First of all there were cows, calves, and horses galore at the start of the trail. My two toddlers absolutely LOVE animals, so having all these farm animals around for them to see from a safe distance but still close enough to make them squeal with excitement.
The trails leading up to Mission Peak, whether taking the popular Stanford entrance or Ohlone side, it's all uphill. On a water break, I'm standing there drench in sweat because going up hill with a 20 pound toddler on you back is quite a work out, I see something dart in front of me maybe 10 feet up the trail. I think it's a dog but it was a Coyote. I tried to contain my excitement because my daughter is asleep in my backpack carrier and I didn't want to completely scare it away before I took a picture. I tried to edit this picture above because the coyote truly blended into the hills. I could see it with my bare eyes but it was awfully difficult to see it through my camera. If you can't find the coyote it's in the upper right side of the picture.
In many of my hiking with children books, they always suggest making your small children walk as much as possible, but not to the point of being exhausted. My son pictured here is an extremely active child but when he is brought into a new situation he clings onto us for dear life and wants to be held or carried in "Dada's backpack" so we made a game for him so he could walk. There were hundreds of squirrels (or "lolos" - what my son calls them), as we were hiking. He has a love-hate relationship with them. David was lolo hunting with Jesse and trying to kill them with daddy's hiking pole. He walked a good mile and a half chasing lolos, and the girls were not included in this hunt per request of my son. I guess it was his caveman instinct. You can't really see it but he has a look of glee trying to kill the squirrels.
Taking a break before we turned around. We never made it to the top of Mission Peak, but hiking with small children is about the having a fun journey not about reaching a specific destination. I think David looks like my twin in this picture, we have the same smile. I love my kids so much.
A little valley...this was the only place where there was patches of green.
The sunset on our way down, looking over Fremont and the rest of the San Francisco Bay with the fog rolling in. So beautiful.
The coyote wasn't the only wildlife we saw, apparently this was a baby rattlesnake with no rattle. We didn't know what it was because it had no rattle but we kept our distance just in case. After coming home I did some research and baby rattlesnakes are known to lose their rattles or just don't have them. My son was really excited to see the snake that he wanted to get out of the backpack. We just explained to him that he could not touch it or get near it, then we made him walk all the way back to the car, thank you rattlesnake.
Elevation Change of about 1,000 ft
Trail Route, 4.42 miles: As you can see we veered off to the left on accident but we eventually found our way. It allowed us to see the cows and horses twice, which my kids didn't mind.
In conclusion, it was a nice hike. Good workout, kids saw lots of farm animals and wildlife, beautiful sunset, and it was my last workout before my half marathon. It was a good afternoon.