By Jenn Rowan
Greetings Fellow Adventurers,
Together we have reached that midpoint of summer. July 4th is over, the next holiday weekend seems eons away, and before us stretches weeks of heat. It’s pretty tempting to become one with the couch and endless TV series. In fact, those summer TV/movie marathons are prime family identity building. Soon though, summer cabin fever makes for bickering, and we need outdoor recreation solutions that keep everyone happy and cool. Adventure is here, as those outdoor spaces lie within 10-20 minutes of the old downtown Milford water tower. Before we leave for our newest adventure in the quest of becoming an Adventure Local family, we should review The Leave No Trace Principles. These principles ensure that nature is cared for in such a way that preserves and sustains life on our planet.
The Seven Leave No Trace Principles:
Plan ahead and prepare.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Dispose of waste properly.
Leave what you find.
Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
Be considerate of other visitors.
If the principles are difficult to remember, simply living by the adage “Take only photos, leave only footprints” ensures our outdoor spaces remain for generations of adventurers. Grab plenty of water, a towel, some sunscreen, swim suit, and Crocs and let’s head out! There is no better place in the 19963 for keeping cool outdoors other than Abbotts Mill. The trails around the Mill, out at the Abbotts/Blairs 5k trail, and across Abbotts Mill Pond Road in the Lindale tract are shady and cool. Around the nature center there is the Boardwalk trail that follows the Mill Pond Stream. This trail is accessible to wheelchairs & strollers making it a great short trail for families that include members with special needs. DNREC maintains a public boat ramp and fishing area on the pond that makes for easy boating, SUPing, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
Browns Branch, located west of Milford hosts a nature themed playground and a half mile out and back trail through the woods. Tucked away on the trail is the best little stream for wading. A gentle current, keeps the water clean and clear. The stream varies from ankle to 2 feet deep (watch your small ones) with a sandy/pea-gravel bottom. Crocs make wading the most comfortable, and provide a quick transition from wading to walking. Pirates, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, fresh water mermaids, jungle exploration; all adventures easily brought to life on the Brown’s Branch trail. We like to take light sabers and Nerf swords to enhance the live action battles. Best of all, the trail, with its hard pack and boardwalk surfaces, is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. However those wheelchair bound will not be able to navigate directly to the stream bank and will need assistance transferring from trail path to stream side.
Killens Pond State Park, is the downstate park offering the most diverse options for adventuring families. A network of shady trails for hiking and biking, pedal boat rentals, and an 18 hole disc golf course with holes in the woods are among the keep cool outdoor rec options. Though when it comes to getting soaking wet and being entertained for hours, boy, does Killens provide the answer. A $10 wristband gives you access to a variety of water fun at the Killens Pond Waterpark. Activities are plentiful for all ages, with safe toddler areas, a large pool, and wild 54’ tall waterslides. The concession stand serves food, and shaded picnic areas near the waterpark make for comfortable snacking. The waterpark also provides adaptive water activities and is wheelchair accessible. Keep cool of mind and body by reserving your tickets online, as the waterpark often reaches capacity in the first hour of opening. When the bright sun wears on your eyes, take a short walk down the trail to the nature center. Contemporary architecture and design blend the center into its surrounding natural environment. Inside the cool rooms are reptile and amphibian exhibits as well as quiet nooks to read the selection of science themed children’s books. We enjoy picnicking on the upper covered deck area, with its comfortable chairs overlooking Killens pond.
Abbotts Mill, Browns Branch, and Killens Pond, provide easy accessibility for quick, after dinner adventures, or expanded hours of outdoor fun. Midsummer is when we parents long for the order of a school schedule and our children are on a boredom loop. Though come February, we will think about how great it was to jump into the car with no outerwear and head out for an adventure. Text a few family friends, head out to the natural areas, and make it a water party. Adventure is here.
See you outside.
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