ParkQuest Diary

Hey Quest Families....We would like to thank everyone for sending in their photos and stories, they are wonderful. We are working on your submissions, and hope to get all the photos and stories posted soon. If you don't see a submission you had sent in, please contact DNR's Web Team. We generally update the page on Tuesday so check back each week.

If you have not written in about your adventures please visit our diary submission page and we will add your info to the page. Photos can be sent to aburrows@dnr.state.md.us.

Past Diary Submissions

Diary Home (current postings)  |  Week 1 & 2  |  Week 3  |  Week 4  |  Week 5  |  Week 6  |  Week 7 | Week 8 |  
                                                       |  Week 9Week 10 |
 

 


Shore Explorers

The Shore Explorers
Assateague State Park

This is a park that we frequently regularly, but until this Quest, have never given much thought to the 3 very different ecosystems on the island.

We took our time and explored all 3 areas thoroughly and really learned a lot. Beautiful island. Nice picnic lunch then afternoon on the beach for enjoying the sand and ocean. We spent the day here and enjoyed every minute of it.

Elk Neck State Park
Pretty hike through the woods and beautiful view at the end. We went on the weekend so we were able to go up in the lighthouse, which was very nice. The highlight for 2 in our group was finding a snake sunning itself by the lighthouse.


Team Emandal

Team Emandal
Janes Island State Park

Our first Park Quest of the season started out as a wonderful family adventure and ended up with a Park Ranger rescue. The winds picked while we were on the island, prohibiting us from canoeing in under our own power. This will be one we talk about for years to come! Glad we are laughing about it now.

Pocomoke River State Park
We visited Shad Landing (the Park Quest Finale site from last year) on a beautiful Saturday morning. This was alot of fun - testing air and ground temps, underwater observation and dragonfly fun. Don't forget to stop by the Camp Store for a yummy ice cream on the way back.

Tuckahoe State Park
Another canoe adventure!? After our capsizing/Park Ranger rescue at Janes Island we were a bit apprehesive to say the least, but what a beautiful quest it was. Tons of big turtles resting in the sun, beaver dams and a gorgeous crane nestled in the trees. The boat house attendant was the friendliest ever, very informative and helpful. We are looking forward to the finale at Tuckahoe this year. Look our The Mighty Four, here we come!


Goofy Galloways

Goofy Galloways
Calvert Cliffs State Park

Our first quest was the Calvert Cliffs hike on Mother's Day. It was a beautiful day with sunny skies. We're a team of three--two of us small boys. Normally, we make too much noise to see any wildlife, but we saw lots of lizards, two squirrels, a frog, and a snapping turtle on our way down to the beach. Once on the beach, we searched, but didn't find any sharks teeth. The boys quickly became more interested in who could make the best ""plunk"" with hunks of clay! We had a great day. Thank you!"

Washington Monument State Park
The boys and I stopped at Washington Monument State Park on the way to a family picnic in Waynesboro on May 16. It was an overcast day and the forecast was for rain, but it turned out to be a perfect day for questing! We visited the museum and spoke to a very friendly ranger who gave us our puzzle. We followed a group of boy scouts up the hill and climbed the steep stairs of the tower. The view was hazy, but still very beautiful.

Greenwell State Park
I went to college not far from Greenwell State Park. I've even visited the Sotterly Plantation, but I had no idea this park was here. We visited Greenwell on May 24. Our first order of business was our picnic lunch. We then found our quest paper and were off down the trail. The boys enjoyed the beach and walking along the riprap. We walked out on the pier and looked for crabs on the pilings. We saw lots of jellyfish! The boys slept all the way home!


Higdon Family
Patapsco State Park

Great adventure for the whole family. We had a blast playing frisbee golf.

Tuckahoe State Park
Fun was had by all even my youngest. The kids loved seeing all the turtles basking in the sun on the logs.


The Lockhart Lignthouse

Lockhart Lighthouses
Swallow Falls State Park

Had a great time on a wonderful weekend! Saw some very OLD graffiti carved into the top of the falls and a Fishing Spider! Very cool.

Deep Creek Lake State Park
What a nice addition to Deep Creek Lake SP! The girls especially liked the bear trap!


Bikini Bottom Bunch

Bikini Bottom Bunch
Patapsco State Park

We did the Disc Golf Quest on Mother's Day. I was terrible! My 8 year old & 7 year old were way better then I was! It was fun. It could have been more fun if the gnats werent so bad. I guess all the rain we've had recently was to blame. Fun Quest. We plan to try it again later in the summer.

Assateague State Park
Well, we were off on the beautiful Memorial Day weekend to hit our 2nd quest of the year. Assateaque was gorgeous as usual. Windy as usual and a great time...as usual. Although we thought the 'quest' last year was a bit more fun then this year, we all still had a great time trying to draw our findings. Can wait to hit our 3rd quest! BBB


Weatherford Family

Team Weatherford
Assateague State Park

We are new to Maryland and Assateague has been high on our list of things to see, so we were thrilled to find it on Park Quest. We went on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The staff was very busy, but they were very nice and helpful. It was cloudy and cool but we still had a great time. The beach is so beautiful! We saw deer very close but only two ponies from very far away. Each of us took a turn drawing in the field guide and it will be a cute remembrance.

Calvert Cliffs State Park
The hike was wonderful, a perfect length to feel like you really worked for it. We saw a lot of wildlife and interesting plants.

Greenwell State Park
We got here late in the day and the Quest box was empty. So, we improvised and took pictures of each sign and submitted our info on our own paper. Hopefully that is ok. But the walk is very nice.

Janes Island State Park
This was our favorite so far! It is SO worth the drive! Kayaking, perfect weather, the gorgeous beach, happy kids. It doesn't get much better.

Pocomoke River State Park
This was a good quest. By the end we could identify many different trees, ferns and dragonflies that we hadn't known. If you have bug spray, the optional swamp hike is certainly worth it. Seeing the change in the environment from forest to swamp was very interesting. Do beware of the ticks! We found several on our pant legs.


Eco-Explorers
Pocomoke River State Park

We had a great time in Pocomoke. We actually attended with another Park Quest family. We hiked through the forest observing the plant and animal life. Then we arrived at the pond and explored the diversity of plant and animal life there. It was a great day!


Team Brinkley
Pocomoke River State Park

This was our first parkquest ever. We absolutely loved it. My two children, age 10 and age 7, had a blast. We had two canoes as we traveled along the creek. Got a little confused on what stream to follow but found all the letters at the end. We had the wind to contend with on the way back upstream. But mom and dad fought bravely to push us home.


Family Fun
Elk Neck State Park

The lighthouse at Elk Neck gives a beautiful view after a short hike and would be a great place to picnic with a blanket. Brian (15) and Eric (11) loved swinging on the vines.


Team Nomad

Nomad
Patapsco State Park

We picked the coldest day in May to go. Having no idea what we were doing we somehow fumbled our way through the course. There was a storm system blowing its way into town and the winds constantly made the Frisbee go in the exact opposite direction of where we wanted them to go.

We had a lot of fun and laughs playing Disc Golf for the first time. If your afraid of spiders use the restroom on the top of the hill near the entrance. The bathroom near hole 3 is loaded with spiders and the little man freaked out. lol.


Party of Eight
Assateague State Park

We headed to the beach for Memorial Day and spent the afternoon Saturday at Assateague Island. We borrowed one of the video cameras and the kids took turns filming our fun. It was a lot cooler on the beach than we expected but the kids had a great time playing at the waters edge, digging up sand crabs. We also saw a cool sandpiper running along the beach which we used for our Field Guide. We didn't see any of the horses at any of the three zones but saw plenty of ""evidence"" that they had been there earlier. The walk to zone 3 along the busy road was a bit stressful to us parents but the kids enjoyed exploring the saltmarsh, finding clam and crab shells. There was a great breeze coming off of the bay that kept the bugs away. This was our second trip to Assateague (both times for Park Quest) and we really want to come back this summer and camp on the beach. As usual, the staff at the ranger/camp office were helpful and friendly. Thanks for the fun and the kid-focused challenge!

Tuckahoe State Park
We stopped for this Challenge on our way to the Beach for Memorial Day weekend. The park was busy with people enjoying the nice weather. The young man at the boat house was friendly and helpful. He quickly got us set up with all the gear we needed and a camera. The 4 oldest kids joined Dad in the canoe, while Mom kept the two babies on shore. After paddling across the lake to the beginning of the creek, we briefly got stuck on a submerged log and this freaked out our 3 and 5 year old kids. They had enough boating fun and wanted to get back on land with Mom. So we paddled back and dropped them off and then it was just Dad, and the two big kids. We enjoyed the slow cruise along the canal spotting all sorts of wildlife including a bunch of turtles, a couple water snakes, an otter or a beaver (not sure which, it splashed into the water very quickly), and lots of different birds including a large blue heron. We collected the letters and were back to the boathouse after about 2 hours. We really enjoyed our time on the water and the younger kids had a blast on the recycled tire playground. Thanks for the fun challenge and for bringing us back to this great park for another Park Quest Challenge!


Higdon Family
Elk Neck State Park

Elk Neck was enjoyed by all. If you can go when the lighthouse is open, it is amazing inside with a wonderful view.

Patapsco State Park
Patapsco was beautiful. The frisbee golf was lot for the enitre family.

Tuckahoe State Park

Tuckahoe was a great time for everyone. The kids really enjoyed all the wildlife we were able to see especially all the turtles.


Stingrays
Calvert Cliffs State Park

Sunday, May 24th: This was our first quest adventure for 2009 and the team is glad to be back. The hike to the beach was full of nature and different areas to explore visually. We noticed bees burrowing into the side of the trail, turtles sunbathing in the marsh or bog, a beaver dam, snakes swimming near the beaver dam, and several birds. We tried to identify the birds in our photos. Possibly a Bald Eagle, Great Egret, Red-winged blackbirds, and a common grackle.

The beach was a great reward for our son. His fun included finding a shark's tooth with his Dad, a fossil of a shell with his Mom, and seeing live & dead jellyfish. It was fun day just to be at the beach and cooling off in the water. While departing the beach, we spotted two lizards or salamanders on some large pieces of driftwood.

Patapsco State Park
Monday, May 25: Frisbee golf was a adventure and challenging to find the holes in numerical order. We had fun with lots of laughs mixed in. It takes a lot of skill and practice throwing frisbees. The McKeldin area had wide open fields for our son to practice his baseball swing. Unfortunately,""Can't control the weather"" quoting our son. We didn't have the chance to hike some trails or a picnic lunch/dinner. We learned this was the first Maryland State Park as it was established as a forest reserve.

The staff at the entrance was friendly,informative,and helpful.


Team Herron
Tuckahoe State Park

we had such a great time on the quest, the canoe trip was so fun, we saw lots of wildlife like turtle's, oriole's, heron's,and dragonflies. the kids had a great time and even helped in the paddling. the quest riddles were very challenging but fun. all around this was a wonderful quest to start off the summer!


The Friedel's
Western Maryland Rail Trail

This was our 1st Park Quest Adventure that we decide to do. What a great and fun family experience we had on this Quest!! The price of bike rental was very reasonable and the 2 people working at the Bike Store we very friendly and helpful. This trail was an excellent trail for those of us that donít bike everyday. It was all blacktop and smooth, so nice that we rode to the end of the trail. We learned alot of interesting historical facts about Western Maryland from the past, which we didnít know. My son liked when we saw a ground hog up in a tree, we had to take a second look because we didnít know they climb trees. He also liked seeing the snakes, deer, lizards, and worms along our trail. We meet another family, doing the Park quest and their daughter told us about little Blackie that she saw and named. I think that her Blackie grew because when we rode upon a black snake, it was about 3 feet long. My Mom would have liked seeing the snake before she was going by it and being able to stop or to move to the other side of the trailÖ There were some neat old houses along the way that just added to the trail. We plan to go back in September when we celebrate our anniversary and ride the trail in the fall. We look forward to our next Quest!!!


MD Scouts

MD Scouts
Patapsco State Park

It was a beautiful sunny day when we played our round of disc golf at Patapsco Valley Park. We've played disc golf before but not at this course. It was a bit difficult following where the holes were. We started on the correct tee for number six but somehow ended up on a different hole. Not sure where we went wrong. We were able to complete the challenge anyway. Husband is happy that he was able to beat both kids. We took a picnic lunch and ate in the park. Fun day for everyone!

Seneca Creek State Park
Seneca Creek is a park nearby our house. This was a natural one to be first on our park quest challenge. The challenge is quite hard! We could hear many birds but were unable identify them. The birds fly so quickly making it rather difficult to name them. After a hike about 1/2 way around the lake, we headed back. Luckily, we found enough birds to complete the challenge. Good day for all of us. We plan to return to go kayaking later this summer.

Washington Monument State Park
Very informative park about the life of George Washington! The signs along the path made the hike to the monument go by quickly. Learned some interesting facts. Beautiful view from the top of the monuement. Another fun day!


The Blake Rocks!
Tuckahoe State Park

First Quest of 2009 was Tuckahoe this year. DEFINATELY go early! We launched our canoes around 11am, and saw TONS and TONS of turtles, probably 50! It was incredible! We also saw 2 snakes in the water, which made the kids a little nervous. We passed other Questers on the way back, but don't know what team. I do wish we'd asked more specific directions when paddling...there's several forks in the creek, and being from the ESVA, we don't know that creek, and were trying not to be frustrated.

Was a great quest! No bugs, turtles galore, and we saw some kind of seeds floating of some kind of trees, that made the afternoon look like it was snowing."


Martini Time

Martini Time
Elk Neck State Park

On Mother's Day, we decided to do our first Park Quest. Elk Neck State Park is the closest to our home. It was a beautiful day and the hike was an easy one for the boys, Jackson (8) and Jeffrey (6). We were excited to be able to climb up in the lighthouse. Last time we were there - it was not open. It was neat to see far. The best part was the walk back along the water. What a great hike. 1 quest - complete!

Greenwell State Park
On our way back from Richmond on Memorial Day weekend, we stopped at Greenwell Park. We had fun spotting the painted cranes around the park. This park reminded my husband and me of a park near us where we got married (Swan Harbor Farm). The hike was easy for the kids who were tired from a long drive but were eager to get out of the car. At the beginning of the hike, they found honeysuckle and were delighted. We walked the trail and figured out the clues easily. It was enjoyable. (P.S. Bring paper just in case there are no clue sheets left)

Calvert Cliffs State Park
After Greenwell, we stopped over at Carvert Cliffs and decided we would need more time for the hike so we played on the playground (lots of fun). We returned on Monday to hike to the cliffs. It was a long hike (bring lots of water) but so worth it. The cliffs are massive. I remember going there a long time ago with my family. It was great to have the same experience with my family. We found at least three fossils but no sharks teeth. Jackson (8) was determined to find both - he was successful with finding a fossil. Maybe next time. It was a long hike back. We did see some lizards along the hike. It was a nice mini vacation!


The Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty
Gambrill State Park

Today we tried out Gambrill park quest. There was a nice little nature center with some preserved stuffed animals so the girls were very interested in that!! We thought this hike was shorter than Senecca Creek and a little easier for smaller kids. The views were fantastic.. especially the South Frederick Outlook. It was interesting to find out about the CCC. We had no idea about them at all! There were a lot of gnats flying around and some went into our eyes. Bleh.

But that was to be expected after such a rainy season. We didn't see any other animals. There were a few swingsets around but we didn't stop at any because we wanted to finish the quest. We finished in about 1.5 hours. Other teams could probably do it faster than us. Our girls are kind of slow. We enjoyed this quest and would probably go again since now we know where it is and that it's a beautiful place to visit!


Team Frost

Team Frost
Assateague State Park

Another beautiful day on the island. This is beyond a doubt one of the great treasures in the state. We were kind of surprised that we had to do a field guide since none of us can draw very well. As usual, when needed, the horses were no where to be seen. We did get some pictures of a shorebird we had nbot seen before. It was a great day, awesome weather and the right wind (from the east!)

Pocomoke River State Park
This was a first time for us at Shad Landing. We had driven by numerous times but never stopped. I suggest stopping for anyone that has not been here. The quest was great. We had a blast trying to catch creatures in the pond. We all took turns looking through the water viewer. Pretty interesting what you find at the bottom of a pond when you really look. Note to others, the swamp portion of the quest is worth doing but ensure you have a good repellant, the mosquitos can be quite fierce. The quest and activities were very well thought out and enjoyable. Thanks.

Janes Island State Park
Wow! What can I say. I always had a love for the Chesapeake and this place just absolutely reaffirms it. I wish we had camped here. We will definitely be coming back. The kayak trip to the island and the view surrounding it are outstanding. The weather was great, the breeze light and the experience...unforgetable. I do have to say the staff was very friendly and helpful.

Tuckahoe State Park
This was a very pleasant quest. A 2 1/2 mile trip on what appears to be a small lake....until you get to the stream that fills the lake. You take a winding, casual, refreshing paddle upstream to find 6 different signs along the slow moving stream. We were very happy that the mosquitos were on vacation. This is a very nice park surrounded by farm country on the Eastern Shore that is well worth the stop if you are ever near the area. The picnic area is in a grove of very tall pine trees that are straight as an arrow and provide plenty of shade. We really enjoyed this park as well as the help we received from the young man at the ""boathouse"".

Elk Neck State Park
We have lived in Cecil county for 10 years and never made our way here. This is definitely worth the walk (only 0.8 miles) to the lighthouse. The lighthouse, though not tall, sits on a 100 foot bluff above the Chesapeake with a stunning view. The two volunteers manning the facility are a wealth of knowledge and can answer just about about any question. Definitely worth the trip.


Team Voodoo

Team Voodoo

Calvert Cliffs State Park
We decided to do Calvert Cliffs and Grenwell on the same day, since they are so close. We did this quest on Memorial Weekend with the 1st stop being Calvert Cliffs. There were tons of families on the trail to the beach. The hike to the beach was 1.8 miles each way (quite a hike), but we made it. Becca found a green snake on the trail. She has all of a sudden become a very brave 12 years old. Mom almost jumped out of her pants. She carefully picked up the snake by its tail to show her older brother, before it slithered away into the woods. The kids enjoyed looking for fossils and we did find a sharks tooth. It was really cool. We also saw a big black snake climbing a tree. It looked to be about 6 feet long. It really must have wanted something in that tree. This was one of the more difficult quests this year. The kids did enjoy the tire playground both on the way up and back from the beach.

Greenwell State Park
This was our 2nd quest on Memorial Weekend. Greenwell State park appears to be a nice little park with a lot of fishing opportunities and a nice little beach. This is a nice park.

Gambrill State Park
This is a very good quest to do as the first quest on the way to the western parks; you will be surprised at how often the CCC Boys come up in all the western parks. This is a good basis to learn about the CCC Boys so as you come across the work they did at other parks you understand what a huge asset they were and the great work they did. We were really surprised we had never heard of the CCC Boys before. This was a beautiful park with great scenery and overlooks, and a real joy to explore. We even had the opportunity to see deer on the trail. We were very close, and they did not run from us. We got some great pictures.

Patapsco State Park
This is the first quest we did on the western shore and this was basically the first time we played Frisbee golf. This was quite a lot of fun. The course was a little confusing to follow, but we muddled through. Hole #7 was the most difficult to play and find. As we went, the more fun we had as we got use to the course and the game, the kids really got goofy with the Frisbees, throwing them more for fun than for the game, but we made it. Mom wound up with a bruise on her elbow due to being hit by a Frisbee. Momís beware it can get a little dangerous to play.

Seneca Creek State Park
Little did I know my wife would have so much fun bird watching! This quest was a little slow for the kids, getting them to hold still to look for and identify the birds. I was surprised there werenít more waterfowl, but we did find a lot of different birds to log. We saw over 23 different types birds. We even saw a Black squirrel. We found one type that we had a hard time identifying-(orchard oriole) our favorite was the ďRavenĒ

Swallow Falls State Park
We were the 1st team to complete this quest. Mom loves waterfalls and this place simply took her breathe away! The falls were absolutely spectacular. The hike along the river was cool and refreshing. The kids found a tree stump which was home to a frog. The rock out cropping amazed our daughter and son. We took tons of pictures of the rocks and cliffs. We even had time for the kids to drip their toes in the river. (Still no sign of bears) This is definitely a park that needs to seen and felt to appreciate it. This was a park that we had never seen or heard of before. We are hoping to return one day soon. This park is a must see. This was one of the more difficult quest but well worth the time and effort.

Washington Monument State Park
The history behind this monument is amazing; it dates back to the revolutionary war but has its place in the civil war and the CCC Boys era. The hike the monument is nice and easy with lots of shade. The museum is fascinating and you should give your self a little extra time to really look at the stuff in the museum. We took tons of pictures to send in to the park. The kids had no problem posing for pictures for this park.

Deep Creek Lake State Park
This was our 1st trip to Western Maryland as a family. The lake was beautiful, the park was awesome, but we didnít see any bears. The park has a great Nature Center. The hike was easy and fun using the GPS. The kids really enjoyed the bear trap. We saw deer on the trials. The kids really enjoyed sitting on the floating dock and being able to see to the bottom of the lake. They even saw a fish head- yuck. We real enjoyed Western Maryland so much, that we are planning on returning for a vacation. It was definitely a change in scenery for us, getting off of the Eastern shore (Beach) and seeing Western Maryland (Mountains). The mountain roads made mom just a little nervous. She finally let go of the hand grips in the truck on the ride home. This quest was quite a hike for us, but it is a must see. It was so worth the long drive.


Sills Plus
Assateague State Park

We decided to make Assateague our first quest on May 10. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day especially since it was Mother's Day! Creating the field guide was a challenge, since none of us have any real sketching skills, but it really made us focus of the variety of wildlife that can be found on the island. We saw a horseshoe crab on the beach and a terrapin by the bay, along with several types of birds and butterflies. The mosquitoes were out in full force too! And, of course we forgot bug spray! We brought our bikes and biked from place to place on the island. If we had been walking, I know the mosquitoes would have bothered us much more than they did. You definitely need to make sure to bring bug spray when you visit. Assateague was a great start to our Park Quest adventure for this year- we live close by and visit the park often, and it is just as enjoyable the 100th time as it is the 1st!

Pocomoke River State Park
Today we had a great time completing the Pocomoke River Quest. The weather was perfect- not too hot for hiking and exploring! We caught and identified quite a few bugs at the Forest Exploration area, but had the most fun at the Pond Exploration site. There were plenty of dragonflies, damselflies, and tadpoles to catch. We had no clue that there were so many different types of dragonflies! The most exciting find, however, were the northern water snakes around the pond. We saw a total of three. The last one we found was acting a little strange and we discovered that it had swallowed a fishing lure/hook when we saw the fishing line hanging out of its mouth. We managed to carefully catch the snake and took it to the park rangers to see if they could help it. Hopefully, he will be slithering back at the pond soon! James, who is 3 and LOVES snakes, kept asking if the ""snake doctor"" was going to help the snake and make him better. I know he will remember this quest! Another fantastic day at one of Maryland's great state parks!


Team Ravens
Deep Creek Lake State Park

We did the Deep Creek Lake Quest on Sunday the 17th after camping for the night at Swallow Falls. It is wonderful to see that it is such a nice day, after 3-4hrs of heavy rain during last evening. And waking up, to only 42 degrees in our tent and outside air. We did not bring enough blankets or warm clothing. It warmed up to about 64 degrees, the mountains are chilly. The quest went fairly quick, except it was difficult to do the rubbings when completing the quest. Bring a good rubbing pencil!!! There must be bears around, although we did not get to see any. That's good I guess. The bear trap they have out must have worked. Well, we did the two quests that were the farthest away from us and it was a long tiring trip. Can't wait for the next one!!!!


Team LaCassee
Patapsco State Park
We had a Great time at Patapsco Park. We did the quest and the kids both enjoyed it...There were a lot of bug but I guess that comes with summer. We found a turtle, and the kids loved that. We brought a picnic lunch and after the quest we ate and the kids played on the playground. After we stayed and explored the park. We had a GREAT time!

Western Maryland Rail Trail
We had a great time on this quest....First we rented a bike and a trailer for the kids, we had one bike...then we started on our journey...what a beautiful trail...we did see one snake which the kids loved and named blackie... We really enjoyed this quest and look forward to going back and biking there again.


The Ravens
Swallow Falls State Park

We decided to start with the two quests fathest away from us first. So we planned a camping trip to Swallow Falls on Saturday May 16. The trip up there took about 4.5hrs. This gave us just enough time to do the Swallow Falls Quest. It was fantastic my son, enjoyed looking for the words to fill in the blanks to the questions. The falls were just spectacular. Our black Labrador jumped off the rocks at the bottom of the falls. We had to find a place to let him have fun too. There is lots of hiking up and down hills and along small paths on this quest.


Team McCormick

Clan McCormick
Elk Neck State Park

Quest #1 for Clan McCormick - we started out at the closest park - Elk Neck. We had perfect weather and really enjoyed the afternoon. Although we had been to Elk Neck before, we had never climbed to the top of the lighthouse - what a view!!

It is amazing to think of the lighthouse keepers living there year round. The kids had fun looking at things both on and off trail, and they can't wait to go back!

Assateague State Park
Assateague was the perfect setting for Clan McCormick's second Quest. The weather was perfect - cool, slightly overcast, and not too ""buggy.""

The kids really enjoyed seeing the wide variety of animal life in all of the different habitats - especially the ponies. After completing the Quest, the girls had a blast playing on the beach and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere. In fact, we had such a good time that we decided to head back the next day and go camping.


Team Girad

Girard Family
Gambrill State Park

This is a wonderful state park near Frederick. The hiking trails are managable for kids and have spectacular views. We saw lots of people on mountain bikes too. The most scenic view is at the Middletown Overlook. We saw beautiful rolling hills dotted with farms and country churches. We learned about the CCC boys and the incredible work they did on the overlooks and buildings. They did quality work- only for $1 a day.

Washington Monument State Park
This was really fun for us. We learned about George Washington and walked to the top of the monument. The quest was longer and more involved but was still really fun. The Civil War history was very interesting. We would love to go back soon.


Hardesty Family

Hardesty Family
Assateague

Dad and the three oldest boys camped out at Assateague last night to watch the rocket launch from Wallop's Island. They had a great time!

The ""baby"" and I joined them this morning to complete our first Park Quest. It was a beautiful sunny day which was perfect for enjoying the beach and most of our walk, but once the mosquitos found us they didn't leave us alone!

We rushed to finish the final phase of our Quest but were still able to successfully complete it. It was a blast!


The Horseshoe Crabs
Calvert Cliffs State Park

We really enjoyed the walk to the cliffs. We saw wood ducks,the remains of some beaver lodges and a green snake. We met several people on their way back from the beach as we were walking to the beach. The two mile walk is a easy one. We all enjoyed walking the beach looking for sharks teeth and other fossils. We had a great time.

Patapsco State Park
Disc Golf was a new experience for all of our team except for one person. This was not easy for some of us. Our four year old was more interseted in the millapede and other things he saw. Bugs were a problem.

Greenwell State Park
What a beautiful place to live. We arrived at Greenwell about five o'clock on a Saturday, May 16th. We walked to the horse barn where we knew we were to end. From information we received there we were able to figure out what we were to do. We wrote down the information we think the worksheet may have asked for on notebook paper and completed the task of filling in our clue page. We placed our notebook paper page with all of our information on it in the box on the horse barn.

Pocomoke River State Park
Ticks! Ticks! Ticks! Be prepared! The quest is a great one from the forest, to the pond, to the Cypress swamp. The pond was our four year olds favorite. He loved catching all the bugs, tadepoles,and fish.

Seneca Creek State Park
A bird watchers paradise. As you visit the 6 stations you will see and hear birds of all kinds. The rain did get us at the very end of the hike but the rest of the quest was great. The directions were easy to follow. We saw some birds that we had never seen before.

Washington Monument State Park
What an educational quest. The worksheet is easy to fill in as you walk the path up to the monument. We had no view the day we visited. All we saw were fog, mist, and clouds.

Elk Neck State Park
Beautiful view of the water in several spots along the trail. The view from the lighthouse overlooking the water was magnificient. We went up in the lighthouse. Be prepared, the opening is not very big so you need to leave all of your gear at the bottom. Also, it was in the 80's the day we went and it was quite hot at the top of the lighthouse since it is enclosed. We all enjoyed the quest.


Party of Eight

Party of Eight
Greenwell

Greenwell SP was stop number two for us on opening Saturday of Park Quest 2009. We were a bit wore out from the hike at Calvert Cliffs so this shorter hike at a beautiful and breezy park was perfect. The friendly folks at the gate were helpful in getting us started and told us where to go. We found the quiz sheet and the map and were on our way. There were plenty of cars in the lot on this beautiful day and the fishing pier and swimming beach were crowded with folks who are lucky enough to know about this great park. The big kids were able to figure out the puzzles themselves and had the final word figured out before we were half-way done. They would run up ahead when they spotted the sign and pose for pics while we wrote down the info. Overall, this was a great park with friendly staff and a well done challenge designed for kids.

Calvert Cliffs State Park
We were excited to start Park Quest and we decided to head south to try Calvert Cliffs and Greenwell, as they are two of the closer ones to home. We had fun exploring the trail along the way to the beach and the kids had a great time splashing in the water and fossil hunting. They found several shark teeth and small fossil pieces. We packed a picnic lunch and ate at the picnic table near the beach. We saw plenty of wildlife along the trail including a wood pecker, frogs and toads, two big brown snakes sunning themselves on the beaver dam, and a small water-snake in one of the streams.

Thanks for the fun!

Patapsco State Park
Another beautiful day in a Maryland State Park. We had been to this great park last year for a geocaching picnic, but had never played Frisbee/disc golf before. The friendly guy at the check-in station got us all set up with discs, scorecard and the map. We made our way to the parking lot near the first tee and the kids played on the playground while we packed up and then we had a few practice throws at the practice basket. It was fun but tougher than we expected. After the first round of short throws from the first tee, we decided to play Frisbee/disc golf. Either Mom, Dad or our oldest son would have the farthest throw of the group, then we would all grab our discs and take our next shot from the farthest thrown disc. Mom had to quit after the 3rd hole since Baby B. wanted to be held instead of riding in the stroller. The kids really got better as we went on and trees kept jumping in front of Dad's throws.

Our almost 2 year old, E., eventually got out of the stroller and explored the course with Mom and Baby B. while they rest of us played on. E. was playing near a large fallen branch and walked right into the end of it, missing his eyeball by about an inch. His guardian angel works overtime. We only played 9 of the 18 holes (baskets?) but that was all that was needed to solve the puzzle. We brought a nice picnic lunch but the gnats were terrible and we ended up eating in the van in the shade with the AC cranked. Thanks for adding disc golf to Park Quest this year, we really had a great time as a family in this wonderful park.


Dymowski Family

Team Dymowski 7
Elk Neck State Park

Our first quest was a great experience. This park is only 15 minutes from our house, but we hadn't been there in 2 years. We had beautiful weather(after a week of rain), and we were all itching to get outside anyway. Our two oldest, Cal(12) and Cate (10, were not enthusiastic about doing the actual quest and rolled their eyes and spoke under their breath in that way that only preteens can. Matthew (8) and Thomas (5 1/2) eagerly packed the snacks and water, and they were bouncing with excitement the whole drive there. Jack (1 1/2) is just along for the ride, but his eyes lit up when we stepped onto the parking lot and he saw water through the trees. It was such a nice easy walk to the lighthouse for everyone, so there were no complaints. The quest questions definitely hooked the older two, and the vines in the second little forest allowed for some swinging ""Indiana Jones"" style.

We had never been to the top of the lighthouse before, so everyone was super-excited when we were allowed to the top, two at a time! The woman working at the lighthouse used to be a middle school teacher, so she laughed along with us as we teased Cal (who was by now conceding how much fun he was having).

Great start to our quest!


Team Frost
Gambrill State Park

We had the pleasure of being the first Team to do the Gambrill State Park Quest. We showed up around noonish on May 9. We had never been to this park before and were not quite sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised at what we found there. First of all, the two ladies (rangers) that were there to greet us were friendly and full of imformation about the area. We learned quite a bit about the CCC Civilian Conservation Corps. We were not aware that that program existed in this region during the Depression. It was very interesting to see what they had accompolished with so little. The views from the overlooks were outstanding and well worth the trip to the area. I would highly recommend this area for a day outing. They have a nice picnic area near the overlooks. We watched one couple eating crabs with the valley as a backdrop, we were just a bit jealous.

Washington Monument
We were the first team to do this Quest also. We went to the Monument on May 9 at 2 PM or so. We found a very nice, well kept park with camping and picnic areas. Upon arrival to the museum, we were met by two very nice gentlemen that filled us in on the area and the Park. Were told about the history of th area as it relates to the Civil War era. After the brief history lesson we walked up the trail to the Monument and learned quite a bit about the life of George Washington. At the top of the trail is an impressive stone structure with a spiral staircase that opens to a rooftop overlook of the entire valley, overlooking the Appalachian Trail. This is a pet friendly area as long as the dog is on a leash. We had a very good visit.

Western Maryland Rail Trail
We started our long day here in the quaint town of Hancock, MD. The C & O Canal Bike Shop was located about the halfway point of the Western MD Rail Trail. The two gentlemen there, one working the store and the other a Park Servce Volunteer were both very helpful and full of information. We were very happy to find that we were the first team to do the quest here. The trail is very beautiful and a pleasent ride on a bike. Two of us rode bikes, one jogged it and I walked the dog. If you take your time and listen to what is around you, you will encounter numerous forms of wildlife, such as deer, turkey, squirrels, birds of all types and a large crawfish walking across the trail begging to get runover by an unware biker. We did get to learn about the different industries in the area that relied on the railroad that ran along that area. We were a bit pressed for time and would definitely come back to ride the entire trail. The bike prices were very reasonable and the town is one of those hidden treasures that you need to experience at least once. Definitely worth the trip.


Team Freebird

Greenwell
We had a wonderful walk and was nice to wade at the beach. Lots of jellyfish but my daughter was picking them up.

A beautiful place and very much worth going to and seeing.

Washington Monument State Park
It was a wonderful and beautiful place. The drive there was so nice and we all loved it. I will go back again soon.

Greenwell
I didn't read the directions very well for this park, I did not have to get a signature and it was in the rules. Sorry for any negative things I wrote, but i was right on how terrific and wonderful the place was. It was nice to look at the horses as well and my kids enjoyed the beach.


Team LaCasse

Team LaCasse
Gambrill State Park

This was our very first quest. We had a great time, but we did get a little confused. Once we go on a roll it was great.. We made a couple of wrong turns...I had the map turned in the wrong way...but it was small so we got everything. The kids LOVED it and I learned a lot myself! The 2 ladies that worked there were so friendly that it made our first quest a great experience.

Washington Monument State Park
Love the trail at this park. The kids went up the monument 3 times!!! the quest was fun but we did have trouble finding all the words in the word puzzle at the end. Abby enjoyed helping witht that one. With this we compleated our 2nd quest. The kids both learned a lot becasue at the ages of 2 and 5 they really don't know a lot about George Washington yet. We compleated our second quest in about 1.5 hours.


Team Voodoo

Team Voodoo
Assateague State Park

As soon as we got to the camp office, we ran into 2 teams that we met last year at the park quest finals, good to see others wanting to do the quests again this year like us. That tells you how much everyone enjoyed it last year. Well, we started off again this year running a little late, but everyone at the camp office were very helpful and let us know we had more than enough time to complete the quest. The quest was more challenging this year than last, and the addition of the Flip cameras to use is way cool. We're no artists, but we had lots of fun filling out our field guide. We found lots of things to draw, including a baby turtle, and baby horse shoe crabs that had washed up onto the beach. We found more to document than the quest required. The only drawback were the mosquitoes, please let everyone know to bring insect repellant, especially if they are bringing young ones, they mosquitoes were bad. We were prepared, but it looked like one family turned back because of the bugs.


Team Jessi Grangier
Assateague State Park

It was a beautiful Day in Assateague. We explored the 3 zones and stayed a little longer to play in the surf. It was a great trip and a great adventure for the family. Everyone enjoyed themselves!

Pocomoke
Boy did we get our walking in with Pocomoke! It actually wasn't that bad... except for the ticks! BEWARE! I think the pond was the family favorite and the cypress swamp was a little challenging for everyone! All in all a good day!


The Simpsons
Patapsco State Park

We had an appointment in DC, so we decided on the way home to go to Patapsco. So we grabbed the frisbees and went over to the first basket and began our game. It was a little difficult to navigate at first, but we found our way to the first 4 baskets. We were very surprised to see that the path to one of the baskets required throwing the frisbee across a road. It was at that hole that we lost a green frisbee in the tall grass. This is the point where things got really confusing. We never did find the 6th basket while we were playing. My husband went back and looked for it later. Many of the markers were pulled from the ground or facing the wrong direction. I think it would have been helpful if there were trees marked, or some other type of marker so that we could see the baskets that weren't visible from the starting points.

On a plus side, there are a lot of playgrounds all over the park. We had a blast on them. There is a large one near the entrance with lots of climbing spots. My little ones spent a long time enjoying that one.

For what it was, this quest was still the best fit for our schedule yesterday, but I think we were overall disappointed with it. I think our next one will be a local where we are much more familiar. We're super psyched for Seneca and Deep Creek! Looking forward to those :)


Team Brey Family
Calvert Cliffs State Park

Hurray! We're on our way! Our arrival at the gatehouse at Calvert Cliffs (after a few moments of confusion on the road thanks to our GPS, affectionately known as ""the floozy"") was greated with the info that we were number 4 for the weekend. Not bad! The hike to the beach was gorgeous, although crowded (apparently I'm not the only Mom who likes to hike on mother's day, contrary to my teenager's convictions).

A variety of wetland habitats were just teeming with spring life.

But, we did find lots of pieces of fossilized scallop shells and lots of nice rocks. And the cliffs were really neat, the sand very soft (and clean! This was about the cleanest beach I've ever been to) and our snack crackers put us all in a good mood for the hike back. Over our picnic dinner just feet from the pond we decided that Park Quest was pretty cool: we hadn't found a perfect fossil, but we all agreed that this was one of the nicest MD state parks we'd ever been to. We're glad we made the trip.


Team Tindale
Calvert Cliffs State Park

My daughter and I, eager to start the quests, headed down to Calvert Cliffs today. After some advice to take a jog stroller rather than a traditional stroller, I opted to ""backpack"" her for the hike. It was a beautiful trail, albeit muddy in some places, filled with wildlife. We saw turtles, snakes, lizards, dragonflies, and more! I was thrilled that we went in the morning; when we arrived at the beach, we had the whole place to ourselves! We collected some shells and fossils, but I was disappointed that we didn't find any shark teeth. After a picnic lunch, we took a rubbing of the shark tooth on the Park Quest sign to attach to our passport and walked back. What a lovely park! I hadn't been there since I was a kid myself, and since it wasn't as far away as I remember it being, we are definitely going to make it a regular visiting place!


Team Han Dynasty
Seneca Creek State Park

We started off at Seneca Creek because it is the closest to home. At first the children were complaining that their feet hurt and that they wanted to go home. But as we got more into the hike they started to enjoy it. It was a birding quest and was very difficult!! But maybe it was because we had toy binoculars?? We did hear some lovely bird sounds but the birds were so high up in the trees and camouflaged that we only saw a few. The best thing about it was just being out in nature together as a family and enjoying God's creation!!

We look forward to our next quest!


Team Force 3
Calvert Cliffs State Park

We went on mothers day and it was a beautiful day. The hike is very shaded and attractive. We did not find any sharks teeth but we had a lot of fun trying. We did bring home a few cool souvenirs from the water. The cliffs are awesome and our feet got used to the cool water very quickly. We had a lovely day and we will visit this park again.

Tuckahoe State Park
Today we did the canoe trip on Lake Tuckahoe. We have visited this park before for hiking but had never taken advantage of the water access. We took a 2 hour canoe trip that was just awesome. We saw many turtles and many different birds. The scenery was beautiful and the quietness and stillness was refreshing. The canoeing was not to difficult and we ended the day with a cookout at the picnic area.


Team Titan
Elk Neck State Park

This is a nice leisurely stroll. Fascinating to feel the history of the lighthouse as you look out from the top across the Chesapeake Bay. You definitely want to go when the lighthouse is open so you too can see the view.