Long time, no see!

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Family Trail Time is truly devoted to hitting the trails when and where we can, but since our son’s Make A Wish hiking trip through Oregon, it just hasn’t been possible for our family.

I intended to blog about the hikes we took in Oregon, but so much has happened I was never able to make the time. Now that it’s November I doubt I could write-up a helpful post on any of the hikes! Our family moved (locally), my husband and I have each travelled for work, I received a promotion, we wrapped up the #hikeforgrayson campaign for the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation, we put on a NTSAD Raffle in Honor of Grayson Kemp, I’ve had some health things going on, our older son started 1st grade, and our younger son, Grayson, has grown more medically fragile.

Since my husband and I both work full-time, weekends and holidays are pretty much the only time we get a chance to hike. While our older son is always game, we need to have nursing coverage for Grayson in order to go on a hike without him. Unfortunately, I think his last hike on his Make A Wish trip will likely be his last hike.

On a positive note, even though the holidays are approaching, our life seems to be settling in. The only things still in boxes at our new house are mostly in the garage and we don’t have major plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas. While Grayson isn’t in great shape, we have solid nursing support on weekdays, I’m adjusting to my new role at work, and our older son is finding his groove in first grade.

There’s more good news, and I’m happy it is leading me back to more hiking, even if it’s not as our entire family, or sometimes just with other friends!HLAW gear guide pic

Hike Like A Woman – After being selected as a contributor, I’m incredibly honored that Hike Like A Woman selected me to be an Ambassador! While I’ve had a slow start due to everything else going on, I’m excited to have contributed to the 2017 Holiday Gear Guide, I’m part of the sponsorship team, I have an upcoming review on a Garage Grown Gear shirt, and have plans to contribute to some fun posts coming your way!

10k Women Trail Project  – I’m super excited to share that I’ve been selected to be a 10k Women Trail Project Trailblazer! As a Trailblazer, I will pick a trail to hike every month and invite another woman or girl on my hike. As I’ve done in the past, I plan to coordinate some women-only group hikes that our followers are welcome to join me on! To get more involved in the project, you can join the 10k Women Trail Project Facebook group!10k women trail project

Don’t forget to follow our Facebook page, Family Trail Time, for helpful hiking articles and trail news! We hope this holiday season brings you much happiness, and we hope that we can bring you some new posts on hikes for you and your family!

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Cosumnes River Preserve: Wetlands Walk Hike (Revisited)

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We last posted about this hike back in 2015, and not much seems to have changed at Cosumnes River Preserve – it’s still a great place for light hikes that are great for families! This time around we organized a hike (see Facebook event page), shared it on the Hike It Baby calendar, and invited anyone interested in coming along.

Why we love it: It is so simple! The Wetlands Walk itself (technically the “Lost Slough Wetlands Walk”) is described as a one-mile universally-accessible trail offering an up-close view of lush marshes, wetland plants, water-birds, insects, and amphibians. We also took advantage of the wooden boardwalk that meanders into the Lost Slough.

For the Young Ones (0-10): Over 250 species of bird, 40 species of fish, 230 varieties of plant, and untold numbers of reptiles and amphibians have been observed in the preserve! Right away, our six year-old spotted a rabbit and enjoyed watching hummingbirds feed on the deck of the Visitor Center. If you take your time, you can spot crawdads in the marshes!

For the Big Kids (10+): There are over 11 miles of trail within the 50,000+ acres of the preserve! Plenty of miles for big kids to explore.

Keep in Mind:

  • At least half of this trail is completely exposed. Sun protection is a must.
  • There are two points at which the trail crosses over the road that leads you to the preserve. Hold on tight to those little ones!

Around the Area: There are events open to the public at the preserve – check out their activities page for more information.

Difficulty Level: Beginner.

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Exciting Updates

Make a Wish shirts

I’ve started feeling a bit guilty about the lack of hiking posts recently. To be honest, it’s hotter than Hades in Sacramento right now, we’re obviously very focused on the #hikeforgrayson campaign (thank you SO much to those of you getting out there in support!), and things are even busier than usual for our family.

Upcoming hike posts – Please consider joining us for a free beginner hike at Cosumnes River Preserve at 8AM on Sunday, July 16. Details can be found on the Family Trail Time Events page.

Make a Wish – While we won’t be posting many local hikes this month, we will be posting some from Oregon in late July! Grayson was granted a Make a Wish road trip to Oregon and the four of us will be doing some light hiking and spending time together in nature. We’re very thankful for this opportunity to create some lasting family memories. I’ll post the hikes we do in the typical format, so be on the lookout!

Hike Like a Woman Contributor – Not only has Hike Like a Woman supported the #hikeforgrayson campaign by doing a post on their blog, they’ve invited me to be a contributor! I’ll be writing some posts on traveling to hike, with special attention to doing so with a special needs kiddo.

Hike it Baby – June’s #hikeforgrayson kick-off hike was supported by Hike it Baby and placed on the site’s calendar, and they also put a #hikeforgrayson campaign post on their blog! In addition, Grayson’s “Lita” (grandmother) is hosting a #hikeforgrayson hike in Houston on July 29 and it’s up on the Hike it Baby calendar, too!

#hikeforgrayson campaign – We are very touched by the hikes going on around the world in honor of our Grayson. In just the first two weeks, we’ve seen hikes in Russia, the Netherlands, Finland, two in Germany, and all over the United States! Please see the Hike for Grayson tab and consider doing one – or many – this summer!

Our goals are to 1) raise awareness of Tay-Sachs, and 2) reach 1,000 donations to the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation by Labor Day! Please also check out the Hike for Grayson pages for how to help and local promotions in support of the campaign.

Finally, watch Good Day Sacramento next Wednesday, July 12 and see the Kemps take reporter Dave ‘Deuce’ Mason on an early morning hike!

Phew! That’s it…for now. Thank you for being a part of Family Trail Time, and we hope to see you on the trails!

NorCal Families Hike – July 16

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Starting this year, I set a goal to organize a ladies-only hike twice a year (Spring 2017 – Cataract Falls), and a families hike twice a year. I’ve actually already organized two for  families (Effie Yeaw Nature Center & Stone Lakes NWR), but technically the second was a kick-off hike focused on the #hikeforgrayson campaign vs. just a straight hike.

I’d like to welcome anyone in the NorCal area to come and join us for a morning beginner hike at Cosumnes River Preserve! I’ve done a past post on the preserve and it’s a great place for families.

Details:

I am NOT a trained hiking guide. Know the limits of those coming with you and do your own research (trail conditions, weather) and prep (snacks/water, first aid, sunscreen).

We will hike/stroll at the pace of the slowest hiker.

Please remember sun safety and water!

No pets allowed.

Photography is encouraged!

Timing:

Meet at the Visitor’s Center deck at 8 AM.

We will start walking at 8:15 AM. (You can explore the center after the hike.)

We are taking the Lost Slough Wetlands Walk, a one-mile universally-accessible trail offering an up-close view of lush marshes, wetland plants, water-birds, insects, and amphibians.

To join in on the fun, RSVP to Family Trail Time via Facebook!

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If interested, stay afterwards and take River Walk Trail, a 3+ mile round trip on raised levees through a variety of habitats, including buttonbush thickets, native grasslands, valley oak riparian forest, cottonwood-willow riparian forest, tule marsh, and valley oak.

Stone Lakes NWR #hikeforgrayson

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On the morning of June 24 we kicked off the #hikeforgrayson campaign with a “kiddie” hike south of Sacramento and just west of Elk Grove. In my previous post, just my older son and I explored the trails, but on this day we had nearly forty people in our group!

We were so happy to have so many people come out for a nice stroll through this national wildlife refuge that most of them never knew about!

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Why we love it: No matter what your party size, you can easily stroll around the trails for a light hike/nature walk.

For the Young Ones (0-10): They little ones will keep stopping along the path, finding little bugs crossing the path, or pointing out the animal footprints permanently placed in the concrete.

For the Big Kids (10+): Before or after walking around, big kids might enjoy the FREE Paddle Program that offers relaxed guided summer wildlife viewing and interpretation paddles for canoers and kayakers. (June through September.)

Keep in Mind:

  • You cannot rely on GPS to get you here – From Sacramento, travel south on Interstate 5 and take the Hood Franklin Road exit.  At the stop sign, turn right, heading west for about one mile.  The entrance sign and turn lane will be on your left.
  • While the wide trail is inviting and there is lots of wildlife to spot, keep in mind that snakes are a part of that wildlife. Make sure to educate you group (esp. kids) on how to watch out for snakes.

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Around the Area: Just a mile east of I-5, you can easily cross over the freeway to Elk Grove, or hop back on the freeway.

Photo credit: Lea Andrus-Photography

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Sierra Discovery Trail

IMG_4529PG&E’s Sierra Discovery Trail is an interpretive loop trail that is full of educational signs describing the local plants, geology and wildlife of the area. This 0.8-mile trail is located off of Highway 20 and Bowman Lake Road near Alta, CA. Sarah’s family was camping in the Tahoe National Forest at White Cloud Campground along Highway 20 and checked out this trail during the day.

Why we love it: The Sierra Discovery Trail is a fun and easy trail for kids and dogs alike.  This trail begins at a gazebo that provides interpretive information about the area, including hydropower operations and local history.  The trail ventures through a marsh over a wooden boardwalk and continues over a bridge and through a mixed pine and fir forest along the Bear River to a scenic waterfall overlook. This trail offers an easier option by veering to the right after the bridge.

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For the Young Ones (0-10): The younger kiddos will enjoy stopping along the trail at the various river access points and checking out the signs with pictures of plants and wildlife. There are benches along the way to hang out and enjoy the scenery.

For the Big Kids (10+): Big kids will enjoy reading the interpretive signs and stopping along the river.  There are various points along the river to enjoy fishing as well.

Keep in Mind:

  • Be mindful of the changing river flows. Multiple signs are posted along the river warning of the possible rising flows.
  • There are restrooms (vault toilets) near the parking lot but not many other facilities nearby. Plan ahead and bring snacks or lunch and plenty of water.
  • This trail is at a higher elevation so it is typically covered in snow during the late fall and winter months.

Around the Area: There are many great local food options in the Nevada City and Grwaterfallass Valley area. One of our favorite eateries is Summer Thyme’s Bakery and Deli in Grass Valley. This local café has yummy sandwiches and pastries as well as a play kitchen area to keep kiddos busy.

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Guest contributor Sarah Perrin is a wife, mother of one boy and two dogs, wildlife biologist, home baker, and outdoor enthusiast who enjoys exploring the California foothills and Sierras with her family and friends.

 

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

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Effie Yeaw Nature Center is a little oasis right in the city! It’s easy to get to, the trails are short and sweet, and there’s so much to observe and learn. I took an few hours to lead a Hike It Baby hike there this week and it was so much fun!

Why we love it: The nature center itself has live animals (who doesn’t love seeing owls, snakes, and more?) and an Exhibit Hall that allows visitors to explore the natural and cultural history of the Lower American River. Make sure to grab a free map (and pay your $5 parking fee) before heading outside. We loved all of the animals the kids were able to see, and how much fun they had throwing rocks into the American River!

For the Young Ones (0-10): If you’ve taken your little ones on paved walks around town, this is a perfect next step to graduate up to dirt and more narrow trails (not designed for strollers or wheelchairs). Our group had kids age 2 – age 7, and each and every one were in awe of the deer, birds, and tadpoles we spotted.

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For the Big Kids (10+): If big kids are interested in bird watching, this is a great spot! We saw many different kinds of birds, and even us adults were introduced to the red-breasted sapsucker.

Keep in Mind:

  • The nature center is inside Ancil Hoffman County Park. Driving along Tarshes Drive, just keep going and look for signs for the nature center and San Lorenzo Way.
  • Daily parking pass is $5, payable inside the nature center.
  • The American River is flowing fast right now. Take every caution near the water’s edge.
  • You may want to call ahead to make sure the nature center is accepting guests when you plan to go. They get extremely busy with field trips and summer camps, and may turn away groups during peak hours.

Around the Area: Home! It was so nice to be out in nature on a weekday, and still get home in time for dinner.

Difficulty Level: Beginner.

 

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Inside the nature center.