Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Dad and I were surfing the web for information on Kinzua Dam, we discovered that there are a number of trails in the area that would be worth exploring. This area of the Allegheny Mountains has thousands of huge boulders deposited by glaciers during the ice age (this is called a moraine). Our kids naturally assume that we will hike at least one trail anytime we take a roadtrip, so we made note of a couple of particularly interesting ones in preparation for our fieldtrip.

The first one we tried was Rimrock Overlook Trail.  AMAZING!!! I love it when our plans turn out to be just as incredible as we hoped!

There are lots and lots of stairs.

But the view was worth every step down! This is Kinzua Lake (also known as Allegheny Reservoir).

Another tourist snapped a photo of our family.

Heading down even more stairs to the area below the overlook.

These stairs were narrow and MT wasn't too sure. You can barely see, but Mossy was absolutely
not thrilled either - Dad had to carry her  down and back up.
These pictures don't show how very long this stairway was.

The stairway went on and on and on.

This is the view from the bottom. If you look close you can see two people looking down at us
from the overlook.

The forest was beautiful and the rocks amazing.

We spent more time down here in the quiet than we did at the overlook itself.
Both areas were beautiful!

Back at the top of the trail, the kids enjoyed the moraine.

The second trail we explored is called Jake's Rocks Overlook. This is the
first overlook. The Kinzua Dam was visible from the second overlook, but somehow I didn't get a photo.

More huge rocks and boulders in the moraine. It was a beautiful walk!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Search Continues: Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny Reservoir

After our visit to Kinzua Bridge in June, I posted a photo on Facebook. A friend asked if we had visited the Kinzua Dam. Um, no... There isn't even a body of water in Kinzua Bridge State Park besides Kinzua Creek.  But she said she had visited there frequently as a child. So, Dad and I decided we needed to find this dam. An internet search moved us in the right direction. It is about an hour from Kinzua Bridge State Park and as far as I can tell there is no connection between the dam and the bridge other than the name. But, the dam is one of the largest dams east of the Mississippi, so it seemed like a good addition to our Friday Fieldtrip.

Kinzua Dam is on the Allegheny River and creates the state's largest inland lake, Kinzua Lake. We walked out on the dam and found some amazing views!

Looking out on Kinzua Lake

MT looking over toward the Allegheny River

The ladies in the background gave FRitW & MT some bread to throw for the gulls flying overhead.

Maggie captured this shot of a rainbow forming on the back side of the dam.

Looking down the Allegheny River. The trees were so colorful!

Dad and the boys watching the gulls above and the fish gathered below.

A view of the back side of the dam.
I love this view as we are leaving the dam. 

Kinzua Dam was definitely worth the side trip!


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Search for Fall Color: Revisiting Kinzua Bridge

We've been watching the leaves change around here and decided to get out on a Friday Fieldtrip and see some Fall Color! Dad took the day off and we headed to Kinzua Bridge. (I wrote about our June trip to Kinzua Bridge here.) We thought that the trees in the valley below the bridge would be gorgeous this time of year. The leaves weren't quite as colorful as we hoped, but we enjoyed our visit.

There are two viewing platforms that look out on the bridge and valley below.
This is from the top platform

Standing on the lower platforms (the one pictured above).
I think I caught all of them (except Mossy the dog) smiling in this shot!
This is the lower platform as viewed from the bridge
You can see that the leaves are still colorful at this level.

Kinzua Creek runs through the deepest part of the gorge.

Spans collapsed across the creek. Result of the tornado in 2003

If you saw my photo from June - what a difference!!
The leaves in the gorge have already dropped - the color was probably amazing 2 weeks ago.

The guys raced each other again, while a walked Mossy back to solid ground.
She really, really did NOT like being on the bridge! 

As you can see, our hopes for beautiful fall color were dashed at Kinzua Bridge. But we weren't done yet!
Tomorrow I'll share some more photos from our Friday Fieldtrip.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Practicing Purposeful Math

I'm making an effort to faithfully incorporate 'Living Math' in our homeschool. Today's project is liquid measurement. In planning this project, I looked online for quart and gallon manipulatives. I found several sets, but then I had one of those 'ah-ha' moments! I buy gallons of milk, half gallons of buttermilk, quarts of half & half ... ah ha!! I already have my own math manipulatives! 

We began saving containers of all shapes and sizes, washing them out and putting them into a plastic box. Some of these were traditional sizes, others were more unusual sizes, like a 2.78 quart jug or a 30 ounce jar. Once we had a significant stash, the boys pulled the box onto a porch, grabbed a water hose and set to work.

We talked about cups, quarts, and gallons. My homemade manipulatives are actually much better than the real thing because the some of the containers are different shapes, but the same size. We discussed how something tall and thin could hold the same amount as something short and wide.

They are having a wonderful time discovering how many cups are in a gallon, and how many quart containers they can fill from a half gallon. I'm loving the learning that is taking place!

A few final photos - because they did not stay on topic... They explored floating and sinking, water power, and a few other fun things!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Forget The Nets - Maggie's Got the Camera!

While the boys enthusiastically hunt with their butterfly nets, Maggie opts for my new camera. Today I will share some of the photos she has taken in the last 2 weeks. Actually a few of these might be my shots - occasionally I get to use my her our new camera as well.

Maggie was sitting on the ground taking photos when she realized that this garter snake was sitting next to her enjoying the sun. We think this is the same snake she and I keep encountering near our deck.

Chipmunks were everywhere at Jenning Environmental Education Center

Brothers can be nature too!

Some type of fungus growing on the trees

Another Garter Snake - we seem to attract these!

Caterpillar of an American Dagger Moth

A spiderweb among the prairie grasses

Cattails in almost every stage of their growth cycle.

Wild Asters among the ferns and cattails

FRitW says this hole in a tree could be home to a raccoon.