As a California native I know better than to be ungrateful for rain but I was disappointed that it thwarted our plans for this past weekend. Sometimes a rainy day adventure is great and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. So, I have found myself thinking back to a trip we took a few weeks ago to Pt. Reyes and making plans for things to do in the coming weeks.
The Pt. Reyes Bear Valley Visitor Center was the destination for a family day with my son’s toddler class. My son is two and has boundless energy. We are always grateful to find new places where we can take him to explore. Pt. Reyes is not a new destination for us but experiencing a place through the eyes of a little boy always provides a fresh perspective.
The weather was pretty close to perfect that Saturday and I always enjoy a drive to the coast from Petaluma. Our city so quickly gives way to the open countryside that I instantly feel like I have driven for miles not minutes. We drove out “D” Street, past a glistening Nicasio Reservoir, turned down Platform Bridge Rd. and then cut over to Highway One at Olema. A quick stop at the Farm House Deli for coffee and we headed the last five miles up Bear Valley Road to the visitor center. Near the entrance we drove slowly past a pair of turkey vultures getting into the spirit of spring. He teetered along the fence, flapping his wings to get her attention; she pretended not to be interested.
Our group gathered inside the visitor center where the kids ran around the native animal exhibits and jostled for turns at the small “look out” tower in the middle of the room. The trail to the recreated Miwok village of Kule Loklo (Bear Valley) started from the parking lot. The toddlers managed surprisingly well on the 0.3 mile walk to the village. The trail gently climbed to an open meadow where various Miwok structures had been built out of timber. They provided plenty of places for the kids to explore but most of them gravitated to a large grinding stone where they poked with sticks, splatter water, and collected random objects. Every toddler parent needs one of these stones! As attention spans started to wane we headed back to have lunch in the picnic area next to the visitor center.
All in all it was an easy day and with little ones that is something of an achievement. We will definitely make the trip again. It had everything we needed for a really good excursion – a nice drive, beautiful scenery, a bit of history, some wildlife, a chance to stretch our legs, and a leisurely lunch. And, it has piqued my interest in local Miwok sites so I’ve added Olompali State Park and the Marin Museum of the American Indian to my list of places I need to visit.
For the coming weekend I am looking forward to Spring Along the Farm Trails – Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babes… So far, sun is forecasted!