We didn’t initially intend to hike five miles from our house to Muir Woods National Monument and back, but the first day of spring arrived quite beautifully and, inspired by the new book, We Love Nature! A Keepsake Journal for Families Who Love to Explore the Outdoors, by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer (illustrated by Denise Holmes), my daughter and I set off on a pretty and hilly local trail. We loved the idea of welcoming the season with a hike, as well as the notion of leaving right from our house and walking to the trail head. We thought we’d walk one way, and had arranged for a pick-up at the end of the walk.
Keffer and Tornio are the authors of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book, reviewed here last year, and their new book, which delightfully arrived in time for spring, expands nicely on their theme of providing easy ideas that families and others can use to create their own nature adventures. The book serves as a journal, as well, with questions that prompt readers to think, write and draw about their nature time.
Our first-choice activity from the book? “Hike on a trail near your home and write about what you discover.” We added some photos as well.
Anna and me, setting off on our adventure.
Pride of Madeira plants were sighted while climbing our first hill out of our neighborhood.
A kind and creative homeowner shows the way to the Dipsea Trail, a trail that winds seven miles from a canyon in our town of Mill Valley, CA, to the sea at Stinson Beach. We will take the Dipsea partway.
We entered Mt. Tamalpais State Park.
Anna is at the precipice, eyeing the trail below.
We descended into canyons of ferns, redwoods and bay trees.
We spotted a spectacular Douglas Iris.
And a Beach Morning Glory.
We made it to the Muir Woods, about 2.5 miles from the start, feeling pretty accomplished.
Muir Woods has lovely creeks running through it that are home to spawning salmon.
Muir Woods is also home to thousands of old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest living things in the world. This redwood fell on Winter Solstice, 2012. A sign nearby told us that it was an elder that had had a good life and deserved respect.
Tired, but also reenergized from being in the beautiful woods, we traced our steps back toward home.
The hikers, five hours and a great adventure later.
Prompted by the book, and this hike, we immediately planned our next one! A few days later, we took the Dipsea Trail in the opposite direction than we had the first time and went into our town for a shorter (but stair-filled) loop walk. Later, we plan to keep going on the Dipsea Trail, past the Muir Woods to the ocean (and take someone up on that ride home).
Some other adventures we are eager to try from We Love Nature! A Keepsake Journal for Families Who Love to Explore the Outdoors this spring and summer include:
Design your yard and garden to be butterfly friendly.
Experiment with starting seeds.
Reuse an object as a garden container.
Find inspiration from nature, and then create a piece of art.
Swim with your family or friends at a local lake, river or pond.
Discover the night sky through stargazing.
Would you like to win your own copy of We Love Nature! A Keepsake Journal for Families Who Love to Explore the Outdoors and a pair of KEEN shoes? Enter the Destination Nature giveaway today.
Other Slow Family posts you might like:
Join Project Feeder Watch and Other Fun Citizen Science Activities
How to Save Nasturtium and Other Seeds
Have a Cloud Race
Keep a Moon Diary
Nature Activities to Celebrate Spring