A note from Debbie: This year, in an effort to make camping more sustainable for Stroller Hikes, volunteers stepped up to lead some trips. Melanie is one, who graciously came out to lead at Black Mountain above Palo Alto (Monte Bello Open Space). Thank you Melanie! Below are her notes from the trip, which was hot, yet fantastic.
We had a great time on our hike to Black Mountain! Everyone showed up, creating a total of 13 adults and 10 kids. The hike in was pretty hot, but we found a nice shaded spot at our campsite once we arrived. We retreated under the trees for the majority of the afternoon. I have to say, the heat was a bit paralyzing, but everyone was content as we played card games, dominoes, and relaxed in the shade.
Toward the evening, the temperature cooled down and we headed off for a sunset hike. At this point, the kids’ energy level was restored and they had a blast chasing Patrick, the oldest child in the group (photo above). After plenty of giggling and laughing, we headed back to our tents.
The full moon kept energy alive and some adults continued the adventure with a moonlit hike to view the city lights of the Silicon Valley. It was a very mild night. Many people slept outside including Jenny and her little one, Lydia. A perfect night for sleeping under the stars!
The next morning, we hit the trail by 8:30AM. Everyone was in good spirits and I did not hear one single complaint from any of the young hikers on foot– Nico, Lukas, Laertes, and Julian. Granted it was all downhill, however, I think the timing had a large influence on the mini-hikers’ morale.
Next time, I would definitely recommend doing this hike in at an earlier starting time– between 8:00 and 8:30 AM. Otherwise, it gets much too warm for a comfortable hike with kids. In fact, I think most adults would agree it was a bit too hot for them too. It is always fun to enjoy warm summer nights, so I am not sure it is necessary to go with another time of year. However, I think an earlier starting time would make some improvements if we do this hike again during the summer months.
All in all, I enjoy Black Mountain because the hike in is not too strenuous/long for most 3-4 year olds and it is in close proximity to the Bay Area. There are beautiful views of the Bay Area and, yes, nice to have that cell phone service available if needed.
– Melanie (Black Mountain Backpacking Leader and Seabright Beach Hike Leader)