Friday, March 15, 2013

Guest Blog Post Featured on No Sleep in Helena!!!- Charnita - Helena in the Spring!

My name is Charnita Kirby and I am one of the original Helena bloggers.
When I moved to Helena from Tampa, Florida in 2007 I didn't know anyone or anything about Helena. 
As a stay-at-home mom that first year, I stumbled upon a few blogs that helped me get to know and love my new home. 
No Sleep in Helena and a few of the other Helena blogs helped me learn about our town and the great things about living here.
I, in turn, started my own blog and grew to love my little town and the creative blogging community as well.  
Fittingly so, as a guest blogger today for Hewy No Sleep, I want to tell some potential new Helenites about our great town; or maybe give some current neighbors new outdoor ideas. 

It is springtime in Helena!  What is there to get outside and enjoy?  Plenty! 
My husband and I have been trying to instill a love of the outdoors and being active in our children and get them outside, exploring and moving.  That is not an easy task now a days, but living in Helena makes it a bit easier.  
My favorite thing about Helena in the spring is the beauty around us --and the many opportunities to get out and enjoy.  
Besides the great outdoor opportunities at our sports complex and city parks, we have Buck Creek and the Cahaba River and all the natural beauty they afford.My absolute favorite day outing in the spring is the Cahaba Lily Hike! 

The Cahaba Lily-  (Hymenocallis coronaria) is the proper name for the plant commonly referred to as the Cahaba Lily. The plant grows in rivers across the southeast United States. Current populations exist only in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.  The flowers bloom between early May and late June. The flowers usually open late in the day and begin to wither the next day. In most cases only one flower will open each day. The seeds take shelter in the crevices of rocks found in swift-moving currents. 
There is a fairly large stand of these beauties just a bit down Buck Creek from the Helena Amphitheater Park.  It is an easy hike to see them and well worth an afternoon hiking trip with your family.  It is a tradition of ours each spring.  We visit early afternoon in early May and have not been disappointed. (Helena Lily pictured)
If you love the Helena stand of lilies, there is a larger stand of these lilies not in Helena, but a short drive away.   For a view of the lilies that is even more spectacular than our own, travel to West Blocton. This is located at the new Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. (seen below)
Remember never to touch or pick the lilies!  They are very delicate and precious.
The Cahaba Lily is just the #1 Thing on my list of to-dos in Helena in the Springtime. 

Some other of my favorite suggestions include:
The Hillsboro Trail: If you want to get some exercise, the Hillsboro Trail is perfect for walking, biking or running.  If you park at the Hillsboro Parking area and walk to the middle school and back, it is a nice 3 mile excursion for you.  Grab the kids, the bikes (and helmets), even the dogs and the leash and head out for a beautiful, mostly shaded walk or bike.  The trail is also perfect for some great photography of your family!   If you are into geocaching, the high tech scavenger hunt using GPS, there are several on the trail.  There are actually many opportunities to geocache in Helena.

Joe Tucker Park is an awesome place to explore!  Just behind City Hall and past the public library, you can find a nice place to spend a day.  Pack a picnic and head on over.
My little girls' favorite attraction is the huge old metal slide like the playgrounds when I was a little girl- as well as the old fashioned monkey bars beside it.  These are up by the public library.
There is the new, modern play area as well on across the lake for the younger ones.  We love to play hide and seek and all kids of other games in the maze-like play land. 
Bring bread to feed the many geese and ducks- even turtles to the left of the wooden bridge!
Joe Tucker is the site of many great Gnome-hunting memories for my children, especially my baby girl finding her first gnome here in the woods!  If there are no gnome hunts in progress, there are 3 tricky geocaches to look for at Joe Tucker.  (If you like those caches, head on over to Cahaba Lily Park next!)
Geocaches are like a gnome hunt to just as much fun and me…  well… almost!

I am so thankful to live in Helena for many reasons. 
The fact that we can go out and spend a great day outside without even leaving the city is just one of them! Enjoy your spring in Helena.
Charnita Kirby

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