Backpacking & Outside / {Grateful}

Family Tradition

Last Sunday Jared announced that we have a new family tradition.  We talked a lot about traditions around the holidays, brainstorming what some of ours would be.  And, while some of them were good, mostly our brainstorming fell a little flat.  We didn’t have any new brilliant holiday ideas.  We both grew up with an emphasis on Christ and family in holiday seasons so it didn’t seem there was a lot more to add than that.  I have to confess, I enjoyed the brainstorming and the talk about “family traditions” but I was disappointed we didn’t come up with anything great.

I don’t think Jared was thinking about any of that last week when he declared that Sunday afternoons should be spent outside.  He proposed that after church every Sunday, we ditch a big lunch or nap, grab snacks, head out to some outdoor place, eat a picnic lunch, and explore.

Okay!

Our week passed by pretty uneventfully, until right before church Sunday morning when we realized that we didn’t have any plans to continue our Sunday tradition.  And it was a beautiful day outside.

Jared got on Google Maps and looked for a big splotch of green in our area.  This is where we went.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.  It’s a salt marsh.  And a haven for birds.  And forgive me, I took this photo while riding in the truck, hence the craziness.

Ummmm… if you have an aversion to looking at other people’s pictures, this post isn’t for you.  You can just come another day.  If, however you think wildlife refuges are the bombdiggigty, then you’re welcome.

Beaver Lodge.  I find beavers fascinating.  I wish I could tour that lodge.
We ate lunch in the back of the truck: hummus, cheese and meat, and an abundance of crackers.  If this were another post, I would wax eloquently how I love that Jared loves snacks because I love snacks SO MUCH.  But we don’t have time for that today.
We did not see any cats from hell while on the interruptive trail.  
Jared was our trail interpreter.  That is his trail interpreter face.  
This is a man made marsh that is managed by the park service.  But that’s okay, it’s good for the birds.
According to the trail interpreter (okay, the materials he was reading), these are purple loosestrife and they are an invasive species.  Hard to get rid of.  And really invasive.  Pretty.  But bad.
Go home, loosestrife!
Bird overlook.  See that white spot towards the left where the marsh meets the water back yonder?  That’s a goose.  This was the first bird we saw.  I was glad to see a bird in the bird abundant wildlife refuge.  
This part of the refuge is actually “State Park” and is at the very tip of the island.  Oh, did I mention?  This whole gig is a long narrow island.  It was also the only section of beach the visitors are currently allowed on. 
We visited during the piping plover nesting season.  The piping plovers are little birds that live and nest on the beach.  They are endangered.  And they like their privacy during nesting season.  
More birds!  These were some kind of duck.  I’m not sure what kind though.
Dad, any thoughts?  They didn’t dive, and they had large bodies, black heads and beaks, white breasts, and brownish wings.  Their heads and beaks looked too small for the rest of their proportions.  What are they?  
Protecting the rare birds of America.
I assure you, we were allowed to be on this part of the beach.  Have no fear.  We respected the plovers.
There was a large portion of the State Park Beach (which we were allowed to go on) covered in rocks.  At the beginning of the rocky section I thought it was so cool that these shells were wedged under the rock.
Yeah, actually, it turns out there are shells wedged under all these rocks.  It’s like a shell graveyard.
Neither Jared nor I were familiar with what kind of crustacean lives in these shells.  Anyone?
The inside.  Also, that’s not Jared’s hand anymore.  It’s mine.  Just wanted to clarify.
Jared may or may not have pretended these were his mouth for a while.
Trashed lobster trap washed up on the beach.
Respect the plovers y’all.

So, apparently nature adventure on Sunday afternoon is a new family tradition.
And we’re excited about it.

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2 thoughts on “Family Tradition

  1. Dear Michiganders,I do not, in any way, hope to rub your weather into your face. I understand that Michigan has been very… Michigan-like in the last several days. Please know that I am with you in spirit (as much as I can be) and am wearing wool socks instead of flip flops today in your honor.Bear through it, friends. Someday, spring will come. And maybe, the day after that, summer. Sincerely,Your far-away-and-concerned-for-your-mental-healthfriend,Mary

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