We changed up our usual hiking spot this past Friday. Instead of visiting Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, we headed southeast to Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve. I have known about this park for a while and wanted to check it out. We were lucky enough to have some friends join us, one of whom is a master naturalist. Thus, we had a walking/talking historian and naturalist to educate us throughout our hike!
We knew as soon as we entered the park that our hike would be fun. In the parking lot, we found coyote scat (I know that I normally take pictures of EVERYTHING, but I spared you this one). The preserve hosts a bog and a wonderful pond which is where we ventured to first. The bog was almost dry which allowed the kids to explore throughout the bog looking at animal prints and trying to find frog eggs. Around the edge of the bog and at one end, we found evidence of beaver activity-LOTS of beaver activity!
Overall the paths were frozen. The frozen ground preserved the amazing and abundant coyote prints! The key feature of the Ribbon Walk Nature preserve is the beech tree. The preserve serves as the home to hundreds of American Beech trees. They are old and beautiful! We learned that beech tree only grow in undisturbed land; thus, you know that the area is “old.” We also learned about vinca major and vinca minor and how the slaves in the US used vinca to mark the graves of their family members. Vinca is not native to the US but is an invasive species from the Mediterranean and northern Africa.
We only had a couple of hours to explore on this particular day. However, we do plan to return with a picnic and some water shoes!