From Xplor for Kids
June 2011 Issue

Take a Hike!

Publish Date

Jun 01, 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? Let's go.

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
  • camerasketchbook
  • Bug repellent and sunscreen

You choose...

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.

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.

No Food, No Fuel, No Fun

Has the hike made you hungry? Take a GORP break.

You’ll need lots of energy on a hike, so don’t forget the snacks. Good old raisins and peanuts, or GORP, is a tried-and-true treat, but any combination of crunchy, salty, chewy and sweet is sure to please. Give Xplor’s Four-C Trail Mix a try.

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup cheesy crackers (the ones shaped like little fish) 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

Pour ingredients in a zip-top bag. Seal the bag and shake to mix.

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.

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.

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

Photos With Nop and Dave: When Breakfast Bites Back

To painters and photographers, a portrait is an image that depicts the face and upper body of a person or animal. Its purpose is to show what the critter in question looks like. Of course, this photo of a yellow-crowned night-heron satisfies the definition. But if you call it a portrait, photographer Noppadol Paothong might want a word with you.

You Discover

School’s out, and the best way to beat summer boredom is to get outside. With creeks to seek, baby animals to watch and fireflies to catch, there’s plenty to do in June and July. Here are eight more things you can discover.

Wild Jobs: Bat Counter Shelly Colatskie

Shelly Colatskie sheds light on creatures that live in darkness.

My Outdoor Adventure

Amber’s headlamp shone on a big bullfrog floating in the dark marsh water. With a quick jab, she caught the frog with her gaff.

Nature's Exclamation Points

Some butterflies, with their dazzling colors and intricate patterns, seem to exclaim, “Summer is here!” Others lie hidden, perfectly camouflaged on leaves and bark, and reward only careful observers. But butterflies don’t just win cool points for color. They are downright incredible.

Xplor More: Catch a Crayfish

Have you caught a crayfish or has the crayfish caught you?

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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