Sometimes the Universe Echoes: A Scavenger Hunt on Mount Putney

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our first scavenger hunt hike in the Shenandoah National Park. We have done so many hikes in so many different states since the boys were born and have never once before been handed a trail scavenger hunt. Not in Acadia National Park. Not in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Never.

So you can imagine my surprise when we stepped out of the truck in Vermont to hike up to the Mount Putney Summit, and there was a kindly older woman approaching us with a stack of papers and some tiny pencils. This volunteer from the Mount Putney Association wanted to know how many children we were hiking with and if they wanted to complete a scavenger hunt. The sweet soul even offered one to Wes. He seemed shocked to be included for once.

It was a bizarre but welcome coincidence. The boys knew what to do and they were off to the races, on the hunt for mushrooms, animal holes, salamanders and ferns. By now they know their blazes and when all else fails, a blue stripe of paint is enough incentive to keep them moving up the trail.


This trail was the perfect family hike. It was just about two miles with enough terrain changes to keep things interesting and outstanding views as a payoff.

There was also another kindly volunteer at the top, ready to pin Scout Badges on our kids for completing the trail. Big kudos to the Putney Mountain Association for creating a simple but memorable activity for the kiddos.


The scavenger hunt was a bit less sophisticated than the Story of the Woods. But that was actually a good thing. This one made me realize that I could easily make some very generic hunts to keep with us when we traveled. I could safely stick with pinecones, lichen and hollow logs and have activities that could be used anywhere these campers are traveling.

Or I could just take the easy way out and have them count acorns–Maxwell’s favorite activity that day. Get counting, boys. I’ll see you at the top.

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