Thursday, January 17, 2013

Perfect Day for a Hike

My sturdy hiking crew, Big Sis, Brother, Little Sis and me, the Momma 

Perfect Day for a Hike...

...but then again, I sort of feel that way most of the time. We really needed it today though. More than half of our happy little mob, including the Dad, have been suffering from flu-like symptoms for a week and we ALL have been suffering from a serious case of cabin-fever for about the same amount of time. So when everyone woke up feeling pretty close to healthy and it was a mild winter day, weather-wise, we decided to jump on the opportunity to get out and get hiking. 

We headed over to the NJ Audubon Plainsboro Preserve for the first time. Its a beautiful park with a really nice Nature Center right off of the parking lot. The hiking was pretty easy going, no elevation changes to speak of and the trails were all clearly marked. It was a good choice for us since we didn't know how long the mob would last having just been pretty sick and all. We almost had all the trails to ourselves and only passed a handful of other folks on our hike. The ground was soft from recent rain so we could spot a lot of animal tracks and even got to see a total of about 16 deer while we made our 2-mile trek.

The big draw for our two olders at this park was the potential for "treasure hunting"! For the last few months we have been geocaching more and more on our hikes and the kiddies love it! There are at least 16 caches inside this park but 8 in particular are part of  Ranger Rick's Geocaching Trails, a super way to introduce kids (and their grownups) to geocaching. Its the first time we came across Ranger Rick's caches and our crew loved it. You can go into the Nature Center before you begin your hike and the kids can grab a special passport to use to keep track of the caches they find. Every Ranger Rick cache you uncover has a particular stamp in it. The challenge is to collect all 8 stamps from the 8 different Ranger Rick caches and complete your passport. The Nature Center and Gift Shop at the Plainsboro Preserve will even give you a 10% discount off of an item if you bring in your completed passport. Kinda cool, right? There could be Ranger Rick Trails near you and they are worth trying out. Check out this link to download your own passport and find trails nearby.

I am so happy that we got up and got moving in this park today. It felt amazing to gather up all the kiddies and get outside. Like I said before, we needed it! Plus, we are determined to return and search out all of the Ranger Rick caches so the mob can complete their passports. What an awesome accomplishment that will be for my little hikers!

           Eureka! Big Sis and Brother spot a treasure!
                      Checking out the treasure box while the Dad signs the book. 


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