My Precious: Stroller Hikes Weekly Newsletter (1)

My Precious

The title of this newsletter might bring recollections of Gollum and his dear ring. Parallel to his deep-rooted passion for something which often eludes him, and something that is often well hidden or overlooked, are those treasures we might find in nature. This weekend, billions of children will embark on their quests for eggs hidden in backyards, parks, and patios, in an odd little homage to the abundance of bunnies and chickens due to their heightened reproductive rate at this time of year.

Hiking with Liza, Sasha, Nico, and Max this Thursday in the distant but thoroughly lovely Almaden Quicksilver County Park, I saw passion for those elusive little gems hidden in nature several times.

No, no one had hidden eggs amongst the gorgeous landscape here. But we did speak of mining, helping the kids make connections to the Cinnabar/Quicksilver mining that had happened here, by talking about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Sasha found a gem of her own, a broken reflector from a mountain bike, which was so curiously orange to her, that we marveled at this “carrot” jewel. Sasha was convinced this was rare and unique, and despite my comment about what it was, she was sure only her dad could explain its origins. Max and Liza found treasures of their own – a fuzzy caterpillar with bright yellow spots, and a mustard yellow banana slug. Later, we even spied a claw-footed tub, oddly placed along the side of a steep hill, perhaps with pipes running to it from a hillside spring.

Most adults might not consider these treasures, but their uniqueness surely held some charm for the kids. Even little Nico, who must have seen our first wild turkey of the day, chimed in periodically about seeing birds, which were rather elusive.

I was reminded of the power of these precious things later, when Max longed for something else that he couldn’t have – being picked up by my 30-week pregnant self. Liza, clearly wise to such things, reminded him of that caterpillar and slug, which we might see again on our return to the parking lot. Immediately, the wonder surrounding these treasures began swaying him to forget his longing to be held, and finish our hike. The kids were all rewarded with a final treat at the end – spying 13 wild turkeys (and one with splayed tail feathers for Liza) as we neared our cars.

Enjoy your quest for hidden treasures this weekend. Remember, such events don’t have to be limited to Easter – everyday there are precious things to be found on a hike, bike ride, trek, or run.

Here are this week’s events. You’ll notice Loren has cancelled her Toddler Trek this week, as her work schedule has her busy. If you would like to lead any Stroller Hikes events (or co-lead them), please reply to this e-mail (replies go only to Debbie) and let us know what you’re envisioning. We’re always welcoming of new leaders or suggestions for making Stroller Hikes more accessible to more people!

Sunday, April 4th from 1 to 3 pm come out for an Egg Hunt at plenty of springtime crafts at Grant County Park in San Jose. Be sure to bring your Easter Basket for the egg hunt. Meet at the Ranch House. Call (408) 274-6121 to confirm that you are coming. This is a Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Event. The park is at 18405 Mt. Hamilton Road, and can be accessed from Hwy 680’s Alum Rock Avenue exit; travel east on Alum Rock for 2.2 miles, then turn right on Mt. Hamilton Road. After about 7.5 miles on Mt. Hamilton Road, turn right to enter the park. Bring a few dollars to pay for parking. For more information about the park or directions, see Santa Clara County’s Website (

Tuesday, April 6th at 1:30 pm join Amy B. and her wee ones for a 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 ( and Emily Renzel/Byxbee Page ( If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

Thursday, April 8th at 4:30 pm join Debbie and little Max for a Toddler Trek at Alviso Marina and Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge in Alviso near the intersection of Mill and Hope Streets. Come enjoy the range of birds, the Bay breezes, and see the train! The boardwalks here are great for toddlers. Meet at the Marina Parking lot. Bring a carrier or a jogging stroller for wee ones. Sorry, no dogs allowed. For directions or more information about the area, see The Alviso / Don Edwards Page ( Call Debbie at 650-776-1082 if you’re running late. This is a Santa Clara County Healthy Trails ( outing.

Friday, April 9th at 9:45 am join Jenn W. and little Scott for a hike at Stevens Creek Trail beginning from the Crittenden Trailhead in Mountain View, near 1495 Crittenden Lane. Any stroller or carrier will work; the path is a lovely two-lane paved one. For more information about the trail or directions, see The Stevens Creek Trail Webpage ( If you’re running late, call Jenn at 210-859-8721.

Saturday, April 10th from 1 to 4 pm come out to Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara for a Family Play Day sponsored by Wild Zones. Bring a change of clothes, wipes, and a towel, as the mud is sure to be gooey and there will be plenty of stick play. Ulistac is a wonderful place to explore nature and creative play away from the glossy trademarked plastic toys that seem to dominate these days. For some pictures of old nature play events, see the Wild Zones Website ( For directions and information about Ulistac, see The Ulistac Webpage (

Happy hunting!

-Debbie and little Max (and wee Peanut)

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