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 |
 

 


Amey Clan
Pocomoke River State Park

This was our first Park Quest experience and it was a lot of fun. It was evident the rangers put some thought into there challenges. We even decided to complete the optional challenge which was quite difficult, but not impossible.

Janes Island State Park
This was our second Park Quest challenge and it was a blast. We got two kayaks and headed out to the island. It was a little windy but with some foresight you could manage the paddling. Make sure to wear your bathing suit; you will get wet in the kayak. The island was beautiful and the wind kept the bugs at bay. Our two young kids actually got the hang of paddling and were very helpful (at times).


Bald Eagles
Elk Neck State Park

Hiked our way back to the Lighthouse. On the way back saw a huge black snake slithering through the grass. Afterward we swam in the Chesapeake - much warmer than anticipated. And guess what? We saw another snake - swimming in the water with us.


Terrific Tigers
Elk Neck State Park

The hike and quest were pretty straightforward, and we enjoyed the view from the lighthouse. Our boys loved the big spiders and snakes that we saw, and also enjoyed taking the time to swim in the Bay and play on the tire park!

Patapsco State Park
Fun! Neither of us had ever played frisbee golf before, so this was another new experience with Parkquest! The park is beautiful and we also enjoyed yet another great playground after completing this quest. Thanks!!


Nomad
Assateague State Park

Assateague was an interesting quest. While we were sitting on the beach doing the first part of the quest my wife noticed ""things"" moving in the sand. They were quick and hard to spot. Eventually we learned how to trick them into coming out and we were able to get a few close up photos of them. By far the beach phase was the best....less mosquitoes. Filling out the field guide was a very educational experience for everyone on our team.

Pocomoke State Park
Thank Goodness the weather was not that great. Due to the constant wind and colder conditions the mosquitoes were pleasantly absent. Sadly, so were the dragon fly's. Don't shortchange yourself by bypassing the optional part of this challenge. The swamps were the most interesting part for us and it was really a challenge that took all of our focus to accomplish. Skip this part and you'll miss the best this quest has to offer.

Janes Island State Park
For just a minute we though we wouldn't be able to complete this challenge. None of us have ever been on a canoe together and it took awhile for us to figure out how to control the boat. After zig-zagging our way to our destination we thought to ourselves, this ain't so bad. About 5 minutes later the skeeters figured out we were there and zeroed in. We ran to the other side of that little beach like we were running for our lives. No time for pictures but the quest was completed. Beautiful area just do not forget your bug spray. This quest was by far our favorite to date.


Team Scharch
Patapsco State Park

The disk golf was fun, then map and directions were not so much but we figured it out enough to get our required holes. We didn't do all 18 because of time crunch and we wanted to do another quest that day. It was nice to see so many people out riding their horses and was a nice place to visit.

Elk Neck State Park
There were many people out and about at Elk Neck Sunday afternoon but it was a lovely day to be there. We did get to the top of the lighthouse but it was HOT up there! What a view though! There were not bug or anything with a nice breeze. We will probley go back and camp there at some point and take our canoe on the trails available. Very nice staff at the lighthouse too.


Team Lynch
Assateague State Park

Beautiful Day!!! Perfect to swim, hike, play on the beach and see the magnificent ponies. A+ Quest -- don't forget the bug spray. They were horrible.


Girard Family

Girard Family
Assateague State Park

This park is fantastic! The kids loved playing on the beach after we finished the quest. As we walked to the top of the walking bridge we saw a herd of horses grazing from a distance. How beautiful! Thankfully the wind was blowing away from the beach- so we did not have to contend with mosquitoes- but watch out at the marsh areas. Bring plenty of bug spray!

Pocomoke State Park
This quest is very organized. There is a backpack provided with everything you need- including bug spray!! We started off hiking in the forest and then came to the pond. The kids had a blast with the nets and caught many tad poles and other things. We observed and learned a lot about dragonflies. We really could have spent all afternoon at the pond.

Next, we did the optional hike to the swamp. It was amazing the temperature difference at the base of the swamp. Ticks are a problem. I highly recommend wearing long pants. My daughter had a tick attached to the back of her neck before we finished our quest- despite being thoroughly sprayed with bug spray!!

The folks at the nature center were very helpful. We had lots of fun watching them feed the animals- especially the snapping turtle. The nature center is very educational and worth touring after the quest.

Janes Island State Park
What a fun quest! One of our favorites!! We definitely want to return to this park in the future!! We canoed 1 Ĺ mile to a remote island where we had lunch on the deserted beach. The kids had a blast swimming in the Tangier Sound. The scenery is beautiful and there are plenty of water trails to explore. On the way back we experienced some strong winds that made it a challenge getting back to shore. Dark clouds rolled in fast and we heard thunder from a distance. Thankfully we felt only a few rain drops. Also, flies are in abundance. Bring plenty of bug spray!!


Schroyer the Destroyers
Washington Monument State Park

Awesome view! We learned a lot of history on this quest.


Park Chasers
Assateague State Park

Loved seeing the horses and small deer. Hated the bugs. Make sure to have a strong DEET bug spray.


Team Doxen
Gambrill State Park

We completed our first park quest at Gambrill State Park last weekend. We began at the Nature Center, where the ranger was already busy with two other park quest groups. He was very friendly and helpful. We all received our instructions together and enjoyed exploring the nature center. The turtle even seemed to be showing off a bit by doing a flip on his back and then righting himself. My youngest was a bit baffled by the manual typewriter in the CCC room. The quest is a combination scavenger hunt and word puzzle which teaches about the origins of the park and the CCC in general. The hike was circular and pleasantly shaded, and view from the Middletown overlook was spectacular. We also met a nice family from Cumberland near the end of our hike. All in all a good start, I am looking forward to our next quest.


Freebird
Patapsco State Park

This was a wonderful ride to the park and just as wonderful walking the trails and playing the disc golf. My kids had more fun trying to find the poles we had to find. Great park and a lot of fun


Team Midnight
Elk Neck State Park

Very nice day for a walk to the lighthouse! Never been here before and we really enjoyed the hike.

Seneca Creek State Park
Great day for birding. We found a number of swallows and wrens that we had never seen before. Thanks for putting this together!


Martini Time
Tuckahoe State Park

Wow - We have never seen so many turtles in one place ever!!! The boys were amazed. We lost count of how many. It was a beautiful day and not hot. The canoeing was great - not too strenuous and fairly open. We had a few run-ins with trees(thanks to me). After the canoeing, it was time for a ice cream and playing on the playground. Tuckahoe is a great park and we look forward to the Finale there!


The Han Dynasty
Washington Monument State Park

This was our fifth quest and the buggiest!! The whole time we were singing ""gnats, gnats, go away, come again some other day!"" Other than those pests, we enjoyed the short hike and walking around and in the monument. The park ranger was kind and helpful. We thought the quiz was a little harder than some of the others and sat in our van for about 20 minutes figuring it out. We enjoyed learning new information about George Washington. As for wild creatures, we saw lots of squirrel, a wild turkey and two deer. The drive up there was so beautiful.. Middletown is such a quaint, sleepy town. We were ooohing and ahhhing all the way through it.


The Bald Eagles
Patapsco State Park

What a great frisbee golf course!! We loved walking through the woods playing this fun game! This was definitely a more challenging course than the only other one we've done.


LaCasse
Calvert Cliffs State Park

This was amazing....It was a long walk fot the kids, but they LOVED the beach.... We got our rubbing and had a great time.... We got to see frogs, turtles, butterflys, red mushrooms, and much more.... It was raining quite a bit, but I think that there were less bugs because of the rain.. We had a great time!

Greenwell State Park
We had fun at this quest. My daughter answered most of the questions and we got to see people catch fish. It was a nice relazing quest! I loved looking at the beautiful water!


Otis' Friends
Elk Neck State Park

Nice weather for this one today. It wasn't too hot walking through the meadows.


Mauk Family
Elk Neck State Park

Nice walk. Great breeze at the start and end when you are next to the water. We didn't see any hawks but there is a good sign for identifying them. Lighthouse seemed a bit small until you see how high up you are off the water.

Patapsco State Park
We had a great time with Disc Golf. It was a bit iffy throwing a frisbee across the road. The cars and trucks were slow but when you hear them coming you have a tendency to stop and wait. (Lots of bugs to play with, though!)


Team Voodoo

Team Voodoo
Janes Island State Park

We decided to go outdoors on Fatherís Day. Since Janes Island State Park is so close to home, we figured we try to do a quest between the storms on Sunday. So we loaded up kayaks and kids for some fun on the water. When we arrived at Eagleís Nest camp store, they told us that we couldnít use the parks kayaks to do the quest because of the weather (it was rain storms and high winds off and on that day). Luckily we brought our own so we were able to attempt the quest. After unloading the kayaks, we had to sit another storm out. Luckily it passed fast. The park ranger came out and gave us the phone number to contact them if we were to encounter any unexpected dangers.

We did take our cell phones in case something was to happen. We were off on our quest to the pier to get our rubbing of the medallion. The wind was fierce, but we keep paddling on. It was not an east task. We finally arrived at the pier and pulled our kayaks up onto the dock. The hike to the post to get the rubbing was easy and a nice view. Once the kids did the rubbing it was to the beach to play for a bit. Although we didnít have much time to play on the beach due to another approaching storm, we had to keep our visit short, but fun. Mom snapped a few pictures of the kids playing on Tangier Sound and it was back to the water to make the paddle back. We were so lucky to make it back before the next storm hit. As we were packing up, we happened to see another park quest family setting out for their quest. We sure hope the weather held off for them to complete their quest. Everyone agreed, this was the best quest yet, not because it was too easy or too hard, but it was very challenging because of the weather. What can we say, we love a first-class challenge.


Frost
Patapsco State Park

This was our first time playing frisbee golf. It was a bit challenging finding the first hole, but we had some help from some other golfers. The day we went it was a bit muddy but we had a good time. Definitely bring the bug spray...lots of gnats.

Swallow Falls State Park
When you enter the trail you start to hear the falls in the distance and the anticipation builds until you see it. It is awesome. After walking the trail we enjoyed icecream from the icecream wagon. Couldn't ask for a better day. I would definitely go back to this park.

Deep Creek Lake State Park
After we found our GPS coordinates we ended up taking an extra long walk up through the snowmobile trails. When we decided to go back to the parking lot we ended up on a very steep, steep trail back down (not sure if it was a trail or a water runoff area). Our knees got a good workout holding us back. We encountered a snake and a few squirrels. We didn't make it to the beach area but we saw it from a distance and it looked pretty nice. I definitely would like to go back to check it out a little more.


Wild Kinlochs
Elk Neck State Park

We found amazing insects (a butterfly thought Abby's shorts were a flower) and a buck walked right by us! We loved the town of North East!


Blue Crabs
Patapsco State Park

We enjoyed playing Frisbee Golf , which was more challenging than expected. The gnats were horrendous - Bring your bug spray. The course was a little confusing and not well marked. It was our first quest and it motivated us to do more.

Gambrill State Park
We live in Harford County and decided to do an overnight trip to the Western part of the state. We started off at Gambrills State Park. The ranger at the park was wonderful and provided us with lots of information and answered all our questions. It was very informative. The kids loved the nature center and getting a patch at the end of the quest.

Washington Monument State Park
From Gambrills State Park, we drove a short distance to Washington Monument State Park. Again the rangers were very very helpful. The hike was uphill but short with an amazing view. The kids loved going up in the monument. Worth the trip.

Western Maryland Rail Trail
After a brief stop at the outlets, we completed our overnight trip the next day at the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The trail was beautiful and relatively easy. Unfortunately after being given confusing info from the bike shop, we called after biking five miles and were told we were going the right direction but were not told we had already passed the markers and needed to turn around. We biked a total of 22 miles. The actual quest was only three up and three back for a total of six. We were exhausted but proud that we had made it and we got a patch!!


Team Herman
Assateague State Park

The mosquitoes ate us alive. We put bug spray on before we got in the car, and again when we left the Ranger Station. We still ended up turning around and going back to the concession stand to buy even more.

We did get to see a nice herd of ponies. The mare with her foal wanted to eat my son's food. We also had a lot of fun looking at the sand crabs. I wish we could have spent more time at the beach!

Pocomoke River State Park
We really enjoyed this one. The swamp walk was especially fun, although it seemed like we had to be walking backwards to see some of the pictures we were looking for.

Janes Island State Park
I loved the kayaking. The trip back was a bit more challenging. The wind picked up, making keeping the boat going in the right direction harder for our lighter boat. We should have brought bathing suits for our time on the beach.


The Fridel's

The Fridel's
Seneca Creek State Park

We had fun on this quest watching for birds, and seeing other wildlife. The staff were very nice and helpful at the Boat Store.It was a windy day so we didn't see as many birds we would have seen on a nice sunny day.

The bugs are terrible when you go in the woods after the 4th station, you should take along bug spray. There are lots of hikes and so many picnic areas, boat rentals, really nice place to visit for a day. We enjoyed another family picnic when we were done our quest.... On ward to our next Quest.....


The Barracudas
Calvert Cliffs State Park

Great fun. Even though it was a cloudy day, we had a blast playing in the water and searching for fossils. Lots of good finds!!!


The Blake Rocks

The Blake Rocks!
Pocomoke River State Park

We had fun at the Pond, as we always do at Shad Landing! The trails are NOT marked very well though, so we took some wrong turns which is tough on little legs. The Nature Center at Shad Landing gets better and better every year."

Assateague State Park
It was hard to know where we were going. If you are unfamiliar with the roads and paths around the State vs National Parks, it gets tricky. We weren't sure if we were supposed to drive, or walk to the next Area. (turns out you should walk)

We saw a terrapin! And a deer on the beach! and a LOTS of ponies! We waded on the bayside, and swam on the oceanside. Got lots of pictures on this quest. And saw lots of pony poop! (which made the kids giggle on and on!)


The Goofy Galloways
Assateague State Park

We completed this quest on an overcast, windy day--perfect for this quest. Very few mosquitos! I think with the beach, the bay, and the wildlife, this was the boys' favorite quest so far.

Pocomoke River State Park
We camped in Shad Landing to complete this a few other Eastern Shore quests. It was one of our favorite campgrounds when I was a kid and I think it still might be. We had a wonderful time. They have such great programs for kids at the nature center and everyone was so nice. We will definitely be going back.


Party of Eight

Party of Eight
Western Maryland Rail Trail

This was our first time biking on the WMRT and we really enjoyed it. The staff at the Bike shop were very friendly and they got us set up with two adult bikes with tow-behind trailers for our 4 youngest and two kids bikes for our 2 oldest. The weather was nice but a bit buggy when we would stop to read the info boards. The big kids would race up ahead when the spotted the info boards and be ready to answer the question when we pulled up after them. It was neat learning the history of the canal and the long gone industries that used to thrive here. When we were done, we hit the road to set up camp at Deep Creek Lake.

Swallow Falls State Park
We visited Swallow Falls SP on Saturday while enjoying a nice camping weekend at Deep Creek Lake. This is probably our favorite park of all of the Park Quest Challenges so far! The waterfall was amazing and we really enjoyed hiking along the river seeing the smaller falls and the balancing rock. We got rained on towards the end of the hike but it didn't bother us as we were really enjoying our time in the park. Some of the challenge questions were simple enough for our younger ones to figure out and and the big kids solved the rest. This well maintained park made learning fun.

Deep Creek Lake State Park
We camped for the weekend here at DCL and worked on this challenge in the late afternoon after visiting Swallow Falls and having lunch back at our campsite. We checked in to the Discovery Center just before 5 and the kids spent some time exploring this well stocked and informative nature center. Their favorite things to see were the live snake, turtles, and giant bullfrog. The center was closing soon but the staff member gave us the info sheets to use with our own GPS units. We planned on finishing the challenge then and returning the next day to get our passport stamped. We are a family of geocachers so we are familiar with finding our way with a GPS unit. The 2 big kids each had one and they led the way to the 4 marking stations. The hollow log at stage 1 and the Bear trap at stage 4 were cool. We were tired from a long day of Questing and Camping so afterwards we went back to camp for dinner and bed. We enjoyed our time here at DCL, and as usual the staff were friendly and helpful.


The Weatherford Family
Deep Creek Lake State Park

This was a very nice hike but the GPS is not very precise. It is sometimes difficult to tell what path you should take to get to the next point. But the park is beautiful. Plan to come and swim in the lake. We also had a great time camping here.

Swallow Falls State Park
This hike is amazing! It is totally worth the drive to this beautiful part of Maryland.

Washington Monument State Park
The view from the monument is very impressive. You can see West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The hike is very short. We didn't think the questions or the word search were difficult. With five of us looking we found them all pretty fast.


The Crowe Adventurers

Crowe Adventures
Washington Monument State Park

The Washington Monument itself was pretty cool and the view was spectacular. The Crowe's had fun on the trail and thought the monument looked like Winnie-The-Pooh's Honey Pot.

What truly made the park adventure, was the two staff members. They were more than friendly and knowledgeable and one of them actually played the guitar and banjo for our kids. Plus, while we were there they were having a Civil War reenactment on South Mountain with foot soldiers and two cannon batteries. What a day, we took home some great memories.


Force 3
Assateague State Park

Weather was not that great but we had fun being scientist and collecting all our observations on the three different trails. My best memory from this quest was watching my daughter running after a bird trying to get him to fly so that we could observe his wings while in flight. Saw some really neat plants especially the cactus with a beautiful yellow flower. We didn't see horses close up but saw them pretty good with our binoculars. We ended the day with a swim in the very cold Atlantic Ocean.

Pocomoke River State Park
Was the hardest Quest so far. Lots of information to take in. Enjoyed identifying all the trees and ferns. Found out the difference between a dragonfly and damsel never knew. We found toads, fish, grashoppers, butterflies, and many other small insects. Sitting for one minute and counting things as a team was cool. A minute never felt so long. The challange at the trail with the cypress trees was very difficult. We couldn't find everything in order so the answer we were trying to find was pretty much imposible. We loved the nature center with all the turtles and we saw a humming bird. Wish we could of keep our information that we collected so we could look back at it.

Janes Island State Park
Janes Island is a beautiful park. The canoe quest was so much fun even with the relentless green flies. We swam fished and camped. Lots of wildlife and dramatic landscapes. The park rangers were above and beyond. Force 3 will come here again.