When I was growing up, I was an outdoorsy tomboy. I was always outside in the woods. I loved hiking and swimming in the rivers of New Hampshire.
The river was my favorite thing in the summer. When we were quite young, my best friends’ and my beginning-of-summer tradition was to swim in the river on Memorial day to celebrate. Now, in New Hampshire, the river at the end of May consisted of melting ice running off the mountains. It was a downright cold experience. We would build “fish traps,” basically little ponds formed with rocks at the edge of the river, and the tiny minnows would swim in and out again. Then, as we grew up, we would wash our hair under the waterfalls, using Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, which is organic and biodegradable — we were very environmentally conscious. The scent of Dr. Bronner’s, even today, transports me back to the river. And, as we got older, the river was a favorite place for “gathering” with friends. No need to elaborate further on that.
Funny how you always think that your children are going to like the same things you did when you were young. Wrong in my case: my daughter was, and is, a girly-girl. No playing outside for her, not much, anyway. No sledding in the winter (it’s too cold, she said, and I bundled her up so much that she couldn’t move) or playing or swimming in streams in the summer (too many bugs, she said, and there was mud). This was not the childhood I envisioned for my daughter. That being said, she turned out pretty well regardless of the lack of outdoor recreation in her youth.
But I think that playing outside and being active in the summer is something that all children should do. And in this county, our Fauquier Parks and Recreation organization maintains 941 maintained acres of land and 122 acres of water, most of it in our local parks. Definitely something to take advantage of. Crockett Park, in Midland, offers a fantastic array of outdoor activities, especially on their lake where you can fish, canoe, and kayak. They even have boat rentals. And we have a new park to check out this summer: the Riverside Preserve. It’s a Marshall address, but it’s actually off Leeds Manor Road between Warrenton and Orlean — an easy drive from town. The 196-acre parcel was generously donated to the county and put into a conservation easement. It offers a location for lots of outdoor activities and includes the only river frontage on the Rappahannock River in Fauquier County. It’s available for fishing and as a canoe/kayak put-in location, which canoeists and kayakers will appreciate, since those are hard to come by on the private property which lines the rest of the Rappahannock in the county.
Another lover of the outdoors, and proponent of children experiencing the outdoors to the fullest and learning environmental conservation, is being honored this month. Doc Snyder, who founded Verdun Adventure Bound which offers a plethora of outdoor activities, will be honored there on July 20 for his contributions to our community. All are welcome to attend.
So enjoy the summer outside!