Sunday, 25 January 2015

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

No activity on week 3 - we had some illness in the family. But we are back for week 4, with a trip to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (about 7 miles north of Half Moon Bay, Ca).

The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tidepools are a great way to spend a Sunday morning. You have to time your visit to coincide with low tide and park hours - the website has details. In our case, this meant reaching at 8 am for the 8 am - 10 am period. We reached around 8:15 am, and were there till almost 12:15 pm :) The rangers had a breakfast spread laid out, as part of a family weekend celebration. After a quick cup of coffee (and an orange for the almost 5), we made our way down to the beach. We had a lot of fun clambering over the rocks, looking at sea anemones, hermit crabs, sculpin fish, sea gulls and harbor seals! 

The tide pools from the trail:

A giant green anemone, with a black turban snail and some coraline algae:

A crab, specifics unknown:

Harbor seals (from the Bluff Trail above the beach):

At the top of the Bluff Trail:

Some information for parents:
1. The rocks are a bit slippery, but not enough to worry about. Get an extra pair of shoes! 
2. There is a restroom near the parking lot, with taps to clean up after coming from the beach.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Stulsaft Park in Redwood City

So last Sunday was our 2nd hike in the year ( in keeping with our New Year Resolve to hike more.  As the weather seemed a bit hazy, we decided to revisit an old favorite, albeit one we have not been to in more than a year - Stulsaft Park at Redwood City.

Parking is  a bit of a challenge, as you have to park on the street - Far Hill Boulevard- but since we went there after lunch we were able to get a spot. This park has a 2 level play area right off the street, and that's where we started out - as our almost 5yo made straight for the slides. After a couple of minutes of play we convinced him to get on with the hike, promising that we could come back to the play area at the end of the hike.

Leading off from the play area is the hiking area - some beautiful wooded hiking trails with a year round stream - the Arroyo Ojo de Agua whcih drains part of the Redwood Creek. There are a couple of trails leading to 2 amphitheaters and a large playing field for soccer perhaps (?) We chose the Silver Hill trail and soon were climbing up and down some easy slopes along the creek to a beautiful picnic spot - complete with a a gap in the trees for plenty of sunlight and 2 picnic benches. So we took a snack break with our 5yo and then headed on, but we had almost reached the end of the trail at Silver Hill Road.

Throughout the open woodland area, you will see beautiful specimens of Madrone and  Toyon or Christmas berry shrub. We also saw some hummingbirds and have prevously seen many blue jays. After the rains we had in late December there is green grassy cover, some budding branches and a couple of toadstools. A good time to visit a beautiful park. Of course, we finished back at the play area as promised. 

A few points that parents will be glad to know:

1.There is are rest rooms - one near the pay area and another near main picnic area at the start of the trails.
2. Two play areas - one for lil kids and one for bigger ones, with picnic tables at both.
2. There is an off leash area is in the trail section of the park.

Warning - there have been sightings of a mountain lion and cub as recently as Jan 12, 2014 - so please check the park website for information and safety guidelines before you plan to visit.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Alpine Pond at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

Today was our first hike of 2015 - part of a New Year's resolve to hike more. Ideally every weekend, though that will be occasionally be subject to the whims of an increasingly independent almost 5 year old. We went hiking around the Alpine Pond after parking at the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve parking lot, and then continued for a while on the Ipiwa trail. We did 2 miles in all, 1 mile out and one mile back - our almost-5 can do that comfortably.

It was a really nice walk - we saw deer and (to the almost-5's disgust and interest), some mountain lion poop. Some photos:

Pass under the road towards Alpine Pond from the parking lot - lots of echoes, parents are advised to walk fast :)

Alpine Pond and a closed-for-the-season Visitor Center.

Walking is fun!

View from the Gene Sheehan point - we turned around at this point.

A few points that parents will be glad to know:
1. There is a rest room in the parking lot, and another one at one end of the pond.
2. There are picnic tables near the pond, and this area is wheelchair accessible - so strollers are not a problem.
3. Most of the trails don't allow bikes or horses, so walking is easy.

Happy New Year!