Monday, February 14, 2011

Last sunshine for a while

Over the weekend, before the storm doors re-opened, we headed down to Henry Coe State Park to enjoy the last of the good weather. Chad needed to get a good ride in, so he took his mountain bike; Nim and I hiked, as that was where her motivation was. (When you're expecting a kid to happily traverse a trail with 1800 feet of elevation gain, you don't quibble about the mode of travel!) We all set out from the Hunting Hollow entrance, with snacks, reading material, and comfy chairs left in the truck for whoever got back first. I really expected that'd be Nim and me.

Nimue and I hiked up Middle Steer Trail, which, like most other trails in this park, has its steep bits. For the most part, she stayed quite cheerful, and we stopped to snack and/or try to catch bugs whenever her energy started to wane.

The wildflower season is just starting. The best of the blooms, at least as far as my camera was concerned, was this shooting star -- other than that, I amused myself with the bugs while Nimue ate her snacks.

Us at the top. At this point, Nim was convinced that I was Mean Ma and that she would be wiped out by the time we made it to the bottom. Still cheery though.

Fortunately, it was pretty much all downhill from here, and we went down what must be a recent new realignment of the Jim Donnelly Trail. It was surprisingly gentle in terms of grade compared to everything else around, and definitely fit Nimue's oft-repeated chant description "Skinny skinny Singletrack! Skinny skinny Singletrack! I don't know where we're going, I don't know where we're going. I hope we get there soon." This inspired a lot of skipping. I definitely want to ride up this trail now, as it seems so humane compared to the alternate routes up.

There is a map of the area we hiked here, or you can get a sense of the terrain from the GPS trace:

In the end, Chad beat us back to the truck by about an hour. This didn't seem like a bad fate, as he was happily sitting in a camp chair in the sun with a bottle of homebrew when we found him, post 20+ mile mountain bike climbathon :) We stopped at In-n-Out on the way out so Nimue could get the double cheeseburger she had been fantasizing about on the trail, and she bounced in the back seat all the way home.

This morning brought rain and crazy wind (which didn't stop me from biking, although it arguably should have), and rain is on the horizon for at least the next week, so this is probable the last of the California sunshine gloating for a while. On the bright side, next week is ski week!

Yoda meets Space Kitty

Nimue's been taking an after school cartooning class, with predictable results.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Signs of Spring

Despite all the snow in other parts of the country, it's been acting like spring around here, with highs near 70 degrees. This means that it is time to weed out all of the evil oxalis that tries to take over the lawn (left, looking rather pretty), and also that the daffodils are blooming.

It also means it is time to drag the family out on hikes:

enjoy the views from the top of the ridge:

and ride to wretched excess!

Award-winning poster

Nimue was quite proud of the fact that her class voted her poster from Drug-Free Week to be the best. We just got it back after its sojourn on the school office wall.