A family of mountain lions has been getting a little too close to and a little too comfortable with hikers at Rancho San Antonio, one of our most-frequented hiking spots, so authorities have closed the park, and Stroller Hikes has rearranged our schedule accordingly. Last week, I went backpacking in some remote wilderness and found that much of the trail had been erased or rerouted by beaver dams, which meant my husband and I had to pick our way through various rivers and make our best guesses about which way would get us back on the trail. Both of these situations remind me that despite human attempts at taming wild things, nature still wins. But I am also reminded that humans and wild animals aren’t really opposing forces. We are all part of nature and I’m thrilled that my family can co-exist with families of beavers and mountain lions, even if we have to do some rearranging to keep everyone safe.
On a sunny but not-too-hot day, I took my children hiking on a fairly technical trail. Despite the gorgeous weather and the interesting terrain and the beauties of nature and a beckoning geocache and my snack-bribes, they whined and moved slowly and at one point my youngest sat down and refused to move. A few weeks later we attempted the same hike again. This time the weather was bitterly cold, the trail was muddy from recent rains, and I forgot to pack any snacks. But this time we had a huge group of friends with us, and my children enthusiastically zoomed along the trail, chatting excitedly about imaginative topics and pointing out interesting things to the group. This is a pattern I’ve seen often in my many years of hiking with children: sometimes complaints of being too tired or too hungry or too bored or too hot or too cold are magically solved in the momentum of a group. Social connection and peer relationships can be the spoonful of sugar that helps the hiking go down.
Hello Stroller Hikes Community! Here’s your chance to come camping with us, family-friendly style.
We have reserved a group camp site from Saturday, August 4th to Sunday, August 5th in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is a family-friendly camping trip, where you will be surrounded by redwood trees, close to Serpervirens Creek and many hiking trails. Families need to bring their own tent, sleeping supplies, personal supplies, and sign up to bring shared supplies. Since space and parking is limited, families should limit themselves to one car and try to minimize their campsite footprint. The cost is $8.00 per person to cover the cost of the campsite and a small craft for the kids. Each family will also bring food to share for communal meals, and share in tasks around camp. You can reserve by sending payment to firstname.lastname@example.org through PayPal or by mailing a check to Stroller Hikes, 17640 Old Summit Road Los Gatos, CA 95033. Payment is the only way to reserve your spot. Once you have sent payment, you’ll receive more information about food sharing and planned activities. Checkout is at noon on Sunday, but families can park in the main parking lot and enjoy the park afterwards.
A friend of mine likes to say “A change is as good as a break,” which is sometimes how I feel about parenting over the holidays. Even though traveling with my family can be stressful and inconvenient and not really a “break” for me, I still feel rejuvenated when it’s over, both because I spend quality time with loved ones I don’t see very often and because it’s just something different from our usual routine. Here’s hoping that this holiday change in routine feels like a break for you.
This week I’m thinking about how we react when things don’t go as planned, and this week that seemed most of the time, for both big and small things. From a child who didn’t nap when I expected him to, to a yoga teacher not showing up for class, to a friend’s sad miscarriage, to my husband’s surprise career decisions, to my son bringing the wrong (empty) lunchbox to school. While ranging from inconvenient to heartbreaking, these unexpected twists of life expose our ability to cope and thrive and can encourage us to develop those abilities. Something about this photo of my son exploring the shoreline at Alviso Marina reminds me to find joy in the unexpected and to breathe in life even when it didn’t go as planned.