We had a wonderful drive back from our Thursday afternoon Toddler Trek this
week, with the sky emanating peach, then pink, then fuchsia. By the time we had
arrived home, the sun had set and both kids were fast asleep. I had a little
peace to prepare dinner in, before both woke up and indicated their needs for
attention. Hoorah for darkness!
This time of year, dusk is all the rage. Kids relish dusk as the perfect time
to plead to our neighbors’ generosity (Halloween), and parents relish it as
another reason that Junior should be heading to bed. In California, it’s still
nice enough to eat dinner outside, so dusk can create mood lighting for an
intimate dinner for two, or give us a reason to hang the holiday lights earlier,
to have a family dinner by (we hang ours near our porch dinner table). We also
love the novelty dusk creates in a walk around the neighborhood after dinner –
we call these Flashlight Walks.
We usually cancel our 4:30 PM hikes around this time of year, as dusk falls in
the 5-o-clock hour, but Max has urged me to keep them going. He loves
Flashlight Walks not only for the excuse to wield a favorite gadget to light his
path, but because of how different the world appears in the dark. Colors become
muted, and the world loses a lot of its depth, with distant objects hidden in
the shadows. Small moving things gain attention, particularly if they fly into
the light or cast wild shadows as they flutter or sway. Some creatures rest
until dusk, preferring to move only when it’s a little cooler and moister, and
some, like cats, bats, and owls, are nocturnal by design.
This time of year, Flashlight Walks are a favorite pastime before bed. Max is
used to looking for snails and slugs on Flashlight Walks around our
neighborhood. I like to look for bats beginning their hunts for the night. To
see an odd pair of red eyes catching the light of our torch makes the grasses
and woods more exciting, even if the eyes are only part of a domestic cat.
If you would like to join us for a hike later in the day, and catch a few
minutes of dusk, you can come out most Thursdays at 4:30 PM or on Tuesdays at 4
PM (Megan has moved her hikes, hoping to attract more attendees). We’ll try to
make it back to cars by 5:30 (sunset time for most weeks for the rest of the
year), but leaders will tote a couple flashlights along just in case. Also
remember that there are Moonlit Hikes once a month that begin at dusk and last
for up to 90 minutes, for which a flashlight is strongly recommended.
Note Pippa and Megan’s time changes for their events. Melissa’s offering up
Shoreline again. Melissa often sends me a written log of her hikes. Perhaps
this one about the last time she led at Shoreline will entice you to join her
this week: “We power-walked back up the trail toward the entrance and saw a
black-winged kite (the bird) doing it’s cool hovering thing above the brush near
the water’s edge. Next we saw synchronized pelican diving; 7 white pelicans were
floating on the water all facing each other in a circle. All-at-once they would
dive under water and presumably all come up with lunch. Then they would let
their little circle float down the shoreline about 50 feet and then repeat their
fantastic behavior! Then as we walked on, we stopped our power walk to see a
praying mantis cross our path in the middle of the trail. I got a picture of it
and we strollered around it, leaving it to pray. We made a game of keeping
Maxwell busy in his stroller by telling him in Diego/Dora style what
environmental adventures we would have to pass through to make it to the boat
playground area; pass over the bumpy bridge; roll through the dense tree canopy;
pass next to the stinky bay; walk through the poopy geese…Good Day Had.”
Here are this week’s events:
Monday, November 8th at 11 am Amy B. and her wee ones will lead a hike and
picnic at Sunnyvale Baylands Park. This trail is entirely paved, so any stroller
will work! Meet next to the recycled water test garden (take a left after
entering the park). Bring a picnic for your family. For more information or
directions, see the Baylands Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/BaylandsPark/BaylandsPark.html). If you’re
running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.
Monday 4:30 PM Toddler Treks have been moved to Wednesdays at 10:30 AM.
Tuesday, November 9th at 4 PM join Megan and little Vera at Bol Park in Palo
Alto. Meet at Bol Park near the corner of Matadero Avenue and Laguna Avenue (on
Laguna Avenue). This trail is entirely paved, so any baby transport will work.
The trail is a widely used multi-use path that was converted from an old
railroad line – a little history here! Come visit the donkeys and chickens and
see a piece of “old” Palo Alto. Meet at the playground in the middle of the
park. For more information, see The Bol Park Webpage
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/BolPark/BolPark.html). If you’re running
late, call Megan at 408-409-3206.
Wednesday, November 10th at 10:30 am Pippa and Ruth will lead a Toddler Trek in
the Palo Alto Baylands. We will let the toddlers run free on a very long board
walk out into the Bay, and if we have time we can toddle round to watch
airplanes landing at the airport. Toddlers will be encouraged to walk but any
strollers/trikes should work if you need them. Dogs OK on a leash. Directions:
go all the way down Embarcadero Road, turn left at the t-junction, go past the
duck pond car parks. Go over the bridge and park on the right just after the
bridge. We’ll meet by the entrance to the Lucie Evans Interpretive Center (2755
Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto 94303). Call Pippa if you are running late
510-621-7471. For more information or general directions to the park, see The
Palo Alto Baylands Webpage
Thursday, November 11th at 1:30 pm – Different Time! – join Debbie, little Max,
and wee Holly for a picnic and farm fun at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.
This is Veteran’s Day for many people, so plan ahead to come out with your
family. This farm is in Fremont, just over the Dumbarton Bridge. The farm has
historic displays, live animals, and a horse-drawn railroad! Bring some money
for admission (two dollars for adults, 1 dollar for children over the age of
four). This will not be a strenuous hike, but will be suitable for toddlers or
older children. We’ll visit all the park has to offer, following the roads and
trails in the park to the three fields, orchard, gardens, barn and farmyard, and
of course the train! We’ll try to watch a blacksmith work, feed the animals, and
get an ear of corn to pop in the microwave. For more information and directions,
see the Ardenwood Webpage
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Ardenwood/Ardenwood.html). If you’re running
late, call Debbie at 650-776-1082.
Friday, November 12th at 9:30 am join Melissa and Maxwell for a Stroller Hike at
Shoreline Park in Mountain View/Palo Alto at 3070 N. Shoreline Blvd. The trail
is paved, so it’s great for all strollers or kid carriers. Meet at the lake next
to where the sailboats are kept (to the right of the cafe / bathrooms building)
in Shoreline Park. There are plenty of play structures and a beach for toddlers
– we’ll stop to play after the hike! Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information
about the park and directions, see Shoreline Park Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Shoreline/Shoreline.html) and Emily
Renzel/Byxbee Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Byxbee/Byxbee.html). If
you’re running late, call Melissa at 650-224-5461.
Enjoy a Flashlight Walk in your neighborhood tonight!
-Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly