Paul's dad is in town so this morning we took advantage of having grandpa around and went on a hike. We have heard that Sunol, which is just south of us, has some beautiful hiking so we went to find a trail called "Little Yosemite". The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking and the best part was that all of the wildflowers were in full bloom. Everywhere we looked there were blue, purple, yellow, or white flowers, with lots of butterflies flitting to and fro. Just to the left of the trailhead there was a gorgeous, shaded field of these flowers and I had to stop to take Clara's picture. It's perhaps my favorite picture of her ever and I just can't believe how grown up and her own person she looks in the photo. The pose, the facial expression, the choice of outfit - it is all her own doing. Gosh we love her.
The trail is actually a wide gravelly path that we could have pushed a jogging stroller on (big enough even for a maintenance truck to drive on) but we didn't know that when we left so we just brought the hiking backpack to carry Rose and gave Clara as much encouragement as we could. It turns out Rose is quite the little hiker as she did a lot of the walking on her own for the first mile or so (seriously! she walked far! and she smiled and squealed and chattered the whole way). The whole hike is about a mile and a half and ends at a waterfall before you can either go on or turn around and do the mile and a half back out. We took a few breaks and she got carried maybe 1/3 of the way in spurts before being set down to chase after one of the many dogs we saw on the trail, which really helped keep her motivation up. Clara, on the other hand, was begging to be held before we even got started and whined much of the way that it was "too hard" and "taking too long" and she was "getting all sweaty". Sheesh. We finally broke down and bribed her with fruit snacks to keep her moving.
A couple of times we took little detours from the main trail to cut over to a creek and throw rocks in the water. This baby bonnet barely fits Rose anymore and she didn't leave it on as well as the woven hat that we brought for Clara. Looks like I need to start searching for more hat options for the girls with summer coming up.
What really got Clara through the hike was the incentive of spotting butterflies. She was thrilled to find one that kept landing on wildflowers right by the side of the trail and staying put long enough for her to observe without it flying right off again but she was too timid to touch it.
We aren't positive whether we made it to "the end" of the hike because the trail kept going but I knew there was a waterfall along the way and this small jumble of rocks had sort of a little waterfall thing happening so we called it good. It was nice and cool and just perfect for a break to eat string cheese, peanuts, and chocolate covered pretzels and the girls were happy to see lots of people stopping there with their dogs.
Rose rode most of the way back on my shoulders even though Paul had carried the hiking pack. It was just easier to swing her up and down from that position when she wanted to see a dog or walk for a stretch than to deal with all the straps and buckles of the carrier. And Paul caved and carried Clara for a little bit of the return journey because her whining was turning into tears and a tantrum over having been forced to participate in what she apparently felt was some kind of death march (seriously, any suggestions on how to help this girl appreciate nature and hiking would be appreciated). Really though it was a lovely outing and such a nice change from spending all day on Saturday working on house projects!