It was gloriously sunny after days of rain and Riley’s Wilderness Park was covered in green green grasses. The kids were delighted to find patches of sourgrass to nibble all along the trail. They were blooming delicate yellow flowers on tall stalks.

The theme for the day was Tracking and Wilderness Awareness and as we started hiking we came upon some very obvious animal evidence, which any of the homeschooling kids will tell you is properly called SCAT. This stuff was big, with pointy ends, and tufts of fur sticking out. After some guide book checking, we generally agreed that it was coyote scat.

I was surprised to discover that there was a student who did not know that deer were hoofed animals that make very different tracks from animals in the cat, dog, or rodent family. I was gratified to see how quickly and readily he absorbed all the new information that day. In fact, he turned out to be one of the day’s most avid trackers.

The highlight of the day, though, was the “game” we played to heighten sensory awareness; we got into pairs and led our blindfolded partners up the hill. The students loved this game so much that variations were played for the rest of the day – one student even hiked all the way from lunch back to the parking lot…blindfolded. Intrepid and trusting hiker!

This post was contributed by Jeannie Lee who also writes at