A once in a lifetime trip – followed by a delight next door

It was gorgeous out and we needed to go do something to enjoy it!  After Caleb got home from Bible study, we discussed options.  Zoo?  No… we didn’t get a pass this year, it’s pricey, and they’ll be doing their free days soon.  Go look for the tiny waterfall off the bike path?  No….  it’s way over in Bettendorf and lunch time is already looming.  The Nahant Marsh?  It’s decently close to us and we’ve never been before.  It might not be the most interesting, but it also might be a good option to try out.  Nahant Marsh it is!

We pulled in sometime around 10:40 a.m.  The sun was beating down and there wasn’t a whole lot of shade available, so we decided to head over to the visitor center first and scout out a map.

Although the center was undeniably stinky (reptile/fishy smell), it was a somewhat welcome surprise in that there were a few animals for the kids to look at.  Of course, the worker had to whip out a nasty snake first thing for the kids to touch.  Eeks!!  I tried to maintain calm.  Evie was all about it.  Abby refused to go near it at first, although we finally talked her into at least touching it once with a finger.  She did, but it was so fast I missed capturing the moment on camera. haha  I can’t say I blame her.  Snakes are….. er… not my favorite.

Other than the snake, there were a few different varieties of turtles, some lizard thing, and a bunch of nasty stuffed dead animals creepily lining the wall in a back room.  I could be forgetting something, but I think that about covers it.  The kids enjoyed it somewhat, but no one was bawling when we said it was time to head out.

Turtles, turtles, and more turtles!

We didn’t pick up a map, because there weren’t really a lot of confusing hikes available.  Basically you could do a straightaway one direction or a straightaway + loop the other direction.  We chose the loop since it had an ever exciting “bird observatory look out” or some such thing. haha  The walk wasn’t long at all, but the first part went through some mowed grass.  We had the umbrella stroller and it pushed through ok.  We found the look out pretty quickly.  It was mostly an open, little hut that you could look out at the stale swamp water interesting wetlands from.

I plunked Evie out on the ledge, because she wasn’t tall enough to see out. haha

We walked back around the loop.  Well, one of us ran…. that is until she found an ever fascinating stick.  After that, forward motion was more optional as she stopped to jab and poke at every thing even mildly interesting. haha

Daddy mocking Elly. haha  Almost every time we address Elly lately, she will point off at something, furrow her brows, and jabber as if she found the most interesting thing in the world.  It’s pretty great.

We walked back towards the center, stopping briefly to walk out on the dock and view….. well….. this.  As we stood in the blazing sun, staring at this, we voiced our thoughts out loud. “Well, kids.  Try to really enjoy this adventure, because it is most definitely a once in a lifetime kind of trip!” (see blog title) haha

Abby’s highlight was getting to see some flowers on the way up to the play area.  Her downfall was that she couldn’t actually pick them.  She is our little nature child.  If someone would stand by her and tell her the name and info on every bug, plant, leaf, tree, flower, etc. etc. all day, she would be thrilled.

The play area.  The tree stumps were kinda cool and amused the kids for a bit.

Last little fling.  We decided to walk just a tad on the other trail.  It wasn’t too different, so I took the two big girls out on another quick viewing spot and then we headed home.

There it is!  I know, this was a bit negative sounding, so please don’t take offense if you’re really into marshes and that sort of thing.  We quickly realized it wasn’t really our thing.  I am glad we went though, because now we know what it is.  There were some kind of interesting things….. like, the turtles.  And there was like a 50 foot stretch of a cool trail on part of the loop.  Soooooo, that was neat. haha  It was good just to get the kids out of the house and wear them out, even if it wasn’t that spectacular.  To end our swampventure, we had planned on picnicking.  I had packed the whole meal, but most unfortunately we had forgotten the cooler at home.  Oops!!  It turned out for the best though.  There wasn’t really a reason to want to eat at the marsh and home was only a few minutes away.  The kids enjoyed their picnic on the deck instead. 🙂

After returning home, picnicking on the deck, and enjoying naps/quiet time, we decided to go with an early supper (always) and head to the bike path a few minutes from our house.  We have had some GORGEOUS July days and we knew we needed to get back outside and enjoy the weather before bedtime!  Of course, we had barely started when the first mulberry tree was spotted….  Abs is a mulberry fiend, while Evie doesn’t want anything to do with them.

After a few dozen mouthfuls, we finally cut her off and said it was time to hop back on the bikes.

Off we went!  Well… until the next mulberry tree.  *sigh*

Just look at that stained up little grin!

After this we made a “no more stopping for mulberries” rule so we could make a little distance progress. haha

Elly always “sees” something. haha

Our next stop had to be the bench swing of course!  There was no way we were going to sneak past that exciting point of interest.  “Mama!!!  DADDY!!  LOOK!  The swing!!  The swing!  Do you see it?!”

Little Elle was living it up out of the carrier. haha

Little Zoomer back on the road!

We went a bit further and then turned around and headed home.  Cabz usually has to be the one to decide it’s time to go back.  I always have a rough time deciding to stop and turn around if it isn’t the actual END of something.  I always think I’ll be happy to turn back after seeing what’s around “just one more corner,” but it turns out there’s always another corner and I want to go around that one too…..

Elly thinks she’s escaping her carrier when she takes her arms out of the straps and has them on top like this.  Boy, is she ever proud of herself then! haha  What a smug little twerp!

Our little bikers!  We have regretted a lot of toys (junk) that has made its way into our home, but the bikes?  Never!!

And there you have it.  We had such an enjoyable time out on the bike path that we decided to take a picnic and do it again very soon, starting at a different point.  Stay tuned. 😉







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