A visitor contributed post
We discovered today that 3 miles is about our children's limit for hiking in the woods. I am not sure about the rest of you but my kids whine when you take them out in public. So the usually whining we get and the normal parent frustration at kids antics, such as wondering why you cannot hit your sister with the stick you just found, starts to increase exponentially after the 3 mile mark. At 3.1 miles the middle collapses in the middle of the trail complaining she cannot walk any more. At 3.2 the middle is finally walking again but has started a continuous chant listing the problems with walking so much, usually ending with because I don't want to. At 3.3 miles the middle has stopped complaining and the eldest has started. At 3.4 miles the eldest is in full tear mode moving toward hysterics because we will not stop and let him climb a tree, bench, hill, pile of leaves, and tree. At 3.5 we see the car and everyone stops complaining and wants to know where the playground is so they can go play.
If you notice the littlest one is not mentioned, well that is because in her spoiled-ness being the youngest child she has started the "pick me up. I can't walk. I am a baby" at about mile marker 0.2. By mile 2 daddy has succumbed and is carrying her on his shoulder where she has closed her eyes and is considering going to sleep. Also daddies tend to start complaining about mile 2.5 when this happens and increase along with the kids.
The nature preserve [Caledon Natural Area] itself was lovely. I only wish I had quieter kids so I could see a few more of the birds that live there. But I cannot blame the birds, I would run too if I heard my kids coming. They did have a small dock with an observation area to look out over the Potomac and see the birds. We got to see a turkey vulturous and a statue of the rare beak less bird (ie. someone had broke the bird's beak, but my kids thought it was funny). But beggars cannot be choosers. The main trail was graveled and well kept and from observation makes a great running trail. They did have shorter trails near the entrance and a nice grass area that was perfect for kite flying.
It cost $3 to get in and it is out of the way so there were not a lot of people there. There were bathrooms at the visitor center and the most endangered species I have every seen, A PAY PHONE. I want to go back in full spring and see all the buds I saw actually in bloom. The large field with nothing but daffodils will be beautiful. All in all if you can find this park it is a nice stroll.
Be sure to come back Thursday for installment 4. And if you missed the first two parks:
Editor's note: Our writer had technical issues uploading her pictures (I bet they are great too) so I have added a few from our files.