Day 1: The 2.8 Mile Loop

We were up before the sun started peaking into our windows. The atmosphere in our home is like any other first days. First day of school, first day of Vacation Bible School, first day of summer camp and all those first days in our lives.

By 7:30AM kids (a.k.a. our students) are ready to conquer their first day of 5th grade, 3rd grade and K4. We first fired up Bible from Abeka Academy, then following our schedule conquering Arithmetic and Language first. It was smooth ride, and we are done at 10:30AM. All subjects. Yahu!

Now what?

Time to reveal the first day surprise: hiking!


We drove them to one of the nearest state park in our area. While we were originally planning to take one of those easy trails, we ended up going to a moderate – 2.8 mile trail. Armed with a big bottle of water, a map, their ranger booklet and excited happy faces, off we go to the trail.


This tree catches our attention because of its rough and big chunked barks. This is a pine tree that produces pine cones.
This tree catches our attention because of the smoothness and the stumps. We actually thought at first that they were animal homes or holes. Then, it switched to some sort of a mud that stuck on the tree.

We took notice of what we see in the ground, identfying rocks, identifying plants and trees, to the different bark textures. Our sense of hearing plays a very important role of  listening to sounds and identifying if it’s a cricket, bird or snakes! Then a loud rustle comes in. We all stopped. There in front of us, is a deer.  We just went quiet watching the deer.


The snakes (two of them) throw our 3rd grader a little bit that after getting out of the woods, to make our loop, she doesn’t want to go back the trail. We got to convinced her going back by showing her the going back trail is shorter. Yeah, the entire family conquered the 2.8 mile hike.

I asked, “How’s that for our 1st day of school?”

Our 5th grader says, “Is there a trail that has air conditioning?”

Our 3rd grader says, “Can we have a normal second day of school?”

Our K4, simply needs to take a nap. Very badly.

Bonus: Junior Ranger Badge

They are up for their 5th Junior Ranger Badge. It came in handy as we try to use our senses during our hike. What do we see? What do we hear? What do we smell? What can we touch? All of these recorded into their Junior Ranger booklet.

They finished about 15 minutes before state park closes. So that we have to call a Ranger to swear them in. They got their badge and a bonus bandana as a gift.

Thanks William B. Umstead State Park for the gift. It inspired our kids to visit more state parks, and complete the Junior Ranger Program.

Published by Cris.Joy

Information Technology Director, by day. Writer and website builder at night. Mom, Wife, and homeschool teacher in between.

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