Hiking: Frogs galore

Yesterday the boys and I spent the afternoon hiking one of the trails of the Goodyear MetroParks with another homeschooling family. The other family we hiked with was specifically seeking out spiders to study, but my boys were really hoping to see some frogs. They certainly got their wish as there were lots of frogs hanging out in the pond yesterday afternoon.

Can you see him?

Can you see him?

I'm right here.

I'm right here.

I'm just chillin'.

I'm just chillin'.

Tobin was absolutely thrilled to see that there were maps at the beginning of the trail. He was our fearless tour guide throughout our hike. (He kept pointing out random points on the map and saying that we were there. We’ll be working on map skills soon, I think.)

Tour guide Tobin

Tour guide Tobin

Steve wandered off the trail a bit to visit the creek and look for more frogs. Don’t worry. Tobin was there to guide him back.

Hey, Steve.

Hey, Steve.

We found this really neat looking fungus growing on a log. Tobin insisted it was some kind of animal. He said he could see its butt.

There's a fungus among us.  (Oh, that's just terrible.)

There's a fungus among us. (Oh, that's just terrible.)

Tobin did very well this hike. I think this was the first one he had been on that he walked the whole way without really complaining.

Once we got home, I treated the boys to a big plate of cut up fruit and pretzels. They had worked up quite an appetite.

an after-hiking snack

an after-hiking snack

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Labor Day Hike

The summer has somehow flown by without us getting much chance to hike this year. Last year we had managed to squeeze in at least a few hikes by September. I promised myself that since I was off work for Labor Day today, somehow we would get a good hike in, even if it meant just Steve and me going alone.

Since I’m not sure how many other hikes we will manage before the snow starts flying in a few months, I made sure to pick a place for Steve that we had never hiked before: Firestone Metro Park. Firestone has several trails that are graded easy and aren’t terribly long, so we figured we would be able to hike two trails back-to-back today. We hiked the Willow Trail which is 1.6 miles and then followed that up with the Red Wing Trail which is supposed to be 1.1 miles long. The online map showed that we would pass Little Turtle Pond on both trails, so Steve was really hoping we would get to see some turtles or at least some frogs.

Reading the weather report this morning, I was a little concerned that it would rain on us today, but we lucked out. It was somewhat cloudy, but the sun peaked out a bit during some parts of our hike.

We hiked Willow Trail first and came to Small Pond rather quickly. Steve and I both brought cameras so I snapped a photograph of him taking a picture of Small Pond.

Small Pond is right next to Little Turtle Pond. We spent quite a long time slowly searching the edge of Little Turtle Pond for wildlife. We didn’t see any frogs or turtles at the pond, but we did see lots of fish, ducks, and some kind of bug.

Well, actually we saw lots of different bugs, but this one was kind enough to stop for a few photos.

Name that bug

Name that bug

A large portion of Willow Trail follows along a river, so Steve stopped often to spy out whatever wildlife he could.

The highlight of the afternoon was when we spotted a dark colored snake on Willow Trail. It was cutting across our path on its way from the water to the brush.

Look, ma!  A snake!

Look, ma! A snake!

I was sort of tired after the first trail, so we rested after we started the Redwing Trail. Here’s Steve chilling on a bench. He was kind enough to smile for pictures today.

Towards the end of Redwing Trail we passed Small Pond once more. This time we got to see a fuzzy caterpillar.

Some animals were too fast today for us to get pictures of. We saw several cardinals, a robin, lots of chipmunks, a few spiders walking along the paths, and some dragonflies. We also saw various species of fish, but the water was too cloudy to get good photos.

Steve was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to see any frogs or turtles today, but he did get to see lots of frogs yesterday when we were in Cleveland.

One of many frogs spied at Brookside Reservation in Cleveland.

One of many frogs spied at Brookside Reservation in Cleveland.

He was also quite happy to report that he saw some deer tracks yesterday.

Animal tracks!

Animal tracks!

Steve and I are already looking forward to our next hike. Hopefully the weather will be good, and we will have time to go on one next weekend.