We spent this morning hiking at the East Irvington Nature Preserve for our third hike with the Rivertown Playgroup. The forecast was iffy–maybe rain, maybe not–and the overcast-ish sky wasn’t really giving any clues about what 11 o’clock was going to look like. So we forged ahead with our plans and a small group, clad in raincoats and ladybug boots, congregated at the trail head in the midst of sunshine and drizzle.
I was sad that the unpredictable weather had kept so many folks away today, because it turned out to be a truly beautiful hike. The temperature was balmy and although there was some rain, the puddles were a source of joy for the children who were certainly unfazed by the weather, sloshing happily along the trail. Warm, damp days in the woods are often my favorite kind as there is a certain magical smell that wafts through a rainy forest, and I kept taking deep breaths to drink it in.
East Irvington Nature Preserve is a sweet little space that provides endless opportunities for exploration and adventure along trails that are readily accessible for young children. There is a small pond with an overlook deck, a stream, woodland trails, and a wide , gravel path leading to a cool water tower.There are fallen trees and boulder configurations for climbing, sticks to collect, stones to toss, and wildlife to spot. There was a fuzzy caterpillar and some geese and other birds, but the main thrill was the big bullfrog camouflaged among the chartreuse duckweed on the pond’s surface.
We stuck to the water tower path which is a straight shot up a hill and back down again–perfect for the little ones–rather than blazing along the Wecquaesgeek trail that is better suited for the school-aged crowd. There were some piggy back rides, but for the most part, the kids walked up and back themselves, with plenty of sidebar attractions like mud to squish and sticks to thwack and gravel to scoop. They ran and shrieked and cavorted and adventured. And when we got back to the trail head, they were soaked and filthy and hungry. It was a solid effort and I look forward to doing it again soon!