by Harley McAllister
With the Spring weather warming up our family is getting anxious to get out on the trails. Thankfully the Spokane area has plenty of places nearby to get out and enjoy the outdoors - some are Natural Areas, some are Conservation Areas, some are State Parks, or County Parks, etc. In the coming weeks we'll be reviewing 5 or 6 of our favorites so that you can learn about them and then go experience them for yourselves.
This past weekend we took a quick trip to Antoine Peak Conservation Area for a couple hours in the afternoon. The trail is easy enough for anyone, the views along the path are fantastic, and it felt good to be outside even if the breeze was a bit on the chilly side. We also took the time to find 3 of the dozens of geocaches located here, which always serves as extra motivation for the boys to get outside. We'll be posting more about geocaching in the coming weeks as well.
When we went in early April the wildflowers were just starting, and the Arrowleaf Balsamroot were getting ready to come out in force. Now is a great time to get out there.
Once we have finished our blog reviews of our favorite spots we will follow that up with more detailed trip reports in that section of our website. So stay tuned!
We picked what was classified as an easy find for our first try. Dad showed the kids how to work the GPS device and off we went. After a bit of trial and error learning how to follow the device we landed squarely in a big juniper bush. The kids dove right in and soon found the object we were searching for: an old, black cash box.
This cache had a lot of little goodies in it. In a cache like this you can take 1 item and replace it with another. Isaac chose a little rattle to take and we left something fun too! Each cache also has a notebook or roll of paper to sign, showing you were there. We looked over a few of the previous entries (the oldest being 2009) and then signed our names. We were so excited with our success that we headed out for another immediately. The next one was harder since it was much smaller. We aimed the GPS unit and made tracks across the snowy countryside.
This cache was classified as a bit more difficult due to it's smaller size. It also came with a hint that it was located about 6 feet off the ground. On the way the boys were having fun pointing out all the animal tracks we saw in the snow. We wandered around a bit and then came to another juniper tree. Up the boys went! Our tall one spotted it and pulled it out. This one didn't have much room to leave little treasures but we signed our names to the paper and high-fived each other.
The boys really wanted to keep going but we had made the rookey mistake of only downloading two caches. Overall, this is a fantastic way to get your kids outdoors. If we had just suggested a stroll around the reservoir, they never would have wanted to join us. With our GPS and treasures to find we could hardly get them back inside! If you haven't tried geocaching yet-find a way to get started. Your kids will be dragging you outside!
Harley & Abby McAllister
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