My dad is officially retired...well, at least from one job. He'll be starting another one soon, but for now, he's enjoying some free time with his wife and with us! Jonathon happened to have the day off on the day that I had planned to meet my parents at a nature preserve in Elkhart. He had other work around the farm to do, but decided to go with us and work when we got back. A morning hike was just what we all needed.
Boot Lake Nature Preserve in Elkhart, IN is a great park for hiking! It's tucked away with great birding, trails of various kinds, and it's quite large, so we got in approximately a 2 mile hike. Thanks to our friends the Brothers for letting us try their ergo for the baby. With a big hiking trip in June planned we wanted to see if this would be easier on the shoulders. Sure enough, it's much easier.
A tree for boys to hide in. Just what they needed. :)
I love loading Alegra's pics onto the computer to see what caught her eye to capture on her camera. She truly delights in the little things and that delights me!
Such small details, but life was thriving within every facet of these woods.
There was some off trail hiking going on to look for mushrooms.
This big bull frog somehow caught my eye as he tried hiding himself within the weeds.
The sandhill cranes were amazing! Their sound echoed through the woods all during our hike. It was so lovely!
I don't know how she spotted this tree frog.
Ah, spring life!
A sandhill crane sitting on her nest, while a goose swims by. Such wonderful birding!
The first butterfly of the season, spotted here. Lots of little blue ones too.
Butterfly and bee. They are doing their jobs and enjoying the warmth.
And then mushrooms were found. This was the first time my mom has ever hunted for mushrooms. We always had them when I was growing up, but it was always us children and my dad that would go. Snakes and poison ivy kept my mom far from the woods. This one was along the trail that she saw. A moment of history right there! :)
The older children took off ahead of us and didn't realize we weren't going the same way. We just cut across the field some and took their picture on the other side. They are getting old enough that I don't worry about their skills with finding where to go on trails. They do really well!
There were a few signs like the one above with information to learn about the park. This one was of the various birds that can be spotted. One a little further back was about fire restoration. That one was quite interesting and we all learned a few things about how they control the fire and why.
After Hadassah took a nap, she woke up thinking she should hike like her papa. Jonathon said while he walked, she kept hold of his stick and laughed with every step. She sure is a joy!
If you know of any other really great parks with interesting trails or educational boards to read and learn, we'd love to hear about them!