Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Napa Valley: Part Deux

Note: Yes, once again I am behind. I have a good excuse though. We were in Tahoe (to be blogged about soon) enjoying the beauty of our surroundings and perfect weather. So there. There is my excuse. Oh- and Sunday was football and you know I can't be expected to do anything other than watch the games and stare at my fantasy score on the computer while yelling at my players to score me some points. So I will do my best to play catch up. Though I am feeling pretty lazy so we will see how things go. And now, without further ado, I give you part two of our Napa Valley spectacular....

After our wonderful time at the winery we made our way into Calistoga to go pick up sandwiches at the local deli. Deli sandwiches have been our go to lunch for hiking. We usually find a local shop near our hike and grab food because I hate a soggy sandwich. Plus lets be honest, there is something about a deli sandwich that just tastes better than the boring turkey sandwich you made at home hours earlier. Anyhow, we grabbed our sandwiches and headed back down the road towards Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

The wonderful thing about this park is that it is literally across the street from wineries but feels like a world away. It is the Napa Valley as the pioneers knew it. Before grapevines dominated the landscape, I imagine the area looked alot like the park does today which was full of vegetation and wildlife.  People will be surprised to know there are redwoods in this park, something not commonly associated with the region. The park features several hikes and we were planning on taking the Richey Creek hike which follows a creek through the redwoods. Unfortunately I read the map wrong and we headed in the opposite direction entirely.  We ended up on the Pioneer Trail instead. Not to say this hike wasn't pretty, it just wasn't what I had planned. And if you know me, you know I pride myself on my sense of direction. Discovering we went the wrong way made me absolutely nutty. I guess my mistake gave us a reason to come back, right?

Walking along the trail was like walking into fall. Leaves were everywhere on the ground and the kids were so excited to pick them up and examine them.

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It made me really look forward to this autumn because I think the kids will absolutely love playing in the leaves.

The trail meandered through the forest and reached a clearing where we made an interesting discovery. It was a pioneer graveyard. It just seemed so odd to stumble upon graves out in the middle of the wilds but I suppose that is how they did it back then. The graves were from the 1800s and marked those who first settled this amazing landscape.

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We decided to make the graveyard our turn around point because Ben was starting to get sleepy. No wonder- it was way past his nap time and the boy loves his sleep. Mari can go like the energizer bunny but Ben reaches a breaking point and there is no turning back. Paul ended up carrying him most of the way back.

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A gate did spark Ben's entrance and helped him learn the finer points of taking the path of least resistance:

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As we headed down the road to our car the kids decided to practice their balancing routine on a curb with Daddy's help.

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All that effort trying to balance took Ben's last bit of energy and he collapsed in the middle of the road with his sippy cup in tow.

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We carried the poor boy to the car and bid farewell to the Napa Valley. I hope to take my mom, aunt, and uncle back out that way when they are in town at the end of the month and hopefully we can create some more wonderful wine country memories. I hear there are some fainting goats that I need to check out...


The Romero-Schroeder said...

I love the "middle of the road sipping" picture, it really shows how much fun you all had!!!!

Christy said...

beautiful! I love all your adventure pics!

Anonymous said...

I SO prefer a deli sandwich to home made...even if it has the same ingredients...why has map reading not ever been a point on one of those fun fact things about you? I'd actually be surprised if I DID read a map right and get us where we were trying to go instead of the other way around! and fainting goats? That sounds right up my alley!!!

Anonymous said...

I love graveyard-exploring. My kids find it macabre when I make them play "let's find the oldest headstone" or speculate about people who died on the same day. Can't help myself though.