Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lake St. Clair Metropark

We love visiting Lake St. Clair Metropark (Metro Beach to us locals), and usually make a couple trips a year. There is plenty to do and we tend to spend the whole day there. Besides the beach (we don't swim though), there's a splash pad, picnic areas, playground, shuffle board, fishing areas, nature center, and a bike/walking path that loops around the park and ends somewhere miles down Metro Parkway. Recently we learned there is a nature trail also.

We hadn't planned on marking this nature trail off our list just yet, but so glad that we did. I had promised the boys we'd go for our first family bike ride after all homework was completed. By the time homework was done, the bikes were dug out of the shed, air put in the tires, and were loaded up we were getting a really late start on our ride.

We normally park near the nature center, so after our ride we can stop in for a quick look around to see what new things may have been added. Due to our late start we thought we'd start with the nature center, but they had just closed. We started off on our typical bike path the leads out of the park. Normally we bike to McDonald where we have dinner as a special treat before heading back, but today we weren't stopping to eat. We rode the whole 3 miles to McDonald where we turned around and headed back to the car. I was so impressed with my boys for a couple of reasons. 1. They didn't even ask to eat at McDonald. 2. They hadn't asked to take any breaks during our whole bike ride. 3. One of Jordan's pedals fell off before the first mile marker and he just kept on riding.

Not being conditioned to ride for so long, our backsides were a bit sore. We chose to stretch out our muscles by walking the nature trail. We have only walked this trail one other time, as part of our 2013 Winter Bucket List. The boys really liked seeing everything turning green and the trail waking up from it's winter sleep.

We had barely started our walk when Joey noticed a leopard frog hidden on the side of the trail. Joey isn't normally the one to notice little details and this little guy had some great camouflage. After finding the frog, the frog hunt was on! My boys started really looking to see if they could find any more. Jordan found another leopard frog near the edge of the river. Jacob was searching so diligently without success. There was a large pond and Jacob feeling discouraged that he hadn't found a frog wanted to take the shortcut around the pond and head home. Nature had other plans for us; as we turned towards the shortcut we saw some Canadian geese with their goslings. Not wanting to test the new parents we took the long way around.

The long way held some surprises for us. First, we saw a pair of swans. Obviously they have long necks, but we didn't realized just how long until we watched then dive through the algae. Then the most wonderful thing happen, Jacob found a frog! Not another leopard frog like his brothers, but a good sized bull frog. We also seen another pair of ducks (we saw many ducks in pairs along our bike ride also).

As we were leaving the park we had one more surprise creature, a groundhog. He was so close to the road that I just had to turn around and try to snap a picture of him. While he hadn't moved when we drove past him the first time, we scared him away when we slowed down to take his picture (must be camera shy...lol).



Click here to learn more about Lake St, Clair Metropark
and
Click here to learn more about their nature center