The Green Mountain Club 'Mud Season Egg Hunt'
Story by Thorin Markison, serving with the Green Mountain Club
Warm weather, chirping birds and budding plants seems to drag the populace outdoors in a migration rivaled only by the great herds of wildebeest careening over the savannah. The Green Mountain Club has been fighting to keep the soles of these just-freed-from-winter feet off the fragile, soupy trails for decades. Our most recent addition to the fight is offering the public a mud season egg hunt the Saturday before Easter.
The Mud Season Egg Hunt has only been around for 4 years, but is easily the busiest 2 hours that the GMC Visitors Center endures all year. About 300 people stop by to get outside, stretch their legs and, of course, walk away with Easter chocolate, donated by Laughing Moon Chocolates.
This year, rather than a standard egg hunt format, I decided that the task would be to collect 6 different colored, empty eggs that would be turned in for a gift bag of goodies, which meant the older kids wouldn't get all the goods before the younger kids, and they would all walk along GMC’s educational Short Trail.
At 9:30 the first car arrived for a 10 am start. I sent them off with instructions and a basket. By 9:45 10 families had been sent out onto the course. Then the vehicles really started piling in! I had thought I would be able to keep very detailed counts of number of people by age category, but the hordes were too many and came too fast!
As the first people started to return, traveling against the flow of the just-started families, I was pleasantly surprised by how positive the responses were, and they hadn't even gone up to collect their chocolate yet! “Best format for an egg hunt I've ever seen” said one father, “Great way to get out and enjoy a walk with kids” a pleased grandmother told me, then they walked up to the building, said hello to, or hid from, Prickles (our informal porcupine costume filled by a volunteer) sorted their eggs and were rewarded for a drizzly morning hike with chocolate.
It was a great way to bring in families familiar, or unfamiliar, with hiking and the GMC, spread the word about protecting muddy trails, and offer a positive way to get outdoors and see nature with kids.