White Clay Creek State Park is BIG! The park is split up in to multiple areas and on this visit we checked out the Carpenter Recreation Area. The bathroom and playground there made it an easy choice. Another great attribute that this park has to offer is a variety of terrain and wildlife habitats which increases the likelihood of spotting something cool. It is pretty amazing how vastly different the state parks in Northern DE are compared to below the canal. White Clay has beautiful rock outcrops, grassy meadows and hilly trails.
Before we go on any of our nature adventures, I always check the trail maps online to read the trail descriptions and see which one will give us the most bang for our buck. I usually aim for a mile long loop, and at the Carpenter Recreation area, the Millstone Trail fit the bill. Unfortunately…the trails in White Clay are not marked well and there are a lot of “unnamed hiking trails” that intersect with the Millstone Trail so we sort of got lost… I promise this isn’t a regular occurrence for me! We ended up walking well over a mile and although we were never truly lost, we certainly didn’t go the way we planned. And by we, I mean my myself, the boys and my Mom (Grammy) who is our adventure sidekick when the hubby is working long hours on the farm. As always, I have a tip to pass along as a result of our wanderings. Always be prepared! Wear layers. Bring snacks and drinks, and maybe even toilet paper. Just kidding! (Or am I…?)
There are a lot of beautiful things to see in this park, even in the Fall. We passed an old barn with peeling paint and it was just gorgeous! My new motto in life is “find the beauty in everything” and my favorite Instagram hashtags are #everythingisbeautiful and #findthebeauty. We never saw the creek, and we didn’t even miss it. On our next trip to White Clay, I plan on hiking the Preserve area so we can be near the water. We found some really cool things this time with varying colors and textures:
|Osage Orange fruit aka “Monkey Ball”|
D likes to walk on our hikes the majority of the time, but he does get tired after awhile and so we almost always bring our trusty City Mini GT stroller. It has big rubber tires and is great for uneven terrain. If we encounter logs across the path, or super steep inclines, we just lift it in those spots. It’s a pricey piece of baby equipment but we have definitely gotten our moneys worth out of it. That being said, you will almost never see O in the stroller. I am an avid baby wearer and love to keep him close on our adventures.
Baby wearing started out as a survival tool for me and is now just a way of life. I have no idea how other people with multiple children make it through this stage without attaching their babes to their body. Now that O is less of a baby and more of a toddler, wearing him is even more essential to our adventures. He is SO content in the carrier and usually just naps most of the time which allows me to focus on D. If I were to try to carry him in my arms, first of all, my arms would fall off, and second he would be squirming constantly trying to get down. In the stroller, he gets bored quickly and fusses, especially when we stop to explore certain areas closer. It just would never work for us.
A lot of the time when I wear in him public people look at me like I have three heads. My favorite comment when shopping alone with the boys is “Wow, you have your hands full!” and my response is always, actually no, my hands are free! Luckily, there is a group of parents just like me in our area called Delmarva Babywearers. They have a Facebook page and also hold monthly instructional and social meetings and have a lending library of carriers. Even if your baby is now a toddler (or preschooler) it is never too late to start wearing them! It will make your outdoor adventures not only possible, but easy as well.
They have great monkey vines too! There was one in an L shape that was easy to swing upon:) Little ones might like to just sit upon it.