Friday, July 11, 2014

A hike to the sand dunes with homeschool friends

Today we went for a walk with Linda and Matthias and their neighbours joined us too.

We have been meaning to hike to the sand dunes for awhile but things kept coming up. Today though the stars were aligned as we made it and had a wonderful time.

Our walk today started out by parking at the Schooner Bridge parking lot. We crossed the road to the trail entrance beside the paramedics. From there we walked through wooded areas, the old race track, fields and more woods until we emerged at the top of the dunes. Sorry I can't give proper directions as we just walked towards the direction we thought they were in and eventually found them.

I saw my first Indian Pipes for the year. Apparently these are now called Ghost Pipes.
Sierra spotted this butterfly and took this picture herself.

This picture below is at one end of the old Wasaga Race track as we headed back onto the trail.
Along the way we saw many wild flowers. I fell in love with this orange butterfly milkweed.
 It was so bright and beautiful. The buds before they opened up looked like little tulips.
They just brightened up the whole fields where they grew.

This Butterfly Milkweed is very different in looks from Common Milkweed but the butterflies and bees seemed to like it just as much. At least this Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly did.

When we arrived at the dunes I was quite surprised as they were much bigger then I had imagined and I expected them to be like a bowl shape. It was quite steep and a river awaited them at the bottom.
I can only imagine the panic that this could bring for some parents. For me though I saw these dunes as a source of so much playful learning. Not only did the kids race up and down, up and down, up and down these hills for an amazing work out but they were all very helpful, careful and considerate of everyone around. Making sure each peer was safe no matter what their age.

There was turn waiting so as to not roll over someone as bodies rolled down the hills. There was helping the youngest climb, easpecially in steep areas so she didn't loose her footing and fall. There were races to who could roll the farthest and the fastest.

See all the tracks over the hill... That's where the above picture was taken and where most of the climbing and rolling took place.
After everyone needed a break from rolling we headed down to the rivers edge. Here there was a lot of throwing rocks.
Making of mud balls and mud snowmen. The snowmen crumbled before a picture could be taken.

There was attempts to catch minnows with bare hands and everyone wished they brought their bathing suits!
Then we walked to the other edge of the dunes to investigate the sparrow homes.

While walking to that end there was attempts at mountain climbing.
There was mini cave discoveries.
There was lots and lots of sliding.
The swallows quickly left their nests to distract us away and we kept back a fair distance to not disturb them too much. I absolutely love the looks of the sandy hills and all of their formations.

Then it was back to the river.
Some pieces of a crawfish were found.
More rocks were thrown.
After about 3 hours playing here it was time to head home back along the trails, through the fields...
And the woods.
Stopping to watch a squirrel on the way.
We took a shortcut out of the paths along the road because everyone was starving. The kids all had fun climbing this gate on our way out.
A wonderful day. My girls asked about when we can go back again  before we even got home!

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