Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

This weekend was absolutely perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. With temperatures in the mid to high 70s, I was hurrying to finish my work so that I could spend some time in the sunshine with my little girl, Cedar. Saturday was my only option and even then I had to meet some people for dinner in the evening, so I knew I had to find something close to home. It had been a year since taking Cedar to the Springfield Conservation Nature Center last, and I thought it was time for a revisit.

She is walking this time, which makes it SO much more enjoyable! I’m determined to enjoy the outdoors with this little girl for many reasons. I’ve always felt that my most authentically valuable experiences have happened outdoors and this is something that I want to be able to share with her. Also, it’s partly selfish because to Cedar (21 months old) everything is quite literally brand new! Every leaf and twig and grand daddy long legs is something to “wow” about. It’s adorable and contagious and makes even a simple mini-hike at SCNC a cherished memory.

By the bottom of the Savannah Ridge Trail, Cedar had already completely unashamedly stared down every stranger that passed by and filled my right cargo pocket with acorns, we were off to a good start! A child's fist full of acornsNear the Long Trail portion in the bottomland before the boardwalk we spotted a squirrel. I’ve always noticed that the wildlife at the Nature Center is very used to people. Deer and turkeys and squirrels are often much closer than normal and unafraid. This grey squirrel just continued digging in the leaves near the trail while we watched. After it had scampered up a tree and out of sight, Cedar kept asking mommy for “more squirrel.” I tried to explain to her that “Mommy can’t just make more squirrels appear”, but she was clearly disappointed until she discovered how much fun it is to run on the boardwalk.

By the time we crossed the bridge, she was ready to play in the water. I changed her into her water shoes and she walked right in and sat down. As an aside, you can never bring too many extra outfits for a toddler. The damage was already done, so I allowed her (under close supervision) to continue to make a complete mess of herself. It was really incredibly cute. I know I know, I’m totally whipped by this goofy giggling little squirt. I can’t deny it. For a long time I couldn’t really imagine being a mom, and now I can honestly say that with all the adventures I’ve had all over the world, this is by FAR the most fun I’ve had!

At the Sycamore Cut-Off trail, she was tuckered out and on my shoulder for the rest of the trip (all uphill by the way). I continue to be so happy that Chacos have such good arch support. I have to be ready at all times to carry or alternately chase after a 25 pound bundle of energy. Thank you Chaco USA for understanding and making these Z2s especially for the thrill-seeking Mothers of toddlers. What? You made them for river guides? The box must have said River Rats, I thought it said Rug Rats. Well, I would never have known if you hadn’t said something šŸ˜‰

We had a great day. I can’t spend a day on a trail without thinking about how much work and dedication went into it. Thank you to all who support the Nature Center and maintain it’s great little system of trails!A child examining the flower bud in her palm.

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