Thursday, July 22, 2010
Best Family Adventure Summer Hiking Series - Oso Flaco Lake
This week's hike was much closer to home for us. We headed north on Highway 1 into San Luis Obispo County to take the easy walk across the boardwalk at Oso Flaco Lake. Our friend Sarah brought her two little ones. She also brought an adult cousin of hers who carried a toddler on her back most of the way. The group was small, but the company was fantastic.
We met up at 10:15 a.m. at the gate just past the parking lot. The kids found a pile of fill dirt, presumably set for filling potholes in the parking lot, and proceeded to climb and run and dig and generally have a great time. I'm sure they would have been happy had we stayed at the fill hill all day. But we moms had other plans.
We enjoyed a nice walk along the tree-lined access road, then across the boardwalk/bridge from which we spied cormorants, white pelicans, mallard ducks, coots, an egret, a heron and a California Least Tern. The girls took a moment to re-enact the cover of our first book before carrying on with the day's adventure. Toward the western end of the boardwalk, they tried to sneak up on the heron which showed great patience for a time before finally fleeing to a post in the middle of the lake.
It's been quite awhile since the girls and I have been to Oso Flaco Lake. We've spent much of the past year exploring Santa Barbara County for the most recent book, so we've missed our old haunts. So it was a pleasant surprise to see the boardwalk extension. In past visits, we've hit the soft sand just before the last climb over the short dunes to the beach. This time, the boardwalk made the climb a cinch and beach access much simpler.
While the moms visited by the waves, the kids explored the shore. V decided to relive a moment when she found a sturdy piece of bull kelp. It was Sarah's daughter who grabbed on to be dragged, and V doing the pulling. What a hoot! We kept all of the kids away from the water - the shore drops quickly here, the waves are treacherous, and there was a clear rip tide directly opposite the beach access ramp. Still, we enjoyed the water, particularly viewing a herd of seals in a feeding frenzy. Minutes later, a pod of Humpback whales passed through the same feeding grounds, spouting and carrying on in the easy manner of passing whales.
The addition of the boardwalk extension ensures easy access for most any family willing to take the time to enjoy the walk. We'll be back again soon.