My son and I went for a drive the other day out past Dunkerton toward the Wapsipinicon River. I’m not sure what my motivation was, location scouting under the guise of outdoor adventure or the other way around, but we threw my boy’s bike in the trunk and went off in search of county parks.
We stopped at Mickey Fox Wildlife Area (I would recommend a vehicle with higher clearance than my car, possibly 4 wheel drive, and rubber boots). We hiked around a little here, exploring the creeks and riverbanks and looking for animal tracks, while making sure to stay within view of our vehicle since it was an unfamiliar area without marked trails.
From here we ventured just a bit farther down the road to Cutshall Area. Part of the park road was underwater but easy to get around so we walked down a short river access trail. We could hear chorus frogs singing like mad, but we never caught sight of them. We did see lots of deer tracks, beaver stumps, and our first woodland flower of the year! Anyone have an ID on this one?
One thing that is important to me when we go outdoor exploring is teaching my kids (or whoever is with me) to become familiar with and respect the environment they are in. There is so much that I have yet to learn, but at least getting them started identifying different bird and tree species, finding animal tracks and signs, and learning basic safety and survival skills piques their interest and encourages them to learn more (I hope)! Today we talked about having water and snacks with you while hiking, and letting someone know exactly where you will be going.
This was such a fun morning adventure (and successful location scout)…I’m thinking we’ll be doing this more often!