Although the transformation has been gradual all winter, the emergence of spring seems sudden with the explosion of blossoms within the week or so. Some cherry trees have begun their show with pretty pink petals, even before they have leaves, just like magnolias, that usually mark the transition between the cold and warm seasons. Yellow shamrocks, mustards, and daffodils create a bright welcoming glow along any fertile corridor, while their lime to forest green foliage brags about abundance of water in the first few layers of soil.

On a hike last weekend at Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, Loren’s wonderful find in San Jose with 300-year-old stands of trees, we noticed the emergence of pinks, blues, purples, and whites, amidst emerging blooms of buttercups, daisies, butterfly bush, and other species we could not name. We had become accustomed to counting winter’s mushrooms, but now their abundance has become dwarfed by springtime’s new growth and flowers. I’m sure even more blooms can be seen only one week later – join Loren at Guadalupe Oak Grove most Tuesdays (no hike this week), or go for a romp amongst the gently rolling hills, around the meadow, through oak “tree tunnels,” and around the historic sandstone quarry on your own family outing. We were impressed how many people were outside in this little gem nestled amongst a San Jose residential area, with a playground and dog park near one edge. Despite the number of runners, walkers, and new bikers (the flat meadow trail is a great place to practice riding), the place felt open and natural. Max even lured my otherwise physically conservative, rather pregnant body up 50 feet of sandstone rocks. Phew!

Now’s the prime time to be out, and we’re sure you are, enjoying the weather of the season and the abundant blooms. Don’t forget that this week Bay Area Parent will be photographing at Jenn K’s Friday hike at Rancho San Antonio. Come join us for an easy hike to the farm and help create some publicity for Stroller Hikes as well as a scrapbook-worthy memory of getting outside with our young ones! Amy’s also leading a hike at gorgeous Crystal Springs, and Max and I will hold our 2010 inaugural Toddler Trek at Los Gatos Creek Trail this week – hoorah!

Here are this week’s events:

Tuesday morning hike at Guadalupe Oak Grove is not being led by Loren this week. Will resume next week!

Tuesday, February 16th at 1:30 PM join Amy B. and her wee ones for a hike at Crystal Springs along the Sawyer Camp Trail, West of San Mateo and Burlingame. This is an entirely paved trail (well, I doubt it if we’ll make it to the short gravel section connecting to San Andreas Trail near mile 6) so all strollers work fine. Plenty of benches and port-o-potties along the way, and a nice picnic area with water near the 3.5 mile mark (if we make it that far). For information about the hike or directions, see Crystal Springs Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/CrystalSprings/CrystalSprings.html). Meet at the benches just inside the gate at Crystal Springs Rd and Syline Blvd. If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

Thursday, February 18th Toddler Treks resume at 4:30 pm join Debbie and little Max for a Toddler Trek at Los Gatos Creek Trail for a hike toward / to Vasona Park or around the percolation ponds here. This is a two-lane paved path, so any transport will work. Meet at Los Gatos Creek Park, at 1250 Dell Avenue in Campbell, in the parking lot. If you would like to avoid paying a fee for parking, park along the street. For information about the trail, see Los Gatos Creek Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/LosGatosCreek/LosGatosCreek.html). Sorry, no dogs allowed. If you’d like to do window shopping afterwards, downtown Los Gatos amd Campbell are nearby! This is a Santa Clara County Healthy Trails (http://www.parkhere.org) outing. This will be the last Toddler Trek of the year, as it will be getting too dark to continue! If you’re running late, call Debbie at 650-776-1082.

Friday, February 19th at 9:45 am Jenn K. and little Scott will lead at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino/Los Altos Hills. Meet at the main lower parking lot at the water fountain in front of the bathrooms(just past the entrance, turn right, then follow the road until it ends). For more information or directions, see the Rancho San Antonio Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/RanchoSanAntonio/ranchoSanAntonio.html). Sorry, dogs not allowed. The hike will be to the farm and back – about 2 miles, with a stop at the farm for a break. This hike is at least half shaded. If you’re running late, give Jenn a call at 210-859-8721. Bay Area Parent will be photographing at this hike – come out and share a smile!

Saturday, February 20th at 10:30 am join Bike Buddies for a Family Friendly Bike Ride through downtown San Carlos. The ride will last up to an hour. For more information, see SanCarlosGreen.org’s Website (http://www.sancarlosgreen.org/home/bikebuddies.html).

Enjoy spring’s emergence!

-Debbie and little Max (and wee “Peanut”)

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