Yesterday’s weather had me so ecstatic, I was almost jumping out of my skin!
No, I’m not being sarcastic – I love the rain, and I was pleased to see that Max
loves rain as well.
At 8:45 AM, I pulled out of the driveway with Max and Holly in tow, both wearing
their red raincoats and warm shoes. We passed our neighbor, an Oregon native
like I am, on the way out. He was returning from his morning walk, and the grin
stretched out on his face mirrored my thrill of precipitation. “I LOVE this
weather,” he beamed.
McClellan Ranch is a historic ranch in Cupertino, which now hosts 4-H animals, a
community garden including bee boxes, and the newly constructed Stevens Creek
Trail (the only branch of the trail outside of Mountain View). I’ve been to
McClellan Ranch every year at least half a dozen times for the last seven years,
so I am quite familiar with the more rustic trails through the small preserve.
The creek-side trail follows Stevens Creek on one side and a narrow riparian
region on the other, which opens up into a large meadow.
When we arrived, the preserve was pretty empty – one farmer was working in the
community garden, an Audubon Staff Member was preparing for Saturday’s nature
day (visit http://www.scvas.org/index.php for more information about this great
family-friendly event), and three others had just come for a walk along Stevens
Creek Trail. We weren’t at all surprised that others hadn’t made it out – us
Oregonians laugh that those raised in drier climates act allergic to a little
drizzle. Despite the fact that I love rain, I don’t really like being wet, and
I would hate for Max or Holly to get a chill, so we had picked our hike
carefully. I knew that the wooded trail at McClellan Ranch would be almost
Max led the way (this is, by the way, a superb Toddler Trek park). Within a
minute, we were beneath the shade of redwoods and hearing the burbling creek
below us. The rain became a fine mist, then disappeared, then we’d get a
drizzle, a mist, and nothing. Our raincoats were virtually dry the whole time,
as sycamores, with leaves the size of our heads, acted as umbrellas. Max
delighted in reading the numbers he saw along the path – there is a self-guided
tour you can do – his game growing more interesting when he realized some of the
numbers were high in the trees, on birdhouses.
What delights me the most about rain is what you can sense after it has fallen.
The smell of rain is intoxicating to me – you smell the rich dirt and the clean
air all at once, and the humidity seems to open up new alveoli in your lungs, so
you can breathe all of that richness in, even deeper. We delighted also in
seeing spider webs, with tiny droplets making their intricate patterns come
alive. Towards the end of our trail, we found blackberries, and enjoyed tasting
them, chilled and freshly rinsed by the weather. We finished our hike by
walking through the community gardens to see what was literally eating up these
conditions – plants were turgid, rich with water and color.
You may not be a fan of the rain, but consider a short visit to an open space
today or in the coming weeks, to relish the impact of the changing weather on
our environment and those that live in it. You might enjoy McClellan Ranch like
we did, Alum Rock’s Creekside Trail in San Jose, Redwood Grove in Los Altos,
Coal Mine Ridge in Portola Valley, or Woodside’s Huddart Park. All of these
places have what Max refers to as Tree Tunnels, where the trail is largely
shaded so you are partially protected from the weather. If you’d like a broader
list of shaded options, check out Stroller Hikes’ Comparison Chart (see the
Tools tab at StrollerHikes.com or visit
http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/ComparisonChart.php) and look for places with
a high shade rating. Be aware that the rain can bring mud, especially in
well-trodden areas that allow horses and bikes, so be sure to read the hike
descriptions or pack along a baggie, spare change of shoes, and a walking stick
Also consider coming out for one of our events. Event leaders exercise their
prerogative to cancel events based on the weather, so check your e-mail for
cancellations or call the cell number of the hike leader, in case you need to
touch base about the impact of the weather.
Enjoy this week’s events:
Saturday, October 23rd at 6:30 PM join Jen and her family for a Stroller Hikes
Moonlit Hike at Vasona Park in Los Gatos. Meet at the playground parking lot
inside Vasona Park for this wonderful family-friendly hike. Look for bats,
listen for frogs and crickets, and see what other animals come to life as dusk
falls at this lovely park with paved trails. Jennifer Snedeker will lead this
family-friendly event, suitable for baby transport of all types. Meet at the
Vasona playground parking lot. Bring some layered clothes if it cools down, and
also bring water, a snack, and a flashlight. Jennifer is a wonderful educator
who will break up the hike with games and exploration, depending on what
critters the group sees. This event is co-sponsored by Santa Clara County Parks
and Recreation. For information about Vasona’s trail and directions to get to
Vasona, see the Los Gatos Creek Trail Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/LosGatosCreek/LosGatosCreek.html) or Santa
Clara Parks and Rec’s Page about Vasona
698ba77784010VgnVCM10000048dc4a92____&cpsextcurrchannel=1). As this event has
been very well attended in the past, please register before attending at
REVISED LOCATION! Monday, October 25th at 11 am join Amy B. and her wee ones for
a hike and picnic at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto. Meet at the Byxbee parking area
at the end of Embarcadero Road. We’ll hike up and down the lovely crushed oyster
shell paths around the artistic installments to Byxbee Park, then hike over to
the Palo Alto Baylands Park, stopping to check out the birds around the duck
pond as well as any artists trying to capture the interesting landscape. The
trail works fine for all types of strollers. Dogs allowed! Bring a picnic for
your family. For more information about the parks and directions to Byxbee’s
main parking lot, see Byxbee Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Byxbee/Byxbee.html) and Palo Alto Baylands
Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/PABaylands/PABaylands.html). If you’re
running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.
Monday, October 25th at 4:30 pm join Pippa and Ruth for a Toddler Trek at
Shoreline Park in Mountain View/Palo Alto at 3070 N.Shoreline Blvd. We will be
doing a short walk around the lake to the play structure. We’ll see lots of
birds, and boats on the lake. We will be encouraging the little ones to walk,
but if you want to bring a stroller, any kind should work as the trail is paved.
Follow Shoreline Blvd all the way to the end, enter the park by the kiosk, and
follow the road all the way to the end following signs for Lakeside Cafe. Meet
in the car park by the cafe. Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information about the
park and directions, see The Shoreline Park Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Shoreline/Shoreline.html). If you’re running
late, give Pippa a call at 510-621-7471.
Tuesday, October 26th at 2 PM join Megan and little Vera for a Stroller Hike at
Stevens Creek Trail from Creekside Park off of Easy Street in Mountain View. Any
stroller or carrier will work; the path is a lovely two-lane paved one. We’ll
have the option of walking towards the bay or towards the hills (the trail has
been extended through Mountain View). For the bay direction, the first and last
quarter of this hike is well shaded, and we hope to have some bay breezes, in
case it’s warm. For the hill direction, the trail is shaded for the majority of
the hike. For more information about the trail or directions, see The Stevens
Creek Trail Webpage
If you’re running late, call Megan at 408-409-3206.
Wednesday hikes have been cancelled. If you were enjoying these and wanted to
take over leading them, or wanted to lead any other kind of event at any time,
please e-mail Debbie at admin@….
Thursday, October 28th at 4:30 pm join Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly for a
Toddler Trek at Pichetti Open Space Preserve in Cupertino. Meet at the trailhead
entrance on the West side of the parking lot (also the entrance to the winery).
The trail is dirt on some rolling hills, but it gets narrow in spots, so a front
carrier or backpack are best, but a jogger will work for most of the trail.
We’ll hike to the temporal pond out here and look for emerging life! Bring
boots if you have them! For more information or directions, see the Picchetti
Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Pichetti/Pichetti.html). If you’re
running late, call Debbie at 650-776-1082.
Friday, October 29th at 9 am – NEW TIME! join Melissa and Maxwell for a Stroller
Hike along the stretch of Stevens Creek Trail connecting McClellan Ranch and
Blackberry Farm in Cupertino. The trail is a lovely new, paved, two-lane/wide
one, so any baby transport will work. Meet at the McClellan Ranch parking lot at
22221 McClellan Road. We’ll stop part way to play at the awesome new play
structure at Blackberry Farm. For more information or directions, see the
McClellan Ranch/Blackberry Farm Page
(http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/McClellan/McClellan.html). If you’re running
late, call Melissa at 650-224-5461.
Smell that rain!
-Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly