Friday, August 16, 2013

Rochester Review: Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve



I am trying a new series called Rochester Review.  I have wanted to live in Rochester pretty much my whole life, but concretely for the past five years.

I love the downtown area, which is really rare for this part of Michigan.  There are also so many beautiful parks and trails with big, mature trees near our house that have helped us maximize our time outside this summer.

Although we have yet to experience Rochester Schools, my research says they are pretty great.  (Our new elementary school has its own vegetable garden and they serve the harvest during a back-to-school event.  How cool is that?!)

So in honor of my dream coming true, I have decided to start the series of Rochester Review where I will write about the things I love about Rochester.

My first review is Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve.  




Now, I wasn’t even sure what it was expect some vague idea of a walking trail since my yoga teacher talked about going on walk there. 

I still got lost.  Thankfully, Harrington was there.  I might consider bringing
bread crumbs next time.


When we arrived at Dinosaur Hill, there was a building that looked like a little house filled with mounted animals and dinosaur bones.  I think school field trips are held there, but they day we went, the area was set up for a birthday party. 

After we checked that out, we went to walk on the trails.  And by trails, I don’t mean a paved road surrounded by some trees.  I mean it was a dirt trail marked by some logs deep in a forest.  This is so unexpected since the parking lot is at a dead end street in a neighborhood.

In the wild.  We actually had to step over fallen logs.
Almost all of us loved it!


As we walked in the woods, we came across this beautiful filed of wildflowers that we almost as tall as Thomas!

These were the biggest flowers I have ever seen.


We also came across this bridge.





Which was helping us cross this.

You know when you meditate and you have to think of something
beautiful and peaceful?  I think this is my new vision.



And we saw lots and lots of deer.  They weren’t really scared of us so we were able to get a good look at them.  This was also a great opportunity to talk to the kids about respecting animals.  We talked about understanding that we are in their home so we don’t run up to them; we give them their space.

Can you see the deer?  I think he stopped for the photo.
The rest of his family slowly meandered in the other direction.

It was really an amazing day.  Lately, I feel myself being drawn to nature, which by the way, is totally unlike me. But when walking in a place like Dinosaur Hill, I feel my head clearing in a way that I can’t when my computer is in the next room. 

I (obviously) value technology and let my kids have screen time (maybe too much).  I feel that if we are going to embrace all the wonderful aspects of technology, we have to balance it out with some serious outdoor time where it is peaceful and we can have an unplanned adventure. 

So how did the kids like it?  Thomas was in his glory.  He could run and be curious without the unwritten rules of socially acceptable behavior at the park.  Marie, well, she did not like it as much.  Yet.  I told her to use it for writing material.  So she wrote a haiku about how mean I was to take her into the woods.


Do you have a peaceful place to clear your head?  Do you ever feel you need to balance out screen time with some adventurous outdoor time?  How do your kids feel about it?

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