From the Field: Coal Mine Ridge (Portola Valley)

EliaIf you’re an avid Stroller Hikes newsletter reader, you recall us going to Coal Mine Ridge a couple weeks ago.  Elia, a fantastic volunteer from Monta Vista High School, has written for Stroller Hikes for the last nine months, and brings perspective that can be hard to come by, as many of us are well beyond her teenage years.  Below is Elia’s take on the Coal Mine Ridge Hike.  Thanks Elia! 

Getting in Touch with Nature

            This week, I tagged along on a Backpacking Bambino at Coal Mine Ridge. It was a beautiful hike in a misty forest setting—where trees crowded with each other for space and small plants and shrubs grew together on an incline. It was a gorgeous route, and it gave me an unexpected break from school. As a high school student, around this time of the year, school starts to kick back in, and the mountains of projects and homework start to pile on again, and sometimes, I begin to lose perspective of things that are important to me, like my connection with nature.

            Growing up, I had always had a close affinity with nature. When I was little, every year, my mom would take me hiking and cherry-picking, and on the weekends, my friends and I would play in my friend’s tree house on her apple tree. However, as I got older, I started to get out less and less until finally, I almost completely lost touch with nature. However, this hike really changed my perspective on nature; it helped me discover nature’s beauty again.

            The route that the group and I took at Coal Mine Ridge was the Toyon-Coal Mine- Arroyo- Bay Laurel-Old Spanish Loop. The route has narrow trails that cut through a forest, so hikers are immediately immersed in nature after they start. And I was not disappointed. On this hike, I saw a variety of different plants, including strange-looking fiddleheads, forget-me-nots, refrigerator trees, and even a Christmas Tree—a tree that someone had thoughtfully decorated with ornaments. The trees also provided ample shade, making the hike refreshing and cool. Needless to say, I fell in love with nature again. However, I also noticed that I was not the only one falling in love with nature. The kids had so much fun touching the refrigerator trees, which are trees that remain cold even during the summer, and admiring the fiddleheads, the young, unfurled ferns, growing on the incline.

            Overall, this hike helped me relax and unwind from the stress and monotony of school. This experience allowed me to reconnect with nature, and I recommend this hike to anyone who wants to destress and appreciate nature’s beauty, or simply to anyone who wants to enjoy a good hike.


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