When Erin told me she has been searching for good places for Alden to throw rocks in the water, I immediately thought of Clark Reservation State Park. It has been my old reliable, my default spot for short hikes for many many years, because it is close and convenient, and so very cool. Of course, it isn't as close to Erin's house, and she has her own default spots, but it does have a good spot for rock throwing. Apparently they have been trying many different spots near her house with little luck, so Erin was willing to check out Clark.
Since it would be Alden's first visit to Clark, and indeed his first hike anywhere with such big rocks, we kept it simple. There is a big difference between the escarpment terrain at Clark and the lake plain terrain at Beaver Lake, Three Rivers, and Great Bear. Start small, and build up. We hiked down the stairs, then turned left on the Lake Trail and continued west and north around to the far shore, where the scree slopes extend all the way to the trail and there is no "quicksand." We hung out here for a good long time, letting the boys throw rocks in the water and pick up earthworms and be silly.
Then we steered the procession back the way we came, climbing the big stairs back to the playground, where the boys had fun playing together, mostly on the double slide. Frankie and I hung out a while longer after Erin dashed homewards for Alden's nap, and Frankie read many of the interpretive signs on the playground. Logistically, Clark will never be Erin's default hiking (or rock throwing) spot. It's just too far from her house. However, variety is always good, and it's also good to start exposing Alden to rocky terrain. Maybe he'll even agree to wear his hiking boots next time...
|flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus)|
|bladderwort (Utricularia sp.)|
|lopseed (Phryma leptostachya)|