Saturday, March 9, 2013

8:16 PM
Summit Shot
For the last few months, this is what our typical Saturday morning has consisted of on the weekends we are at home.

Zooming Along
First, mommy has several cups of coffee while the kids have multiple pancakes that they helped make. Then, we wake up daddy (who takes the early shift) and the entire family piles into the car to drive five minutes to our local, dog-friendly open space preserve.

We bring the kids' bikes, the stroller, and the ergo and decide what combination to use once we are at the trail head.

The preserve's trail system is a mix of paved and dirt trails which provide many options for modes of transport and exploring. Usually my daughter bikes a good portion of the way, parking her bike strategically to explore various paths and promontories on foot. My son usually walks about half of the time and relies on alternate forms of parent-provided transportation for the difference.

Two Intrepid Explorers
The preserve tracks a ridge line that served as a military lookout during World War II. Old bunkers and a relic helicopter pad dot the chapparal-covered landscape. Needless to say, the views from the ridge are amazing. We can usually see out to the Farallon Islands to the West and Point Reyes to the North. We watch the waves roll into the surfing beach directly below us - the ocean looks like corduroy on some days, like glass on others. 

On paper, it is a relatively short hike (2 miles round-trip if you go directly, but we never do). There are always lots of detours, round-a-bouts, double-backs and side jaunts to explore the flora and fauna. Given that our wanderings are executed at the pace of an 18-mo, we usually spend at least an hour tromping around to cover the full distance. The kids have a blast on each expedition they dream up, the dog is in sniff and pee heaven, and usually the husband and I get a few quiet minutes to chat, a rarity in our house these days. We linger at the view points, and at the kid-guided spots in between, because there is no reason not to.

We love this way to start the weekend. Getting outdoors and spending unhurried time together as a family clearly signals the difference between the hectic pace of the week and the more relaxed weekend schedule. The poor dog gets some much-needed exercise and we all feel better for the fresh air and time spent in nature. I hope that doing things like this on a regular basis will help the kids develop a strong attachment to the beautiful and unique place that we live, and that weekend family hikes will continue be one of our signature family traditions.

Killer View From the Top
Inspecting the Flora
The Edge of the World

Extreme Trail Swimming
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