Bring a Friend 🐰👣❤️

A few weeks ago, our daughter brought Bunny along on a hike. This weekend, Lilly, a purple stuffed bunny, joined us. And Lilly got to ride a Barbie scooter in the air! Pretty lucky stuffed animal! Woody and Buzz would be jealous!

Pre-children, I would have laughed seeing a purple bunny on a scooter out on a hike.

Now, it seems normal. And it makes a hike so much more fun for a 7 year old! She loved bringing her friend along for our 3 mile hike!

“Mommy, take lots of pictures of Lilly!” So, I did! It made me smile too!

Bring a friend and enjoy a hike! 🐰👣And enjoy a smile! 😍

P.S. It’s also a great way to celebrate a birthday!

National Trails Day 👣

Happy National Trails Day today!  Today kicks off the Great Outdoors Month of June!

Did you know that there are over 18,000 miles of trails in the national park system? And did you know that there are 158,000 miles of trails in national forests and grasslands? So, we have lots of trails to explore in the United States!

Enjoy this day and month and find a trail to enjoy!  Happy National Trails Day! 👣☀️

Muir Woods

Search for the Fairies

A few weeks ago, we wanted to go on a hike with our two kids and my sister and her husband. After weeks of rain here, the sun had come out. So, we wanted to get outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air along the American River.

Our 7 year old little girl ran around the house getting supplies for this hike. No, she did not get a compass nor a map. She got her small brown shoulder purse, her little white stuffed bunny (named Bunny), lipstick (really just chapstick), and a plastic spoon.  She brought her supplies in the car for our hike.

On the trail, she announced that we were searching for fairies. Little fairies would like the trail, so we had to look out for them. Bunny helped look for them too. Every so many feet, she would stop, lift her hand to her forehead and search around an area.

After about a mile or so of hiking, she started to get a little low due to the lack of fairy sightings.  A little snack helped the spirits (which she did call it the cure). She kept on hiking and looking.

Then, we found the perfect tree. It had to be a fairy home.  The tree had a small hole facing us with dark green moss around it. We even saw some pixie dust inside it.  Our daughter took out the spoon and scooped up a very small bit of the pixie dust. Bunny even checked it out and agreed! She could not stop grinning.

Something fluttered nearby. It had to be a fairy or two even watching us hike. She knew that they were close.

We walked over a small bridge and something fluttered nearby. It had to be a water fairy or maybe the tree fairy following us.

Bunny cheered on the fairy trees, the fluttering sounds, and little bits of pixie dust. And our little girl smiled the rest of the hike and the day.

So, make sure to look for fairies and the magic of hiking the next time you are out on the trail!

Muir Woods National Monument

Happy 111th anniversary to Muir Woods National Monument!

On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Muir Woods National Monument named after conservationist John Muir. Muir Woods became the 7th National Monument and was the first one created from land donated by a private individual.

In 1905, Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth, bought 611 acres for only $45,000. To protect the redwoods here, the Kents donated 295 acres of the land to the federal government. President Roosevelt originally suggested naming it after the Kents, but they wanted it named after Muir.

Muir Woods lies in the middle of the redwood’s latitudinal range that spans from the California/Oregon border to Big Sur, just south of Monterey. And it is quite easy to get to from San Francisco!

In 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed and visitors tripled in numbers to Muir Woods that year!

And in 1945, delegates met from all over the world to draft and sign the Charter of the United Nations. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died just 12 days before he was to have opened the United Nations Conference in San Francisco. President Harry Truman still proceeded this conference. In the middle of the two-month conference, over 500 delegates representing 46 nations took the time off from the conference to go to Muir Woods National Monument to honor and to pay tribute to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Muir Woods’ Cathedral Grove.  Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., U.S. Secretary of State, who spoke of Muir Woods as a symbol of Roosevelt’s ideals, saying, “These great redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument are the most enduring of all trees. Many of them stood here centuries after every man now living is dead. They are as timeless and as strong as the ideals and faith of Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

Muir Woods is a great place to see some amazing redwood trees, check out the history here, and take in a few hikes! If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend that you check out Muir Woods National Monument!

muir woods

Smoky, the Black Bear

Many years ago back in 2001, my husband and I were in the dating stage of our relationship. We had a great relationship and had started talking about vacations.  He suggested doing a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I had never camped before and hadn’t visited more than one or two national parks before.  I really liked him though and agreed to this adventure!

Our first night at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we pull into the campsite along a quiet river.  It is a beautiful campground. You can hear the water flowing along next to you and sleep under the tall hemlock trees. We grilled out and had just started eating our tasty hot dogs and the rain came. Not just a dribble, but a downpour! We quickly finished up our food and jumped into the tent.  The rain persisted on, so we crashed early on this first night of camping. 

I had a hard time falling asleep as I kept picturing the river overflowing and then carrying our little tent (with us in it) down for a ride.  I finally ignored these silly worries and fell asleep.  I woke up a few hours later to a consistent wet drip on my forehead. The tent had one little leak and it was right above my head.  My sweet man just rolled me over away from the drip, held me, and took the drip for me for the rest of the night.

We had picture perfect weather the next day and the rest of the trip. With the great weather, we set out for a few hikes targeting waterfalls. I really wanted to see some waterfalls there. 

On our first hike, we get to the base of this particular waterfall which is surrounded by rocks. These rocks are wet of course as water crashes around here at the base and splatters.  My new hiking boots didn’t think about this wetness situation as my feet went flying out from underneath me and my bottom lands on the wet rock.  I stand up to see him giggling at my gracefulness and join him in the giggles.  I was so embarrassed!  I take a few steps and manage to repeat the flying process.  So, note to anyone hiking on wet rocks – they are very slippery!

Our last hike of the trip, we planned to hike part of the Appalachian Trail to a cool view.  I don’t remember how many miles we did, but I had never hiked that far before that day.  Almost half way, we pick up our tired pace as we are almost at the view. It must be around this bend on the trail according to our mileage. We turned the bend and get to our “view”.  It was not a “view.”  We looked at each other like “this is it?” Don’t get me wrong, the view wasn’t ugly and we are still out in nature, but we both definitely had expectations for something grander like the ability to see the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

One thing I tried to tell my man prior to the trip is that I drink a lot of water hiking.  I don’t think he quite heard or believed me on that one. On this same longer hike, we had a few miles left before reaching our car and I run out of water. He looked so shocked as we still had a few miles to go. I really do drink a lot of water. He shared his water with me the rest of hike. Now, he always plans for extra water for me when hiking.

He ended the trip with giving me a little souvenir – a stuffed animal black bear named Smoky. Smoky is still with us and still makes me smile! This vacation still ranks as one of my favorite vacations ever. I fell in love with my man and also with the national parks.