Take a Child Outside Week – Pawpaw Hunting and Sagan’s First Hike

September 26, 2011 at 11:04 am 2 comments

Saturday was the first day of Take a Child Outside Week!  It was also National Public Lands Day.  And in case we needed another reason to get out, late September – October is also pawpaw fruiting season. 

George Washington was quite a fan of Asimina triloba, North America’s largest indigenous fruit. He declared “chilled pawpaw” to be his favorite dessert. Although I rather enjoy the taste, I wouldn’t quite go that far. It would be hard to top crème brûlée!

Ryan and I have been growing some pawpaw seedlings for a couple of years now.  It’ll be a while before those trees fruit, so we thought we would see if we could locate some more established trees near our new home.  During National Walk in the Woods Day I took a shot of a small pawpaw tree near a creek at Fountainhead Regional Park.  Figuring where there is a small tree, they may be bigger ones, we decided to retrace our steps and see what we can find.

We brought little Sagan along, fulfilling the requirement of taking a child outside.  This journey would be Sagan’s very first hike!  He pretty much slept through the entire thing.  :)

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Sagan and Trail
Sagan’s First Hike (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Fauna
Had Sagan been awake (and had fully developed vision), he would have seen a squirrel, a daddy long-legs, a crayfish nest and a heron flying overhead.

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Crayfish Nest
Crayfish Burrow

Flora – Pawpaws
It didn’t take us long to get to the creek. We saw plenty of small trees without fruit. It didn’t look too promising until a small grove near the creek shoreline caught my eye. Upon closer examination, we found fruit laying on the ground!

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Vicky and Sagan with Pawpaw Fruit
Vicky and Sagan with Discovered Fruit (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Then we looked up and saw examples of pawpaw fruit still in the trees.

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Pawpaw in Tree
Pawpaw Fruit

The non-bug infested fruit wasn’t quite ripe yet, but we still got the thrill of the hunt. It was also nice to establish that the favorite dessert of our nation’s first President was still alive in well in Northern Virginia!

Flora – Fungi
Between Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and various other storms, this area has had more than its fair share of rain. It may have had its miserable moments at the time, but on Saturday we sure profited from the extra moisture. The trail has what Ryan deemed a “mushroom explosion”. We had plenty of neat fungi to marvel at while we walked.

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Mushroom Explosion
Hillside with Scattered Mushrooms

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Coral-like Mushroom
A Coral-Like Mushroom

Take a Child Outside Week - Fountainhead Regional Park - Orange Mushrooms on Log
Bright Orange Mushrooms

Sagan’s first outing was definitely a brief one. I doubt we even traveled a mile round trip. But I find myself very satisfied with everything we saw in that short journey.

More pictures of our hike at Fountainhead Regional Park are on my Flickr site.

Additional Pawpaw Posts
2009 Pawpaw Hunt
My First Pawpaw Tasting

Entry filed under: Bull Run Occoquan Trail, Hiking, Nature, Pawpaw, Sagan, trees. Tags: .

Reminder – Take a Child Outside Week! Waka Waka Waka – Fountainhead Regional Park

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Waka Waka Waka – Fountainhead Regional Park « TGAW  |  September 27, 2011 at 1:00 am

    [...] we were looking for pawpaw trees at Fountainhead Regional Park, we saw another example of a Pac Man in [...]

    Reply
  • 2. Pawpaw Hunting Addendum « TGAW  |  September 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    [...] to learn more about pawpaws? NPR has got you covered! Just six days after Ryan and I took Sagan Pawpaw Hunting at Fountainhead Regional Park, NPR did a story on “Foraging for America’s Forgotten Fruit“. You can listen to [...]

    Reply

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Flickr Photos

View While Nursing for October 26, 2014 - My Mom!  She formula fed her three children, but still ended up being a GREAT support to me on my breastfeeding journeys.  Thanks Mom!  Http://viewswhilenursing.tumblr.com

Some renders (not actual 3D prints...yet) of my "Dial-O-Lantern."  This is my first 3D model designed with moving parts!  Each section of the pumpkin rotates so you can pick from three types of eyes, noses, and mouths (27 possible faces).  https://sketchf

What I wish I was working on.  (An entry for the CGCookie/SketchFab/Shapeways 3D Printed Jack-O-Lantern Contest)

Socks with Sandals- What you wear when your 1 year old brother poops *ON* your sneakers.

Rarity is ready for Saturday's Wicked 10K.  This is the first year I've managed to have a "real" costume for the race!

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