It was a miracle. The temperature was only supposed to reach 84 degrees in Vacaville. I had an overwhelming need to get the kids outside in our one day reprieve from the heat. I figured now was as good as time as any to attempt hiking alone with the kids. They were practically young adults at the ripe old age of 23 months and had proven to be fairly good in public so I gave it a go. And guess what? It was a tremendous success!
We went to Lagoon Valley Park which is on the very edge of Vacaville and has hiking trails, a dog park, a lagoon (shocking I know), and a frisbee golf course. It is also where we are having the kid's birthday party at the end of the month so I thought it would be a good chance to go beyond the picnic area and explore the park a bit more. I equipped the kids with their monkey back packs and carried the leash attachments with me just in case. Mari was not so thrilled with her backpack.
Being the fantastic mom that I am, I chose to snap a picture and ignore her cries and start walking. Once Mari saw that Ben got to cross a super cool bridge all by himself she shaped up and ran to join him.
We started down one of the many trails shared by hikers, bikers, and horse back riders and it didn't take long for us to see a group of horses. The kids thrill level went sky high. The day was already a success in their eyes.
Those weren't the only animals we saw that morning. We also saw turkey vultures, hawks, gray squirrels, ground squirrels, and deer which kept the kids gasping and giggling with excitement.
Since things were going so well I decided we needed to take on a little challenge. There was a steep dirt trail that went up the side of a hill to an oak tree and picnic table at the top. Now I am sure people thought I was crazy climbing up the hill holding the hands of two little kids but I knew the incline would be great for Ben's therapy and the challenge would provide us all with satisfaction once we completed it.
And complete it we did! Sure there was a slip or two and a little protest by Mr. Ben due to his hatred of all things not level but once we got to the top and Mari gasped and shouted "Wow!" I knew it was all worth it. The kids got huge grins on their faces as they looked out and took in the view.
We sat down and had some snacks and enjoyed our time at the top. The kids enjoyed stomping on the lookout platform and making great sounds with their feet.
After we did our fair share of snacking and lingering we decided to march on down another trail. Ben stopped to examine the rocks like he always does and Mari tromped along like a good little hiker.
The kids decided to have a game of chase down the hill and laughed hysterically as Ben raced to catch Mari.
Unfortunately Ben raced himself right into a bush and there was blood all over the place. Luckily it didn't seem to bother him and he went right on trucking until I could find a spot to clean him up a bit.
From there we followed a paved path and made an exciting discovery. A grove of redwoods right here in town! Hume Grove that was the perfect spot to picnic or relax in the shade. We will have to keep that spot in mind for future use!
Nap time was fast approaching so we made our way back to the car and headed home. The morning had been a great one. I was so pleased with our accomplishments and felt incredibly proud of Mari and Ben for being such great little hikers. I look forward to many future hikes together and many more discoveries of special little places that we can share together. I encourage you all to explore the world near your own homes with your children and rediscover the world through their eyes.