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Children learn about natural treasures on pirate hike

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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HANNAWA FALLS — Dressed in their pirate hats, with superhero backpacks full of water and supplies for the hike, children of all ages set out with their parents and families on a hunt through nature to find treasure on Sunday afternoon.
The Kids Pirate Hike on Red Sandstone Trail was a 3-mile trek for a group of about 25 people who were looking for adventure.
While searching for treasure coins along the way, the children and their guardians also were learning about frogs, beavers and hydropower and several other facets of the world around them.
The children also got to hear a story about “Pirates of the Caribbean” who explored the St. Lawrence River.
Trek organizer Blair F. Madore, Potsdam, told the group about the pirates’ attraction to what they thought was a valuable gemstone that turned out to be red sandstone.
Children’s eyes were wide as Mr. Madore explained to the group how the pirates’ ship overturned in a storm and how their gold wound up on the trail for them to find.
Tate S. Rodriguez, 6, Canton, was sporting his pirate hat for Sunday’s walk and said he was excited to look for treasure.
Tate set his expectations high, saying he was going to find gold. His brother, Bowen R., 8, was more excited about seeing different animals.
“I like to get out in nature and see what’s out there,” Bowen said.
Mr. Madore said that the first Kids Pirate Hike he held was in 2009, and that he decided to have a second one this year.
“I’ve been a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club for about 10 years now, and I’ve been leading trips for the club about four times a year,” he said.
Mr. Madore said that since many of the club’s members are over 50, he tries to encourage young families to participate in outdoor activities.
“If we don’t have young families doing it, then who’s going to look after all these trails and the outdoors tomorrow?” he said.
This year, Mr. Madore partnered with Nature Up North, a community-based organization that aims to get more people to appreciate the outdoors.
Jacob D. Malcomb, Nature Up North project manager, said that since his group and the Adirondack Mountain Club are environmental organizations that want to see the community develop a passion for nature, joining forces for the hike was a good strategy.
“Hopefully, it will be the start of a working partnership with ADK,” he said. “We both have similar goals with environmental education and getting kids outside.”
After making it to the halfway point and picnic area of the trip, the gang of scallywags enjoyed a free lunch of hot dogs and marshmallows, prepared by Mr. Madore’s wife, Margaret E.
“We just enjoy the nice weather and a free, family-fun activity outside,” said Stefani E. Ballard, Canton.
Mrs. Ballard and her husband, Walter E., enjoyed the outdoor hike with their four daughters, Rachel, 10, Rebecca, 7, Riley, 3, and Rori, 2.
The four girls said they were excited to find coins, see several different animals and catch bugs while on the trail.

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