Monday, March 18, 2013

The Wild Flowers are Blooming.....

 The last couple of weeks has been comprised of hikes and trail runs after field service.  Beth and I are training for a 50K towards the end of April, so this means a lot of running on Mt. Diablo.  The kids also have a race at the end of this month, with Sophie running her first 10K with Emma. 

Most of the hikes and runs we do of at late have been up in Castle Rock as well as through Pine Canyon.  Last weekend, while Beth and I were running with our friend Ryan, his wife hiked up through the bottom of the Canyon with the kids.  The past two weekend have been in the 70's, so the weather has been beautiful.

This past Saturday, Beth and I ran up Wall Rd. which will eventually take you up to Rock City.  This trail is beautiful, with poppies and lupine in bloom.   There were some other purple flowers that looked like wild daisies and some red flowers that looked like it was related to salvia.  The hills and trees are so green right now. 

The kids took a new sister in our hall to hike some of the trails nearby.  It is an easy hike and the kids and the sister had a great time.  She had moved up recently from San Diego and is learning about all of what the Bay Area has.

Yesterday, after meeting one of the older brothers in the congregation to our family out for lunch at a buffet.  I quickly realized that my kids have really not experienced a place like this in awhile.  I mean, the last time we ate at a buffet was when we lived in Georgia.  This means that Myles has never been and Sophie doesn't remember.  I remember as a kid that we went to a buffet on a regular basis; however, I think it is fun to know that the kids thought of this as a treat.  The older brother certainly enjoyed the company. 
After lunch, for a change Emma and Sophie went out for a run on a new trail up in the Black Diamond Mine Regional Preserve.  There is a trail about a mile from our home in Clayton that takes you up to the top of a peak that overlooks the Clayton Valley and where we live as well as views of Rio Vista and the Delta.  It was clear enough to see the Sierra off in the distance.  All in all it was a 7 mile run/hike.  We even went in an air shaft that was left over from when the hills were mined for coal.  Once you get a ways into the hike, the country is beautiful.  It is hard to imagine that you are not as secluded as you might think.  Emma and Sophie quickly learned why it isn't smart to each a big meal before a run, but they did fine just the same.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Flat Stanley Takes On Mt. Diablo

With Sophie in a 2nd/3rd split class this year, there is the occasional repeat activity.  So we have the privilege of Flat Stanley making the rounds.  We didn't want to send him out this year, so we have kept him local.  This has meant traveling into San Francisco with me as well as other activities.

Saturday after service, we decided to do a hike up on Mt. Diablo.  There is a piece of single track Beth has been wanting to explore to see the feasibility of adding it to her runs.  Overall it is a 4.5 mile loop with some over 1,200 elevation gain.  Not bad for a hike or a run.

Sophie thought it would be great to bring Flat Stanley along for the adventure also.

The most challenging part of the hike is at the beginning when we climb Burma Rd.  This is a very steep part of the trail but provides a beautiful view of the valley below.   Coming down the hill is great too!  Pretty steep, however, not too steep to see the occasional mountain biker coming down.

We then proceeded to Buckeye trail, this is the single track that Beth had been eying.  It is part of a 50K we are considering towards the end of April.  The poppies are finally out, as well as other wild flowers.  Leading up to the day, it had been sunny and in the 70's; however, it was overcast for our hike.  We came across a couple of creek crossings with one nice little waterfall added in. 

We finally made it to Stage Road, which dropped us back into Pine Canyon.  We came across a really old "Rattlesnake Gulch" sign which we wondered what the history was behind it, but have come up dry on Google.  While we haven't had much rain since December, we have had enough for the hills to turn green.  We also came across some of our favorite creek crossings, with Myles playing in the mud.  Beth and I get the biggest kick out of passerby's who remark how awesome we are for letting our kids play in the mud,  and I don't know why.

Flat Stanley made the hike intact and dry and the kids made it home thrilled but tired from the adventure we had.