Friday, July 19, 2013

Creek ranger hike at Paris Mountain State Park

It’s been rain, rain, rain here in the south, and while I don’t mind the super-cucumbers the garden has been producing, the boys have not been their usual selves. I imagine it is partly due to lingering jetlag, but probably more to cabin-fever, as any opportunity to get muddy in the yard is quickly taken. When sunshine appeared last Friday morning I knew it was an ideal chance to get out, and we packed the baby carrier and headed to Paris Mountain State Park for the Creek Ranger Hike for Families.

During the summer months (June through August) every Friday morning at 10am a Ranger leads a group of up to 25 on a 2 hour nature hike looking for animals and their habitats in or near water. We circled Lake Placid on the lookout for beavers, and although we didn’t spot any (they are nocturnal) we did see numerous ducks, turtles and frogs as well as the beaver lodge. Soon we turned off onto the Mountain Creek trail for a short hike to a preselected spot in the creek.

The kids were all given nets and shown how to dip them into the water and disturb the rocks, using the current to wash any insects or animals into their nets. Dragonfly and mayfly nymphs, crayfish, beetle larvae and worms were among the creatures found and deposited into a bucket. My boys were more concerned with enjoying the creek than catching anything, and soon were soaked up to the waist despite the water being only ankle deep.

We took our finds back to the Park Center for an up-close look under the park microscope, and again the very nice Ranger patiently answered each and every question the kids (and adults) had about every insect, animal and forest discovery. I would suggest this program to any parent of curious children; Mikus (age 1.5) enjoyed it, Lauris (3) learned quite a bit, and the older kids (teens) quickly became enthralled with the process of fishing for and finding of aquatic life.

The program fee is $5.00 per person over 3 years old but park admission is waived. Registration is required, and this can be done by calling the park office (864-244-5565), or emailing

While in the area, be sure to stop at Blueberry Hill. It’s definitely blueberry season here in South Carolina, and although our bushes were full on our return from Latvia, the demand has been outpacing the supply. The blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins alone used up three cups, so we incorporated a stop at the you-pick blueberry farm for supplies. Open Monday through Saturday from 7:30am until around 7, the berries cost $18/gallon and $6/quart (or $24/gallon, $7/quart pre-picked). No pesticides used, and we can vouch for their taste - although the ones picked in the garden remain the favorites… Blueberry Hill, 222 Tanyard Rd. Greenville, SC

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to learn about nature and I would love to pick some blueberries. It looks like you have our rain because we are enjoying gorgeous temperatures in the UK with clear blue skies - a real summer. Last year it rained for days!


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