Saturday, July 30, 2011

Best Family Adventure Hike Series Continues

This summer's hike series turned out some fantastic families. We had dads along this year, a first for the series, and more hikers on average that the series drew during its inaugural year (2010). After last summer's series, several of the regulars asked if I'd schedule another series this summer, and so it was.

Because two of the moms who had, previously, been dedicated hikers are quite pregnant this summer, we started out with among the easiest hikes in the county: Black Hill in Morro Bay State Park. The ascent is easy enough most toddlers can make it, and the hike is so short it's hardly worth the drive for avid hikers. But it offers a great introduction to hiking for the youngest set, is accessible to the pregnant set and provides amazing views for all.

Next up, we hit the new Froom Creek Trail in San Luis Obispo. I had hiked the route a couple of weeks early with SLO Parks & Rec Director Shelly Stanwyck who also happens to be a high school classmate, but that's another story for another time. The direct route is fairly easy and incredibly well maintained. Our hiking group doubled this week.

Our hiking group doubled again the following week as we headed up Poly Canyon, a favorite in our family. With our camera/hard drive issue, I opted not to take photos, but to instead fully enjoy the day through my own lenses. Last year's photos pretty much sum up this year's hike as well - a great walk, nice tour of the structures and some creek play before heading home.

Bob Jones Trail is typically an easy walk/pedal/push along the paved bike path, but this summer's third hike in the series threw us a curve with unusually high temperatures. Still, the gang was game and we had a great time travelling by bike, scooter, stroller and roller skates. A few families joined us after the walk with a dip at Avila Hot Springs. It was my girls' first visit to the naturally heated pool - and they're hooked!

With a regular group returning each week, we headed to Reservoir Canyon for a nice creek walk and picnic. We arrived at our picnic spot so much earlier this year than last. It seems the kids' growing legs suddenly travel exponentially faster than they did only a year ago. So the parents opted to lengthen the hike before doubling back to enjoy the creekside spot.

Aunt Amy and the Cousins joined us the following week for a few days of fun and adventure in the neighborhood, at the arena and finally on the trail with the series' next hike: Coon Creek trail in Montana de Oro State Park. This was the first hike E and I took when I started writing outdoor adventure stories for the local paper after she was born. We'd "discovered" a great old oak tree that was perfect for a mid-hike nurse or nap and have returned to the tree every visit since. This year, new signs at the park identify that tree aptly as "Mother Oak." Most of us continued on to Spooner's Cove for a refreshing splash about and rock hounding before heading home.

And this week we wrapped up the series (and our first Adventure Experience Camp) with a VERY short walk to White Rock Swimming Hole on the Upper Santa Ynez River. It was supposed to be our traditional late-summer dip at Red Rocks Swimming Hole, but the road to the trailhead remains closed after record rainfall (and related runoff) weakened a bridge along the route. But the change worked out wonderfully for our pregnant mamas and families with very small children.

The series was lovely, and our company wonderful, but the girls informed me this week that they're ready to do somethings without friends along. "We used to do a lot more just with our family," E said. "Can we do that again?" And so it shall be.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I want to just sit on that beach with all the little beautiful rocks and shells. Ok, I would do the hikes too :)


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