Nature Field Trip

Yesterday we took the boys to Kanawha Falls and Cathedral Falls.  They were most interested in looking for signs of animals.  We did find some good signs.

red fox footprints

The first tracks they found were some footprints near the water in the sand.  After analyzing them and using the handy-dandy track guide they brought they determined it was a red fox.  I imagine a lot of that ID also came from the location.  I think grey fox are more field-type hunters where reds are more wooded area hunters.

fox scat

If there had been any doubt that it was a fox, a short distance away in some weeds they found some fox scat.  The boys really enjoyed that.

Further along we found dog tracks, a trail down the sand from the parking lot to the water where runoff had made it’s own “creek”, some bird tracks and another critter’s toe prints that I don’t remember what it was.  Overall, they found quite a bit.  I think our son was hoping to find a racoon rest-stop along the water, but we didn’t.  He has learned a lot from his father about nature.  I have to, whether I wanted to or not….

how jewelweed got it's name

We then went on up the road to Cathedral Falls.  This is a little recess in the mountain where water comes down the face.  It pools at the bottom and runs into a creek that goes into the river just a few hundred feet away.  The boys were thrilled to walk around the base of a waterfall, though it is more of a trickle.  I haven’t seen water gushing over this rock face in a good long time.  If we came out after a hard rain storm I’m sure it would live up to it’s majestic name.
Along the side of the trail hubby found some jewelweed.  It isn’t blooming right now, all you can see are the leaves, but hubby plucked a stem and took it to the pool of water to show the boys how jewelweed got it’s name.  When you put the leaves underwater they get a silvery look to them, and that is why it is called jewelweed.
We are hoping we can do another trip next week to Kanawha State Forest.  The problem may be transportation.  We are hoping to have more than two or three kids next week, and between our two cars the most we can take are seven.  We will have to see.

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3 thoughts on “Nature Field Trip

  1. fascinating post … I had to laugh that seeing dog poop grosses me out … but fox scat was very interesting and cool!

    our youngest son is home from VA Tech and I showed him your post as well … we are nature Lovers … sounds like you and your guys have lots of fun!

    • glad you enjoyed it! we did have a blast. the one kid hasn’t ever done these kinds of activities and he was thoroughly excited at seeing these things. fox scat is a lot like dog poop (foxes are dog-like, but also cat-like) but it is much more fiberous, which is how you can tell the difference!

  2. Okay Trapper,
    Were the fibers of the non-gluten strains? Okay, just kidding, but, I feel a little like you on the trip here…lol learning things whether I wanted to know them or not….Just Kidding, sounds like a great trip. I can relate to the dry rocks, where the name infers gushing somewhat though. It reminded me of down where my Mom and younger sister live, in Indian Springs Georgia. While crossing the bridge over what one would expect to see gushing water below, most of the time all you see are a massive bed of rocks. Still, after the rains and at certain other times of the year the water rushing is massive. That’s not where the name Indian Springs comes from however, as the springs always do run. They bubble up a constant, pungent “Sulfuric” stream of water, which the Indians came all the way from lower parts of Florida, and down from Ohio to drink,and stock up on for wintering. Had healing powers of course, with all the sulfur content. People still flock to the springs with milk jugs, bottles, coolers and jars to stock their refrigerators with. Heck, I probably should have bottled the water coming from my well down at the river and sold it when I lived there, as the sulfur smell of it kept you from really wanting to run the water in the house. I did get a better well after a while, but, then the hurricane washed the whole place away in 99, so, water water everywhere…Thanks for a great field trip.
    God Bless you

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