Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Others: Cows and People

Perhaps you all are tired of hearing about our outdoor adventures.  Well, we are not tired of taking them!  Sorry.   Here's a post from a site I just found about another family who, much more intentionally than Nick and I, are doing something similar.

Saturday we re-visited a hike we took much earlier in the fall. Tyringham Cobble is a wonderful hike for kids.  Not very strenuous, different environments, cool sights. Things were so different from early September. You begin the hike by walking through a pasture.   Last time there were flowers with bees and butterflies, warm sun, green, yellow, purple.

 This time, the pasture had been cut, hay bales removed.  The weather was much cooler with clouds and occasional sprinkles.
That's me stepping around cow poop.

The next part of the hike takes you through some woods and clearings that were full of goldenrod at the beginning of September.  

We call this Turkey Rock

Parts of the Cobble had been cleared in the past by farmers and Shakers owned the property at one time.  You can see old apple trees, junipers, and lots of wild flowers in this section.  Here it is in mid October.

Then you climb up to the top, which is very rocky and affords fabulous views.


The climb down is through woods which leads to another open area.  You end up back at the pasture you entered through. 

The only blooming goldenrod on our October hike!

Willa watches cows.

Aww. Baby.

When we got back to the pasture, cows had moved in and were all around us eating and drinking (and doing other cow stuff).  The kids were thrilled to be so close them and see lots of babies.  It was cool.  I can proudly say, I am not jaded when it comes to cows.  :)

Sunday, we had different company on our hike.  People.  We went to Purgatory Chasm near Worcester where it was quite crowded.  I can't blame them.  It is a spectacular environment to see and explore and it was such a lovely day.   I was a bit put off at first, as we usually see one to five groups who we pass or pass us quickly on our walks.  But this place was like a mall the week before Christmas!   The amazing surroundings won me over and I decided to be excited that so many families were outside exercising and appreciating nature. 
The Chasm is believed to have its origin in the sudden release of dammed-up glacial melt-water near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 14,000 years ago.  It is an amazing spot! (I keep using that word, but I can't think of a better one.)  Cal seems to love scrambling and climbing, so he was in his element.  Willa also liked it, but she was enjoying pretending to be scared.  She loves the drama.

Willa and I check out a cave.

Here she is "scared".

You climb down into the chasm over giant boulders.  Caves and crevices are formed by the rocks making tiny spaces where many non-claustrophobic folks were exploring.  Not me.

Looking up you see sheer rock cliffs, popular with climbers.  There are trees grasping on to the rocks with their roots.  Have I mentioned this is an amazing place? 

Once you are out of the Chasm, there are other spots on the property to explore, though the kids were not inclined to do so.  We followed the loop around up to the top of the Chasm, which was just as fun.

Willa, as usual, hamming it up. 
 After leaving the Chasm, Willa and Nick went to the sliding rock: a large expanse of rock at a good incline for sliding.  I was concerned for her pants and her bottom, but she found some cardboard and had fun sliding.
Cal had turned into a big whiner and the only thing keeping him going at this point was the promise of the playground (or gayground as he calls it).  It was a fun playground which included a merry-go-round!  I haven't seen one of those in a long time.  I thought they went the way of the real teeter-totter.  All the kids were attracted to it, but Cal couldn't get the hang of waiting for it to stop spinning before trying to get off.  He had a couple of harrowing moments, then gave it up for other, less frightening areas.

We had a great day, topped off by Mexican food (including a Margarita).  Hard to beat that.

We missed you, though.

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