From Xplor for Kids
June 2011 Issue

Take a Hike!

Publish Date

May 23, 2011

Hiking promises adventure—or at least something new to see—around every bend. Before you strike off for a walk in the woods, check your trail-trekking know-how by following Mari and Amy on a virtual hike. Ready?

Amy and Mari hike through a field of wildflowers.

Pack Light. Pack Right.

You don’t need much for a hike, but you do need a little. Wear sturdy shoes or boots—no flip-flops, please—and throw these in your backpack before you hit the trail:

  • Canteen filled with water
  • First-aid kit
  • Snacks
  • Whistle
  • Rain coat
  • Map and compass
  • Pocketknife
  • A small flashlight
  • Toilet paper
  • Field guides, binoculars, magnifying glass, camera, sketchbook
  • Bug repellent and sunscreen

Amy and Mari zigzag down the trail

The trail zigzags down a steep hillside laced with delicate ferns. Amy and Mari begin trudging down the path. You can’t help but think it would be quicker to cut straight down the hill. What should you do?

  1. Bellow “last one down’s a gassy skunk,” and plunge off through the underbrush.
  2. Follow Amy and Mari.
  3. Yell “watch this,” tuck into a ball, and somersault downhill.

There are two reasons why it’s best to follow Amy and Mari. First, wandering off by yourself is a good way to get lost or left behind. Second, if everyone who used the trail veered off the path, the ferns and other plants would quickly get trampled.

Amy steps over a log.

You’re leading the hike and reach a large log that has fallen across the trail. There’s no way to walk around it. What should you do?

  1. Just step over it.
  2. Grab a vine and swing over Tarzan-style while yodeling ah-ee-ah-ee-ee-yah.
  3. Step on top of the log, peek over the other side, then step down.

There’s no way to know what’s behind a fallen log. You don’t want to step in a huge patch of poison ivy, trample a tasty morel mushroom, or wake a venomous snake from its nap. It’s best to step on top of the log, peek over, then carefully step down.

Amy and Mari stop for a water break.

Everyone stops to rest beside a gurgling stream. You peel off your boots and dip your toes in the cool water. It smells sweet. It looks clean. The water in your canteen, on the other hand, has grown warm and stale. You’re thirsty. What should you do?

  1. Sip from the stream.
  2. Drink from your canteen.
  3. Convince Mari to drink from the stream. If nothing happens to her, it’s okay for you.

Stream water might look clean, but it’s probably full of germs. One sip and you’ll be sick. So, stick with water from your canteen. For ice-cold water all hike long, fill your canteen three-quarters full and freeze it the night before.

Amy hugs a tree.

A shiny green beetle captures your attention. You pull out a magnifying glass and crouch down for a peek. When you stand up, Mari and Amy have disappeared. You run after them, but come to a fork in the trail. What should you do?

  1. Flip a coin. Heads go right; tails go left.
  2. Use your magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays to light a signal fire.
  3. Hug a tree.

When you’re separated from your group—or if you get lost—hug a tree, stay put and wait for people to find you. Blow a whistle if you have one. The sound will guide searchers to your location.

Mari studies a wildflower.

The tunnel of trees you’ve been hiking through opens into a meadow. Thousands of pretty wildflowers dot the hillside. Your mom loves flowers, and you probably owe her for that vase you broke playing catch in the kitchen. What should you do?

  1. Pick some flowers. After all, there are thousands.
  2. Dig up a clump of flowers. Mom can plant them in her garden and enjoy them all summer.
  3. Take a photo. It will last longer.

It probably wouldn’t hurt a thing if you picked a handful of flowers for mom. But, what if everyone who used the trail picked a handful? Soon the flowers would be gone. Take only pictures; leave only footprints.

Also in this issue

Amber Bokern

Amber's Outdoor Adventure

Amber Bokern had no problem catching a limit of frogs. Catching them after they escaped in her house was another story.

Photo of a devil crayfish.

Catch a Crayfish

You get a line. I'll get a pole. Here's how to fish at a crawdad hole.

Storm Clouds loom over conservation area

Clock a Thunderstorm

How far away is that thunderstorm? Here's how to tell.

Insect Pit Trap

Dig a Trap

Like to know what's crawling around the forest floor? Dig a pit trap to find out.

Go with the Flow

There's no better way to beat summer's heat than floating a cool, clear Ozark stream.

Periodical Cicadas

Hum Along at a Reunion Concert

Periodical cicadas are wiggling out of the ground for a reunion concert. Grab some earplugs, because June will be LOUD!

Baltimore Oriole

Jam with a Songbird

What's orange and sings and loves grape jelly?

Image of a monarch

Nature's Exclamation Points

Summer's aflutter with Missouri's amazing—and beautiful—butterflies.

Girl fishing with father on Missouri river.

Take Dad Fishing

Follow these tips for the perfect Father's Day.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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