Saturday, April 07, 2018

Nature Week: Ritchie Hollow, Greenway Farms, and Big Soddy Gulf

Last week, the local schools were out for spring break, including Isaac's preschool and Jack's Y program. So we did a light school week, which included three hikes. Two of which we did as a family.

On Easter Sunday, we decided to go on a family hike since we wouldn't be with extended family to celebrate.

The Ritchie Hollow Trail opened earlier this year and I have heard good things about it. I had mentioned it to Daniel a couple of times, but when we looked at a topo map together, he didn't think we could manage it with our boys (it starts next to the river and goes all the way up the side of the mountain to Snooper's Rock).

But then a friend posted that they had explored it with kids of a similar age, so I brought it up again, reasoning that we only have to go as far as we feel we can. And Daniel agreed.

I'm so glad he did! We only did the lower portion, but it really was a pretty hike.

We walked through newly blooming wild flowers, we crossed small waterfalls, the kids waded in the frigid water, and we enjoyed the beauty of the area.

It is about a 20-minute drive from our house, but definitely worth the drive. You can see the Tennessee River for most of the hike and it has lots of great natural features. I can't wait to go back and explore further.

On Wednesday, the boys and I went to Greenway Farms for our weekly Nature Day. We saw butterflies, worms, potato bugs, and found a bird’s nest.

The flooding on the trail from a few weeks ago was gone so the boys worked on fixing the teepee made of branches in the woods.

Jack has been on the hunt for his first four-leaf clover. He hasn’t found one yet, but has been impressed by how big some of the clover leafs are.

Isaac was convinced we were going to see a snake. Maybe we will, but we didn’t on this hike.

The weather was a little on the cool side after a storm blew in Tuesday night, but the sunshine made it a perfect day for a hike.

We ended our hike with a little tree climbing. Isaac is really honing his skills and I’m not ready for him to climb high!


On Thursday, Daniel was only working a half day, so we arranged to meet in Hixson and drive out to Big Soddy Gulf as a family. We had originally planned on camping, but the cooler weather and threat of rain made us decide to cancel our plans.

Big Soddy Gulf is one of our favorite spots and Daniel had never had the chance to go.

It was too cold to get wet, but the boys still enjoyed rock hopping next to the water (Daniel was the only one to accidentally stick his foot in the water). The kids also enjoyed throwing rocks and sticks into the water.

There were quite a few families out on the trail enjoying the sunshine. The only negative is that we watched a family leave a glass bottle and sprite can next to the creek. There was a trashcan on the trail about 30 feet from their trash. When they left, we threw it away for them. It is so aggravating to watch people blatantly disrespect the earth like that (they didn't even have to pack it out, it was as simple as walking to a trashcan!). Rant over.

Overall, we had a great week exploring nature, basking in the sunshine, and spending time as a family this week.

Camping is still on our radar, we are just waiting for it to warm up a bit.


Check back on Tuesdays to see where our nature studies have taken us...
Previous Nature Hikes with Jack: 
October: Reflection Riding Center (Monday Nature Day with friends) ⎮ Joyce Kilmer Wilderness Among Trees (hike we did as a family) ⎮ Greenway Farms Nature Day (family archery lesson and hike)
November: Glen FallsMushroom Rock (with Mommy and Daddy) ⎮ Raccoon Mountain
December: The BouldersToccoa River (family hike)⎮ Amnicalola Falls (family hike)
January: Green GorgeRainbow Lake
February: Stringers RidgeGreen GorgeMushroom RockGreen Gorge ⎮ Mushroom Rock family hike) ⎮ Possum Creek (family hike) ⎮Greenway Farms
March: Mushroom Rock ⎮ Green Gorge ⎮ Mabbit Springs

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Year with Frog and Toad

*all photos of the play via the Youth Theatre at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Facebook page

Less than a month after we saw The House at Pooh Corner at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, we had the opportunity to see A Year with Frog and Toad

I have to confess that this was the play I was looking forward to the most, and it didn't disappoint.

The Frog and Toad books are some of my favorite stories from childhood and I had been looking forward to reading them with Jack. Knowing there would be a play to go along with it, made this even better!

I didn't realize that this play was actually a musical, and it was by far my favorite production we saw this year. The kids did such a great job performing, and they really followed the stories in the books.

This was the first book series that I had Jack read aloud to me and he really remembered all of the little stories.

Jack's favorite characters were, of course, Frog and Toad, but he also loved how the character of the Snail was handled. It was a minor character, but she had her own song that continued through the entire performance as she kept showing up to let us know she was still making the effort to deliver the mail to Toad! She was my favorite character too!

We had such a great time and are already looking forward to next school year when performances will include A Wrinkle in Time and A Charlie Brown Christmas!

After the show, we had a chance to meet the cast and take a photo with them. I can't tell you how impressed I was with all of the kids in the show!

Now that our kids are old pros at attending the theater, they expected to go to lunch at Good Dog (like we did after the last play we saw) and then play at Coolidge Park.

Unfortunately the carousel was undergoing maintenance, but the kids still had fun climbing the big magnolia trees and chasing each other.

Before heading home, we decided the weather was perfect for a little cardboard sledding, so we headed over to Cardboard Hill in Renaissance Park and let the kids slide down all sides of this steep hill.

It was such a fun way to spend our school day!

Productions we have had the privilege of seeing performed this year include: Charlotte's Web, The House at Pooh Corner, and A Year with Frog and Toad . We can't wait for next year's line up.

If you've been following along, here are our previous Friend Friday adventures this school year:
August: Coolidge Park
September: Creative Discovery MuseumGreenway Farms PicnicChattanooga ZooBig Soddy Gulf
October: Reflection Riding Center (Monday Friend Day) ⎮ Charlotte's Web
November: Creative Discovery Museum ⎮ Pioneer Days at Audobon Acres
December: Christmas Cookie Party ⎮ Christmas Cookie and Bird Ornament Party
January: Creative Discovery MuseumHigh Point Climbing DayChallenger Center
February: Hidden Hills Farm Maple Syrup DayValentine's PartyThe House at Pooh Corner
March: Hidden Hills Tractor Day and Cardboard Sledding (sans friends)Cousins Visit the CDMCousins Visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad MuseumChester Frost (sans friends) 

Nature Week: Ritchie Hollow, Greenway Farms, and Big Soddy Gulf

Last week, the local schools were out for spring break, including Isaac's preschool and Jack's Y program. So we did a light schoo...