We started out picking up litter along the bike trail, happily finding a discarded plastic bag to collect all our trash. After we followed the litter closer to the prairie grass, we ended up finding trampled paths that we could follow around the pond and into the copse of trees. Turns out we were following a deer path:
Megan was especially good at keeping her eye out for poop, and even noticed how different some of the kinds looked. I couldn't tell what all the poop was, though we did notice that one animal had eaten an awful lot of corn.
We ended up walking across the frozen creek, which couldn't have been more than 6" deep. The girls took the opportunity to do a little bit of skating. When we came across some ice that started making cracking sounds, we headed up the other bank to do more exploring.
While we were pushing through tangles of sticks and branches, Amelia said that we were exploring just like Lewis and Clark. She was very excited about the thought of that (never mind that I could still see houses). We discovered some beautiful ice crystals, mosses, and lichens while we were exploring.
Then we tramped through the prairie on the other side of the street, heading up to the sneaky back way path. The girls collected a few pinecones, and Megan found a good walking stick.
Then we went to go see if the pond was frozen, and it was! So we carefully stepped out onto the ice and discovered that it was frozen solid - and plus, it's no more than a foot deep. Towards the edge, the ice was so clear that we could see the cat tail stalks and leaves lying under the surface.
We found two small areas that were surrounded by cat tail stalks; the girls each claimed one as their own private skating pond.
It was really a beautiful day!
We walked about a quarter of the way around the pond before we turned back. We discovered all kinds of interesting things, including this poor dead frozen fish buried in the ice. The girls were fascinated with the fish.
There were all kinds of interesting ice formations, including this large concentric ring of cloudy ice that the girls thought was really cool, and the multiple layers of stacked air bubbles that I thought were beautiful. I laid down on the ice to take the second photo, and the girls thought I was crazy.
We heard some geese honking and saw this large V of geese flying directly north. Stupid geese.
And then we walked back towards our house following the creek so the girls could do some more skating.
I was ready to go home because my nose was getting cold, but the girls begged to stay out longer. So I told them we could stay out a few more minutes as long as they sang a song while they were skating on the ice. So here's part of the song they made up.
We got a half inch of snow last night, and are expected to have bitterly cold temperatures most of this week, so it was wonderful that we could get in our exploring walk before the weather turns back to normal. (It's funny how much longer and more willingly the girls will walk if I say we are exploring, rather than walking or hiking.)