has a nice nature center smell to it.  Every inch fascinated the children. I recommend it if you live round here.

Before leaving,

I made sure everyone used the restroom. Just like it’s important to remember that Marley was dead to begin with, its important to remember that I sent everyone to use the lavatory. This must be distinctly understood…

Then we had a picnic with  carrots-sugar snap peas- grape tomatoes -hummus -rice crackers -cheese slices-peperoni-fresh strawberries- fruit punch-shortbread,

and then hit the trail.

On going past the nature center once more I said, “Does anyone need to go while we’re here again??”

Collectively: “Noooooo.”



I’m always in the back, that way I can keep track of people. Aidan is always trail leader, no one gets ahead of him.



I took a great deal of pictures of fungus and mushrooms. I think perhaps, as genuine as I want to be for my audience, I’ll spare everyone.

After were walking about 35 minutes on our designated rocky inclined trail my legs began to protest. Yes, I’m  a hiker, but generally a lazy one.  Easy trails and moderate trails are fine, but a moderate trail (rocky or steep, usually both) that cause my muscles to scream at me, is usually one I don’t finish. Once the legs start to hurt, unIess I’m nearing the end, I  turn around.  BUT no, this was with a goal in mind, I would suck it up and keep going.

Just as I was realizing my hamstring muscles were going on strike and didn’t care about our end goal,

Tessa stopped.

“I need to go potty. Can we go back?”

“STOP Aidan. Everyone wait up. ”

“But, you said you didn’t need to go.”

“That was at the thing. I need to go now. Can we go back?”

“If we go back now, theres no way I’ll we’ll make it the marker…”

So I whipped out of my backpack some paper napkins  from our picnic and suggested Tessa go pee behind a tree.

“WHAT?!? That’s ridiculous!”

“It’s either that, or wait till the hike is done.”



The entire time I hear muttering,

“this is so ridiculous”

In the process she somehow managed to PEE on her SUNGLASSES.  (??!!!??)

Necessitating another  (I have a list) phrase i never thought I’d say…

“You cannot have your sunglasses back, you peed on them.”



Afterwards we made it up to the scenic overlook, stopped for a drink break, and slogged on for another 20 minutes and




YAY! the trail marker!!!!


There was much rejoicing.


AND we have our rubbing.

The park was clean, beautiful, and the kids want to go back sometime.

Four more to go….


5 thoughts on “Nature Quest, Shrooms, and five year old bladders

  1. h4rrish4wk says:

    Yeah – I like walking – but where I live is pretty much all hills – usually steep, occasionally awkward – so I got lazy about it and now have to try and get back into walking.

  2. brightskymom says:

    Thank you for directing me to this Nature Quest post! I have to check if Wegmans (my favorite grocery store!) sponsors something like this in my area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s