By Derek Johnson – Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
On the balmy Saturday afternoon of June 3, local families enjoyed the fresh air at the fourth scavenger hunt hosted by Rim Family Services at Heap’s Peak Arboretum.
If you visited the arboretum at all last year, you may remember that high winds in January 2022 caused devastation to many trees, and a massive debris cleanup was needed to get the arboretum back in order. We are happy to report that very little evidence of this devastation remains, and that this season’s heavy snows did not cause new destruction to any visible degree.
Additionally, like the rest of the mountain, the trees and ground cover all appeared green and healthy because of the significant precipitation throughout the winter and beyond. The lush and healthy forest along with the mild temperatures made for a lovely walk in the woods for the participants.
Upon arrival, families were greeted by the staff of Rim Family Services at a check-in table, where they signed in and received a clipboard with a map and a pen. They were told that there were 10 posted signs distributed along the 0.7-mile loop trail, each depicting a different forest animal in cartoon form. Kids were instructed to walk the path and keep their eyes open for these critters along the way. Juice, water, granola bars and other snacks were offered to the kids before departing.
Along the hike, kids marked the location of each animal sign on the map and, upon their return, they submitted their map and received a prize for completing the challenge. Prizes ranged from stainless steel water bottles to toys like bouncy balls or bubbles.
Afterward, parents were invited to complete a brief three-question survey about mental health as it relates to outdoor activities.
Rim Family Services is a nonprofit organization that has served the mountain since 1991. Program services include a variety of family counseling services, prevention and early Intervention programs, addiction recovery services and many more services and programs serving our community.
According to the staff at the check-in table, sometime in the near future they will be hosting a family painting event. Details like the date and location have not been finalized, so those who are interested are encouraged to check their social media channels for updates. Links to their various social media accounts can be found on their website: www.rimfamilyservices.org.