The McFarland family has a very important tradition when visiting a national park or a state park. Our first stop is usually the Park Visitors’ Center. So as soon as we had dropped off our bags at our cabin we were off to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Visitors’ Center.
This is such a family tradition that at just 5 years old William already looks forward to heading to the Visitors’ Center. William goes to learn about the park’s creatures and to check out the impressive taxidermy displays.
Jack heads for the huge 3-dimensional map of the park which every park seems to have.
Jason and I go for trail maps (again with the hiking), the park newspaper, and their list of ranger-led hikes, programs, and events. We read all of this cover to cover, discuss it at length, and use it to plan our stay. (Yes – we are state and national park nerds, but you probably guessed this about us already. The green tea drinking, tree hugging, and shoes give us away.)
Over the years we have had many wonderful experiences and adventures thanks to these research expeditions, and the amazing staff at our nation’s state and national parks.
On Friday afternoon we met the naturalist for the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (perfectly named Bob Wild) at the trailhead for the Union Mine Interpretive Trail and headed down to the Union River to explore and catch water creatures.
Seriously – our family and just one other family got to play in the river with the naturalist for the State Park for an hour. How cool is that?
We learned all sorts of interesting things.
Like the river we were exploring is one of the cleanest rivers in the entire United States of America. The river is spring fed by the second largest spring in the state of Michigan and the spring is only 2 miles upstream. Water just doesn’t get much cleaner than that in our modern world.
The water was so crystal clear it sparkled. It was COLD too.
But most importantly – we had fun.
Lots and lots of fun exploring the river.
Searching for cool creatures.
Celebrating God’s creation.
Giving thanks for the beautiful world we live in.
Have you taken time recently to thank God for the blessing of the world we live in? What have you seen? What have you noticed?