Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Beauty of River Bend: Trails to Relaxation

It was like a fantasy novel that suddenly burst into reality.

Tree branches grew into each other and formed gateways leading to new areas.  Wandering through the trails at River Bend Nature Center, it was as if I had been transported into a realm of infinite possibilities.

And in a way,

I had.

Every now and then I need a break, a way to gather my thoughts and just... relax and take in my surroundings.  See, I have a habit of putting myself into overdrive and working non-stop.  When this happens, I start to tire myself out.  Fortunately, I can recognize this after a while, and find ways to get myself out of this crazy, workaholic mess.

Cue River Bend Nature Center.

The easiest way to force myself to relax is to put my green boots on, head out into nature, and just observe the beauty around me.  I recently grabbed my daughter and headed off to do this very thing, and we left the park exhausted, but fulfilled.

Indeed, from the very beginning we were greeted with an amazing sight.  After parking in River Bend's parking lot, we walked past the information building, and discovered a large flock of wild turkeys in the backyard habitat that they had created on the eastern (slightly NE) side of the visitors center.

Horribly pixelated image, due to my phone's low picture quality... sorry about that!
I wish I could have zoomed in closer, but this was the best I could do.  I think a new camera may be a wise investment!

This was a great way to begin winding through the green wilderness, both on trails and off!  While I'm not sure exactly how many turkeys were there, I saw about 4 adults, as well as three young chicks(?) that were less than half of their size.

Later, my daughter and I had the crazy idea of following a very small, temporary stream... just because.  The reason this is so crazy is that mosquitoes love water... almost as much as they love biting me.  Naturally, I forgot to bring the natural bug spray that I got at the farmers market two weeks ago.


Regardless, we had a good time.

We also encountered yet another surprise along the stream.  

I decided to cross it, in order to see something on the other side, and nearly stepped on a deer track.

Even green boots leave trails... indeed!

One step with my left foot and I may have destroyed the track.  I'm lucky I saw it in time!

Eventually, we decided to go off the paved trails a bit.  Nothing truly adventurous, of course... I made sure that a trail was in sight whenever we did this, in order to ensure we wouldn't get lost.  I'm not particularly familiar with River Bend, and I had a three year old with me, after all!  There were plenty of animal created trails, so I didn't have to worry about disrupting any important growth, damaging the beauty.

While off the paved trails we discovered something that put me in seventh heaven.

Wild grapes!!!

The vine I had seen in my backyard that I had thought was a grapevine... wasn't.  That being said, seeing wild grapes out there made me very happy!

On the way back, we took a few breaks.  My daughter was pretty tired, considering all of the walking we had done.  She was happy, but I insisted on quite a few breaks, anyway.

We sat on various benches, which all had plaques on them.  

The benches were made possible through donations, and some were particularly eye catching.

Like this one:

The plastic had been scratched and dented, but the truth behind the statement retained its beauty.

"Those who contemplate the beauty 
of the earth find reserves of strength 
that will endure as long as life lasts."

Who can argue with that?  We should all take the time to observe nature in all its splendor.  

I feel very lucky to have River Bend Nature Center so close to me.  Do you take time out to enjoy our natural environment?  Where do you go?  

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