Construction and Destruction – Weekly Stroller Hikes E-Newsletter

Construction and Destruction

We had a wonderful hike at Ulistac Natural Area on Thursday, an afternoon already dark with rainclouds, but wonderfully warm. Ulistac is a very small preserve located alongside the Guadalupe River Levee in Santa Clara, and a construction crew has a real presence there now, as they are replacing a huge water pipe/tank with valved pipes in accordance to earthquake-damage preventative measures. Without the update, I imagine a few dozen relatively new condos in the area could face flood damage not directly from the river, but from these underground water pipes that store and redirect some of this natural water.

Max and I enjoyed equally the human and machine activity of the park – a crewman explained quite happily what they were doing, and we marveled at the several muddy cranes and diggers. We had our snack mid-way through our walk, watching the crewmen pump water from the old pipe, making a waterfall that tumbled water into the river below.

We also saw some of the natural changes in the park. Trees not only lose leaves this time of year, but many lose limbs or break in half when, during wind storms or very wet weather, the weights of their tops uproot the entire tree or cause the tree to split down the middle. Max found two trees for which this was an issue, and we hiked towards them to check them out. They both showed their own waterfalls – this time of sap – frozen in place as they had dried, and we enjoyed licking a bit of dried sap (ever so slightly sweet) and talking about maple syrup.

Seeing changes like these really put life in perspective for me. The crewmen had their role in maintaining a balance between Mother Nature and human habitation in the area, but in no way is Ulistac primped and prepped to be devoid of all natural change.
Someone walked through the park with two dogs off-leash while we walked along the levee above the park, and we watched as the dogs tipped the natural balance of the park in their own way. Two hares charged across the park and fleed to the river, to escape the dogs, who were happily well enough trained not to pursue what otherwise might have been their prey.

Given that we only had 45 minutes of good light for our hike last week, we’ll be stopping Thursday Toddler Treks until February. Do come out to some of our other events, however, and if you’d like to hike at night, enjoy a slightly earlier Toddler Trek on Monday or a Moonlit Hike on November 28th.

Looking for a holiday gift that can help Stroller Hikes and help you get outside with baby? Two framed baby backpacks are still for resale. Prices have fallen $5 each this week – grab them while they’re still available! See for more details.

Here are this week’s events:

Monday, November 9th at 10 am we’ll meet at John W Christian Greenbelt. Amy L. and little Adelina will lead a speed walk / jog along the lovely wide, paved greenbelt in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Dogs allowed but be sure they can manage on a faster-paced walk/run. We’ll take a break around the halfway point for the trip, to play at the large playground for toddlers (which includes water features, so bring clothes if it’s warm out), 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 (

Monday, November 9th at 4 pm join Melissa and little Maxwell for a Toddler Trek at Ulistac Natural Area and Guadalupe Levee in Santa Clara. The trail is suitable for a large-wheeled stroller or jogger, or a backpack or carrier (small-wheeled strollers will not work well), but we’ll encourage toddlers to walk. Dogs allowed! Meet in the parking lot of James Lick Park off of James Lick Road, which is across from the natural area. We may linger afterwards to play in the huge playground, or take a break at one of the playgrounds along the way. For more information or directions, see Ulistac and Guadalupe Page ( Call Melissa at (650) 224-5461 if you’re running late.

Tuesday, November 10th 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! 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, November 10th at 2 PM join Amy B. and her wee ones for a hike 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 ( If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.
Thursday late afternoon/evening Toddler Treks will resume in February.

Plan Ahead!:
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.

Enjoy this season’s changes!

-Debbie and little Max

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