We had a wonderful Annual Family Camping Trip during the first week of August at the Bravo Ranch in Soquel. 29 families came out for camping in the meadow or woods, creek play, visiting the chickens, catching lizards, crawdads, and lamprey, a little farm labor, and play, play, play! My son, 9, did his first camping in a kids-only tent, my daughter, 5, made a lot of new friends, and I got a nice pre-school year teaching fix, showing kids and parents alike how to weave Scandanavian Heart Baskets, make pinhole lanterns, and create little LED-conductive tape cards (Thanks for the supplies, Elise!). Rebecca had kids making very tasty edible crafts – tents and campfires, and Max J. recruited plenty of eaters of the crayfish being caught in Soquel Creek. My son delighted in helping Farmer Fred with ranch maintenance before the masses arrived, then everything went without a hitch, except the tractor, which used its hitch to hold the hay wagon when Augusto took kids out on hay rides (pun intended!).
Every year, there are improvements to the ranch, thanks to the loving Bravos who work hard to make it a fun, comfortable place for families to visit. This year, there was a person gate next to the automobile gate, aptly called Liza’s Gate to recognize where the great idea originated. The tree house ladder was improved, and a sandbox boat kept kids occupied for hours at the base of the tree house. Brush had been cleared near the camp kitchen so the craft area now fit beneath a grove of Redwoods. And campers could utilize the new pool house’s bathroom for showers and restroom breaks. If this isn’t glamping, I don’t know what is!
On Saturday, Farmer Fred invited all of the kids to plant a grove of trees. He had olive trees and redwoods. Kids helped dig holes, fill them partially with compost, plant, and water. On Sunday, the kids piled into the pickup truck for the short, bumpy, and delightful ride to the new grove, helping to “plant” a sign to commemorate the occasion. It is named “Stroller Hikes Grove.”
I look forward to seeing it grow. I have become one of those adults who now seems blindsided by how quickly time passes; no longer do the days drag on and on amidst the stresses of early parenthood. Stroller Hikes Secretary Melissa and I had a good chuckle during the camping trip, about how we’ve left behind those frequent stresses of how our kids sleep, eat, or poop. Our children are much older now, all attending public school and making piles of decisions for themselves. We can now turn our attention to fostering other life – be it students in my classroom, abundant plants in Melissa’s garden, or a grove of trees at Bravo Ranch for Fred.
Be sure to join our mailing list to get reminders about our events, including the annual camping trip. We will announce that and accept reservations for it during Winter of 2016. This year we filled up within four days! Also, if you are interesting in volunteering for Stroller Hikes, hike leaders are appreciated, and we have a Board Member position available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
– Debbie Frazier (former President and current Board Member, Stroller Hikes)
Thanks to Melanie for the photo of the grove and Melissa for the photo of the Sceloporus lizard and the boys at the creek.