Today the hubby and I were brainstorming on what do with the kids. All of the boys were wired and I was bored, which is a bad combo anyway you look at it. We love to be outside, but have a hard time finding things to do in FL in the summer time that won't burn me to a crisp and wilt my youngest. We were also looking for something inexpensive. At first we were going to take the boys on a picnic to a local park, but Kooper, 10, and Michael, 11, are getting a little too old to enjoy the swingsets and monkey bars for more than about 30 minutes. We looked at taking a quick trip to The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, but it was already after noon so that was a bit pricey given that it would be around 1:30pm or later by the time we made it down there. Then I checked the trusty tool I love the most, the internet, to make sure that one of the FL State Parks we used to frequent when I was a kid was still open for swimming. Several of the lakes we used to go to when I was little are no longer swimmable. But, sure enough, Goldhead State Park was still open and ready for us.
We made a quick trip to the grocery store and picked up some drinks and ice and charcoal. We packed the cooler with the liquid refreshments and added some burgers and dogs along with the applicable condiments, and off we went. A quick twenty-five minutes down the road and we paid our $5 entrance fee and headed back to the lake. The boys ran down the beach and splashed and played for about and hour. Then we made our way back to the picnic area and Daddy fired up that charcoal. Quick tip: take some aluminum foil to the park when you go. Those grills are not exactly cleaned well. The boys played on the slides and swings in the playground area while the hubby and I got lunch prepared. Once we ate the boys were ready to head back down to the swimming area. I took a drive around the park while the boys were swimming and saw that there was an old Mill and trail and we passed an overlook and trail to view the Ravine on the way back to the lake. I circled back and we got the boys dried off and changed and loaded everyone in the Jeep.
The Old Mill was a disappointment. It was long gone and there is only a trail and some cabins for camping there. We made our way back to the Ravine and got out to walk down the stairway trail. It was there that the excitement for the day was encountered. We happened upon a snake. Kamden, my youngest had walked ahead of us and past the snake without seeing it. Kooper, my practical jokester yelled "Snake!" We all looked and there was a collective, "No way." He exclaimed again, "Yes, I am not kidding, it's right there" and pointed out the snake. All the boys were "Oohing and awing", except Kamden, who was a little distressed. My husband was typical guy, "Let's catch it." Me, I was reeling through those Girls Camp memories trying to come up with the phrase that I couldn't remember. Was it red on yellow friendly fellow or red on yellow deadly fellow? Crap! I had no idea. Since I couldn't remember, I made the boys turn around and we left the pretty red, yellow and black snake to his habitat and took our happy little selves right back the way we came. We made a stop to look out over the Ravine at The Overlook and then we made the quick trip home.
As soon as we unpacked the Jeep and got settled, I did what I do best when I cannot remember something. I Googled it. Red, Yellow, Black snake. Results: Red touch Yellow deadly fellow, Red touch Black friend of Jack. Yep! Mom was right to turn and leave that coral snake to his habitat. But that got me thinking, I really need to brush up on all those first aide techniques I learned 20 years ago, but have forgotten with time. Time to learn those phrases, those tourniquet, sling and wrapping wounds techniques again. Perhaps I should take a CPR refresher as well. At least the seed was there, at least I knew enough to remember that while beautiful as it was, that snake could possibly harm my babies.
All in all it was a great day. We enjoyed nature, together as a family. We got in some great exercise. We learned the difference between a Coral snake and a King snake. And I was inspired to brush up on those first aide skills that might come in handy with three little boys! They are my most prized accomplishments and I will remember our day for years to come.
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