Back Shplunking – Stroller Hikes Weekly E-Newsletter (1)


The day after Thanksgiving was wet and windy, but as part of our extended weekend, we needed to get out of the house to avoid going stir crazy. We introduced little Max to shplunking between storms.

Shplunking, the art of puddle splashing, is a little known sport around here, where rain showers are rare and it’s hard to find places to shplunk without the risk of being hit by a car. In Oregon, where we’re from, showers are a very regular occurrence and there are ample open spaces as well as rural neighborhoods with substantial gutters for more than parking one’s car. I had a pair of rubber boots as far back as I can remember, and remember learning to classify puddles, gelatinous algae, and quicksand, all which posed their own risks for too much splash, slipping, or losing one’s boots if misjudged. Yes, there were occasions when a pair of my black boots with the red stripe, and the handwritten `L’ and `R’ on the back, would become virtually swallowed by the quicksand that developed in the ditches around our house. Subsequently, I’d have to hobble home in stocking feet, slowly becoming wetter, colder, and filthier with every tip-toe step through the cold, wet world that was my backyard.

When we took Max out, there were no algae to be concerned with, puddles were shallow at best, and there was very little mud to be found in our urban neighborhood. Not a bad place to first be exposed to shplunking. He was tentative at first, but watching mom and dad hopscotch through the soggy gutters looked fun, so Max literally jumped in. By the time we returned home 45 minutes later, we’d covered almost 2 miles of puddle territory, only had one stern conversation about jumping into the road when a car was driving past, and Max’s favorite jeans were soaked past his knees. My husband and I had gotten a little plyometric workout hopping through puddles, and our spirits were lighter for having introduced our little one to a new side of winter wonder.

We hope you are able to enjoy the soggy weather, without getting too soggy! Here are this week’s events:

TONIGHT, Saturday, November 28th join Jennifer and little Kayla at 5 pm for a near-Full Moon Hike at Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch Park near Gilroy. What a treat to share sunset and witness some critters settling down to rest, while other creatures come alive at night! We’ll hike Martin Murphy Trail, a 2 mile paved loop, with excellent vantage points for seeing stars and looking for bats flying to catch insects, while offering plenty of safe space for toddlers and children to hike with us. Jennifer will alert you to nature at dusk and beyond, by the light of the moon. All family members welcome! This is a Santa Clara County Play Here ( activity. Register at the Santa Clara County Website or by calling or e-mailing Carrie Grisenti at 408-355-2240 or Carrie.Grisenti@…, or just come out to join us! To get to the trailhead, drive towards Gilroy on Highway 101. From the Highway 101 exit at San Martin Avenue, drive East for 2 miles on San Martin Avenue. The Harvey Bear Ranch entrance to the park is on the left, a quarter mile East of Foothill Avenue, on San Martin Avenue. Call Jennifer at 408-470-0463 if you’re running late. The event is free, but a parking fee may apply.

Monday, November 30th at 10 am we’ll meet at John W Christian Greenbelt. Amy L. and little Adelina and Gibson will lead a hike along the lovely wide, paved greenbelt in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Dogs allowed! We’ll take a break around the halfway point for the trip, to play at the large playground for toddlers along the greenbelt. Meet at the pedestrian bridge on Ahwanee Avenue and San Junipero Drive (the bridge is just NW of San Junipero Dr.). Here is a Mapquest Map of the Starting Location: For more information about the trail, see the John W Christian Greenbelt Webpage ( If you’re running late, call Amy at 650-207-6556.

Tuesday, December 1st at 9 am Loren and little Angelo will lead a hike around Almaden Lake and down Los Alamitos Trail. Meet at the water dragon by the big playground near the bathrooms and swimming beach in the main parking lot near the intersection of Coleman Avenue and Almaden Expressway. No dogs allowed, though this is not regularly enforced, if you’d like to take the risk. Any baby transport or stroller will work. For more information about the area or directions, see The Los Alamitos Creek Trail Webpage ( If you’re running late, call Loren at 831-227-6737.

Tuesday, December 1st at 2 PM join Amy B. and her wee ones for a hike at Stevens Creek Trail beginning from the park at Easy Street in Mountain View. Any stroller or carrier will work; the path is a lovely two-lane paved one. We’ll have the option of walking towards the bay or towards the hills (the trail has been extended through Mountain View). For the bay direction, the first and last quarter of this hike is well shaded, and we hope to have some bay breezes, in case it’s warm. For the hill direction, the trail is shaded for the majority of the hike. For more information about the trail or directions, see The Stevens Creek Trail Webpage ( If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

We hope you and your family are able to get outside for a hike, run, bike ride, or splash this weekend and coming week!

-Debbie and little Max

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