East Bay

Thanksgiving Weekend Hikes - Don Edwards

We aimed for three small hikes this weekend, but only ended up doing two hikes.  The first one we did was

Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge

in Fremont, CA. For Fremont locals its the park across from Coyote Hills on the other side of Dumbarton Bridge.  The hike was less than two miles, 1.44 miles on Tidelands Trail to be exact.

The days are so short now that any hike in the afternoon, turns into an evening hike.  We bring our jackets with us on every hike now.

A bridge that led over to the Picnic Shelter over the marsh.

The Picnic Shelter had little tables set up to have a picnic which was nice.

The kids ran around a lot. Beautiful sunset, nice trail for our jogging stroller, lots of birds and bridges for the kids to enjoy.

Related Posts and Links:

  1. Thanksgiving Hikes - Hayward Regional Shoreline
  2. This Hiking Mama is Thankful For...

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Dublin Hills Regional Park

Hiking yesterday. Nothing big, just a small hike with the family and my good friend Wendy and her baby in tow, at 

Dublin Hills Regional Park

. This hike was No. 3 out of 5 hikes needed to complete the

2012 Trails Challenge

from the

East Bay Regional Park District

. Starting this post with my hiking information first.

Distance: 3.21 Miles    Elevation Gain: 232 Ft (Start 886 ft - Max: 1102 ft)

The staging area (Parking Lot) was fairly brand new with a very "parent friendly" bathroom with diaper changing tables in the bathrooms, very rare to see at the other East Bay Regional Parks.  There were a few picnic tables, a kiosk, everything looked brand new.

After collecting everything we needed we started off on a low grade uphill climb with "switchbacks" to get to the ridge.  My son was fascinated with the drainage run-off that followed the trail.

We hiked along brand new homes, which Jesse tried to Zillow but even Zillow could not find them since they were so new.  It was a cold day, it would get a little warmer when the sun wasn't blocked by the clouds.  The whole hike was on the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail. Here we are at the "Summit".

We were attempting to make David hike this entire hike and so far we were managing but with some complaining of course.  My friend had some unexpected business to attend to so she had to leave but it was nice having her come.  We continued hiking down into this little valley where David found a pond.

We saw some cows off in the distance and realized we were going to hike right through a their pasture.  My daughter Sophia was so excited to see the cows she started mooing, she's only 13 months old.  David was excited to see them too and wanted to shake the cows hand because that's what Grover 2.0 does on Sesame Street and what they they do on TV Petting Zoos.  I told him that we could wave to the cows but not shake their hands.

A panoramic view of were we stopped for snacks and did our turn around.  There were cows all around us mooing, David and Sophia were amused and scared at the same time.

Sophia is resisting arrest.  Jesse got her to put on her bunting.  It was getting chilly.

Classic David.  Both kids were really determined to hike back up the hill in the drainage.  Overall it was a good easy hike.  Until next time.

Related Posts:

2012 Trails Challenge


Mission Peak


Garin/Dry Creek

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Mission Peak Regional Preserve

October 27, 2012: Last weekend, we hiked at

Mission Peak Regional Preserve

, in Fremont, California.  This is our second completed hike on the

2012 Trails Challenge

from the

East Bay Regional Park District

.  We have hiked up Mission Peak many times before, but never with our two toddlers.  I have not been to the peak since before I was pregnant with my first son in 2009!  Last month we attempted to hike Mission Peak but through the

Ohlone Entrance.

We had to park almost three blocks away from the main trail head, which is always a little annoying.  Mission Peak is a very popular mountain to hike around these areas.  There's always lots of people there...I do not want to seem judgmental but I don't think all the people make it to the top.

Heading up Hidden Valley Trail

We loaded the kids up in the backpacks and we started to hike up the trail.  Jesse carries about 45 pounds with David in the backpack and I carry about 30 pounds with Sophia in the backpack.  We have never carried them this much or on steep trails before so this was quite a workout.  It's been a few days since then and my calves still hurt.

The Trail Greeter

At our break, we stopped to drink water and so Sophia could crawl around and play in the dirt.  She LOVES playing in the dirt, its quite ridiculous.  Sophia also enjoyed this hike because there were so many dogs.  She plopped herself in the middle of the trail and said "Hi!!" and waved hello to every person that walked by.  Jesse nicknamed her the Trail Greeter.  She brought many smiles to many hikers.

Father and Son Sitting

David was in and out of Jesse's backpack since he likes to run around and actually hike.  We had stopped for a break a few minutes before we came up on the bench Jesse and David are sitting in the picture above, but David still wanted to sit with daddy on the bench.  By this point, Sophia was asleep in my backpack so I kept on hiking.  I'm not the fastest hiker especially with 30 pounds of baby and backpack on me so I knew Jesse could catch up to me.

This is the first hike we have done that had "crowded" trails and we got so many comments because we were hiking with our toddlers.  Some direct comments, "My God woman!! You deserve a high-five!" or "You give me inspiration!" or "That must be a workout!". Some indirect conversations between hikers, "Would you do that? I would!" "You must be crazy I could never do that!"  Whatever floats your boat.

I hiked until Sophia woke up and we waited for the boys to catch up with us on the Grove Trail.  Both Jesse and I have never been up the Grove or Horse Heaven trail so we were excited to see these trails.  The trail was shaded and mostly flat until we started Horse Heaven Trail, we even saw a little creek which was quite nice.

David almost to Mission Peak

We reached Peak Trail which eventually led us up to Mission Peak.  I was pretty tired and hungry by then so Jesse took Sophia and hiked quickly to the top, while I hiked at a toddlers pace to Mission Peak.  David that made it to the top which is very impressive for a two year old.  He was tired and kind of sulking in the picture above.  I was bribed him by saying Daddy had candy waiting for him at the top, which he did but David did not go for it.  He looked at my backpack longingly and hesitantly asked if he could get in.  I almost picked him up to put him in the backpack but I knew we were so close, so instead we sang the ABC's until we saw daddy at the top. 


As you can see it was a gorgeous day.  I could see the entire San Francisco Bay Area from the San Jose to San Francisco to Mount Diablo, 360 degrees!! Beautiful.  We had lunch and played around on the rocks for about an hour.

Mother and Daughter, Mission Peak!

We loaded up the kids again and headed down the mountain, down Peak Trail towards Horse Heaven Trail.  We crossed the McClure Spring (pictured below) and headed up a few switchbacks.  Sophia had fallen asleep by this point.  We had never been on Horse Heaven Trail and I had not read the trail description in detail so I did not know how steep Horse Heaven Trail was.

McClure Spring/Horse Heaven Trail

Coming down on Horse Heaven Trail was not fun for me.  I think I was a little dehydrated and I get stressed out coming down steep trails with my baby in my backpack.  I am a short person with a short torso so my baby backpack sits very high on my back.  Therefore, my center of balance is higher than normal which makes me feel off balance a tad bit, not to mention coming down a steep hill.

Another joy of motherhood which was caused by my pregnancies is the fact that my feet grew a little.  My hiking boots fit, size 6.5 but they feel a tiny bit snug. On flat trails I can hardly notice it but I could definitely feel the difference in size coming down the steep trail.

Halfway down the mountain, my head was pounding, legs felt shaky, my feet hurt from my boots, I'm off balance and I could feel blisters getting bigger on my toes.  I stopped at Agua Caliente Creek and sat in the shade for 15 minutes and guzzled some water.  A little later my head stopped hurting but everything else was still going on.  Jesse had to eventually carry my backpack, his backpack and Sophia because I was done.

We were almost done hiking, so Jesse and Sophia finished quickly while David and I hiked very slowly to the end.  I gave David a piggy back ride the last few hundred feet which he thoroughly enjoy and me too.

Here are our hiking statistics:

Total Time: 6 hours 23 mins

Longest Hike to Date (With Children): 7.2 Miles - Elevation Change 2,300 feet

Trail Hidden Valley/Grove/Horse Heave/Peak/Horse Heaven

Overall, First half I thoroughly enjoyed but not the second half.  Until next time Mission Peak!!

Related Posts:

Trails Challenge 2012-East Bay Regional Parks

Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park

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Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park

On Saturday we completed our first trail on the

2012 Trails Challenge

 from the

East Bay Regional Park District

. We only have six weeks to hike four more trails to complete the Challenge. We hiked at 

Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park

, in Union City.  I have driven passed this park hundreds of times and never even noticed it was there.  I was pleasantly surprised today.

Jordon Pond

We started hiking on High Ridge Trail and hiked past Jordon Pond within the first 10 minutes.  I tried "hiding" the pond from my toddlers because one wants to stop and throw rocks and the other wants to go swimming in it.

We hiked quite a while on High Ridge Trail and had pretty views of the Bay. My daughter, Sophia was getting pretty fussy so we took her out of my backpack so she could walk around. She was happily playing around until she tripped and fell face first into the ground. We did not noticed right away but she had cut her left nostril and was bleeding a little bit and scratched up her forehead a little bit.

After Sophia was patched up, we continued hiking on High Ridge Trail until my son needed to use the "facilities". We stopped to look for a "bathroom" and found a spot a little off the trail near a giant Oak tree. I saw something move off to the right and I though it was a rabbit but then I saw antlers. I may have gasped out of excitement so loud that I scared my son, David. He scares easily so I I've learned to quickly turn a startling situation into something fun. I told him to be really quite and knelt down next to him so we could see the buck. The buck and I had a staring contest. I'm glad David had to go to the bathroom or else I would have never seen the deer.  If you look right in the center of the picture below you will see the deer.

We continued on High Ridge, walked very close to some residential houses and cemetery until we turned into shaded portions of the trail. Sophia had fallen asleep so we hiked as much as we could before she woke up.  We saw another hiker with his dog that was carrying a giant branch.  It was really funny.  The trails had lots of skinny bridges, which my son like a lot.

Nothing too exciting happened on this hike except the deer, just a nice day for a hike in the East Bay Hills.  I leave you with more pictures and our hiking statistics.

Mission Peak in the far background

Daddy and Daughter

 When we hiked, we moved at 2 mph but with toddlers we spent 1 hour 45 minutes not hiking.

 We hiked 5.2 Miles

Hiking Trail, courtesy our our GPS.

Related Post:

Trails Challenge 2012-East Bay Regional Parks

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Another way to Mission Peak

Last week we took a afternoon hike to Mission Peak in Fremont, but we never made it to the actual peak.  We took the Ohlone College side entrance, which is the trail that also goes to Mission Peak but is not the most popular one.  I don't know why it isn't the most widely used trail, but I had a great time and you will see why.

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.

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