Saturday, August 22, 2015

Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park

Embry and I had a chance to enjoy some urban hiking today as we trekked the trails around the Urban Ecology Center near Riverside Park. Before we hit the outside trials, we toured the inside, stopping on more than one occasion at the Native Wildlife room, There, we enjoyed some snakes, turtles, and frogs before heading outside to a fountain area which had a frog and turtle as well.

Normally, I take lots of pictures on our hikes. However, today it was great to just enjoy the land and the company of some other family hikers. We dodged bikers on portions of the Oak Leaf Trail and balanced on narrow trails along the river. There were many beautiful trees and many that had fallen. It was impressive to see the size of some of them. What stories they must have to tell!  Along the way, we saw some urban art graffiti and a crisscross of a variety of trails for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.

Our journey wrapped up through some beautifully restored prairie. Though some of it was still being covered by the "black tarp of death," the portions that had been restored through tarping and/or controlled burns were brim full of a rainbow of wildflowers.

It's always amazing to find and explore the hidden natural gems of urban areas. What a reprieve from the concrete jungles mentality commonly associated with cities. This was a wonderful day for exploring and we only saw the tip of the iceberg. I think further exploration is needed. :)

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