|The day was overcast, and we'd had rain the night before.|
Today was a lot of fun, and I want to thank Mr Diener for inviting me to come along.
I drove up to Gooseberry Falls State Park on my own, so when you all got off the buses, I have to admit I was shocked at how tall you all are. I thought 8th graders would be shorter. Of course, I'm pretty short, so almost anyone seems tall to me. Four years from now, you'll be even taller--I only hope I won't be shorter then than I am now.
|Mr Lockhart standing guard at a dangerous spot.|
|Yet another shot of the Falls.|
Occasionally, above the roar of the Falls, I could hear your voices in the distance...But I have to admit, I was a bit more focused on trying to find interesting plant-life.
|Who can you see through the trees?|
|Canada Mayflower, I think.|
Whenever I caught sight of a group of you, I tried to snap a photo. Mr Diener warned me you'd be moving fast. Every now and then, a couple of you would stop and let me get a shot.
|They seemed to be having fun.|
I thought that I would see all the caches on my wanderings, but I only encountered one. Either I didn't hit the right spots, or most were well-hidden.
|One of the caches.|
|Witches' Butter: are those bugs there on the left? I want|
those to be some kind of weird insect.
Since there weren't any wildflowers to photograph, I turned my attention to fungi and lichen; I found a nice little bit of Witches' Butter. I come across this fungus fairly frequently.
Whenever I'm at Gooseberry, I always think of lichen, because down by the lakeshore, there are some beautiful patches of bright orange and yellow lichens...
On my way there, I caught sight of another group of students. (I think they were taking a short-cut through the woods.)
|The old CCC Pumphouse is covered in lichen.|
|I always like to visit this spot.|
Down by the lake, some of us ate lunch in the picnic shelter. Ms Powell was there with a boy who wasn't feeling well. We had a fire in the fireplace, and Ms Powell lamented our lack of marshmallows. I thought about a patch of fungus I had seen earlier, and how it looked a bit like molten marshmallow. I wasn't sure if it would taste good roasted, so I didn't mention it.
|I think this looks a bit like roasted marshmallow, dripping down the side of a tree.|
One young lady thought that clementines are suspicious and unnatural food items because their skins are so strangely loose; a moment later, she was discoursing on the pleasures of foods that consist mainly of "salt and crunch." Then, she was talking about the time some relative (was it her grandmother?) had made her drink a stick of melted butter when she was sick. (Wait, did Clementine-Girl tell that story, or was it someone else? I can't remember.)
|If they're carrying clipboards, then they're with us.|
Sock-Boy talked rapidly about a number of subjects while walking bare-footed on the cold stone floor of the shelter, leaving wet foot-prints behind him. At one point, he twirled his still-wet socks through the air, treating us to a less-than-pleasant-smelling breeze, about which we all complained; then, he slapped them fiercely against the stone walls to force more moisture out of them.
At one point, a well-spoken young man asked me how many times I had come on this trip, and I confessed that this was my first such adventure. (I marvelled at his courage. Most students under the age of about 16 are afraid to address me because I'm so scary.)
|Another group--note the GPS unit and the clipboard.|
|Mr Vocabulary on the move.|
|The collectible card from the Park cache.|
I enjoyed the day a great deal, and I'm glad I got to spend some time with you. I look forward to meeting you again (and putting your real names to your faces) when you're older (and even taller). Good luck with the start of your high-school career next year.