Monday, May 30, 2011

Two Moms, Two Boys and Park Quest #2

We were joined for our second Park Quest by the boys' step-mom, Tammy.  This year, she's an official member of our Park Quest team and I think we're all excited about that.  The boys because they love having all their parents in one place (their dad will be joining us when his work schedule allows).  I like it because she's a good companion, an enthusiastic participant and brings a picnic lunch!

With 24 parks to choose from (or rather 23 since we completed Patapsco), it was hard to pick where to go next.  We eventually decided on Soldier's Delight because of it's proximity (27 miles) and because of the quest's title "A Miner's Life."  I figured mining with it's dirt, rocks and danger would be up there with forts and cannons in keeping the boys interest. I was not wrong.

The tasks on this quest were very hands-on, which always goes over well with my boys.  We learned about a buddle mine, sifted dirt and panned for chromite.

Matt and Tammy made good miners.

Gabe didn't like getting his hands dirty.

We went on a short hike to see a cabin where the miners lived and a longer hike to an overlook where we watched birds of prey soar over forrested hills.

According to our quest guide, at the time of the mines, you could see all the way to the Baltimore harbor from here. There were no trees back then.

Another short hike and we were at the Choate mine.  This for me, was the coolest part of the quest.  I didn't realize we could get so close.

The boys are obsessed with a certain fictional archeologist. They called these "Indiana Jones" tracks (a la Temple of Doom). Maybe because of the Indiana Jones reference, Gabe was not convinced it was safe to be even this close.

We finished our quest at the Visitor Center and spent some time visiting the critters there.  We saw a barn owl, box turtles and a gray rat snake getting its bath.

We got back in the car sweaty and tired.  The ride home was very quiet (except for boys snoring).

We topped off our day in the best way possible, soaking off our miner's grit in the community pool.

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Favorite Part of This Quest

both boys: watching the snake get a bath

Least Favorite Part

Gabe: walking - it was hot

Matt: getting in trouble for not listening.  It was good except for that!

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