At the end of March, we went to Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge with our Cub Scout pack. It was a beautiful day to get out into nature and to hike along the trails in the wildlife refuge. We took a vote at the very beginning to see what hike the kids wanted to do. The adults figured that many of the boys, the younger ones especially, would want to take the shorter hike and that the older ones would go on the longer hike. However, only 2 of the moms wanted to take the shorter hike (one was 8.5 months pregnant, the other was myself who wanted to stay with her pregnant friend, just in case…). Since we were obviously outnumbered, she and I joined the rest of the group on the 4 mile hike.
The kids did amazingly well going the distance and enduring the 90+ degree temperatures we had. Our only problem was trying to get them to slow down to see what different animals could find! It is awfully difficult to see things when one tries to race past them. :)
There were several “Stop, Look and Listen” points marked on our trail. Here, the boys were supposed to stop, look around at the surroundings and write or draw what they saw. Did they see any birds? If so, what ones did they see? What types of plants were around in the area? Was there any water?
We all saw and heard many different birds. My David was very excited to hear a cardinal call while we were out on our hike since that is his favorite bird. One of the boys happened to see a Texas tortoise alongside the trail about 2 miles in. We had to work a bit to keep the boys from touching it, trying to pick it up, etc. :) They were just a wee bit excited about their find!
I enjoyed visiting with a few of the moms on the hike, watching the kids have fun and also enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers in bloom alongside the trail. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to grab a new memory card for the camera, so I had to be very particular about what photos I wanted to take while on the hike. Hopefully I will remember to pack a spare in our hiking pack next time!
When we arrived back at the visitor’s center for lunch, Aidan and I stopped next to one of the bird feeding areas. A woman there quietly pointed out a green jay that was eating sections out of an orange to us. It was mine and Aidan’s first time seeing a green jay in “real life.” Honestly, it is one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen! We were fortunate to have stopped by the bird feeding area when we did, because the green jay flew away only a couple of minutes after we had it pointed out to us. There were red-winged blackbirds in abundance, and I even saw a woodpecker!
After the hike, we had a picnic lunch outside of the visitors center, then the majority of our group went on the tram tour through the refuge. I think that the tram tour was one of the best parts of the outing. Our guides pointed out different plants and animals to us, explained the history and other aspects of the refuge to us and really helped us to gain a greater understanding for where we were. All in all, it was a great outing, and a good time was had by all who went.