Today we took an early morning walk at Crothers Conservation Area. I have been to this area before to set off in a canoe, but other than that I have never really taken the time to explore what this area has to offer. Crothers Conservation Area is located just on the outskirts of Wallaceburg, specifically on Mount Pleasant Street (I guess the conservation area makes it extra pleasant). I was happy to see there was a very large parking area- please remember this if you need to think of somewhere to host a family reunion! The path itself starts next to the river, remember this also so you don’t park on the opposite side of the parking lot as me and my dad (who I was meeting there) did.
       This was another walk with my boys in the wagon. I was pretty happy I had the wagon again today as the path is pebble-based so the wagon handled pretty well on it. It didn’t really matter though since as soon as we got onto the actual path both boys wanted out right away as there was a river, and things had to be thrown into this river! There is a nice little dock as I mentioned earlier for a canoe or kayak or small boat to be boarded on. I have been on it a couple of times and always felt very safe and secure. This feeling has since changed while holding a 1 year old wanting down and having a 3 year old wanting to go up and down the dock to find new stones or sticks to throw into the water. Needless to say we didn’t stay on the dock for long.
       Back on the pathway it was a nice walk. There was the river on one side sparkling as the sun shined on it, and grass and trees on the other side. Birds flew around chasing each other while squirrels ran around the park. The three year old pointed out the current direction in the water (Successful science lesson from Mudd Creek Loop!) as the one year old picked up handfuls of pebbles and ran to chase down my dad who was pulling the wagon, so he could throw the stones in it.
       This area has tonnes of running room and I personally am a fan of the fact that there is enough distance between the path and the water for me to quickly re-direct a kid before they get too close (or in) the river. I came to the realization today that walking with two kids out of a wagon or stroller is getting more difficult as one is like me and likes to keep moving while the other one would be happy just to stay in one area and really soak everything in.  Sometimes I feel like a crossing guard with an imaginary stop sign pointing at one kid while giving the other the pointed finger of “come this way now” then blowing a whistle and giving the go ahead to the other.  There are quite a few benches along this path way which are also a good spot for Grandad to sit with his grandson while I try to persuade the other one to stop throwing stuff into the water so we can continue our walk.
        As a family that usually brings picnics it was also nice to see that there was a covered picnic area as well as just a lot of green space and big trees for shade for any future picnics. There is 26 acres of this conservation area, so that leads to a lot of picnic areas!
       While the grass and tree side of the path is full of great shade areas. Sadly the path itself has no shade. So when you do come to visit make sure you bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. The path also tricked us a bit. When we parked on the other side of the parking lot we thought we would end up near our cars (and some play equipment for the boys to play with at the end of the walk) however, the path apparently does not loop around. It seemed to just go from one side of the conservation area to the other. This wouldn’t be a big deal if you were walking on your own or with bigger kids as you can just walk on the grass to loop yourself around. But, with a big wagon with reluctant kids thrown back into it kicking each other, and you yourself feeling sweaty as you question your choice of a long-sleeved shirt and pants on a hot day, it just doesn’t seem practical or worth it, so we turned back around. 
        We didn’t see much wildlife as we have on our other walks but we did see a crane high at the top of a tree, which I didn’t even know that was possible, so that was neat. There was also a lot of people out and about jogging, walking their dog, or just going out for a walk. It is always great to see people taking advantage of the many trails that Chatham-Kent has to offer.
        I didn’t have the three year old make a prediction list today but instead asked him his favourite and least favourite thing about today’s walk. Here they are:
Favourite: “I liked throwing stuff in the river” (I hope you aren’t surprised by this answer by now)
Least Favourite: “I didn’t like going down the hill in the wagon” (So if your child is not a thrill-seeker like my oldest is, please refrain from doing a little run while going down a bit of a hill while they are in the wagon- apparently it is not any fun and slightly terrifying)
       I wouldn’t say Crothers Conservation Area is perfect, but it is definitely a great spot to check out if you are in Wallaceburg, especially if you are in a small water craft, wanting a picnic place to meet with friends and family, or to just go for a little walk and enjoy the view along the way.

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