Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Superior Field Trip

July 13
After breakfast, we board a school bus for on an all day field trip off campus, but on the way we stop at Wolf Ridge’s bird banding operation to see a few birds they have just pulled from their mist nets, to listen to the heart beat of a chestnut-sided warbler and a Cedar Waxwing held right up to our ear, and to check out the mist nets for any new catches (there aren’t any).

After many of us check out the bird lab’s environmentally friendly composting toilet, we pile back on the bus for a twenty minute ride to Sugar Loaf Cove, a privately owned and funded nature center.  (We were supposed to go to a state park, but Minnesota has closed down all their state agencies in a budget tug of war.)

We make Swedish birch baskets with willow handles in the morning.

We use our free time after lunch to take a short trail to Lake Superior, where we walk the shore and collect beautiful smooth stones of many colors.  The boys can’t resist the urge to throw and skip countless rocks.

In the afternoon we hike up a trail along the falls of the Temperence River—so named because most rivers deposit sand when they flow into the lake, creating sand bars, but this river does not, so there is no bar at the mouth of Temperence. 

After dinner we use the camp’s GPS units to go on a Geocaching search for caches hidden around camp.  Each cache has a clue to help us fill in a crossword puzzle with words related to things we have done while at camp. We proselytize about the joys of geocaching (we are up to over 900 found by now), and we are pretty sure that several families will look for caches after they leave camp.

Then it is time for our campfire with s’mores, and entertainment provided by our talented fellow campers.  The kids surprise us with a skit they learned yesterday during their outing to the lake. 
Did we sleep well tonight?  You betcha (as they say around here).

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