Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Big Basin State Park: Biking and Hiking

As usual, we brought our trusty bikes camping with us. I just can't say enough about how much fun we have biking on our trips. I have to add now that I had no idea how much we'd use the bikes on trips. The first time I saw my hubs putting the bike rack on the rv, and getting all of our bikes configured, I thought it would be a big pain in the neck. I didn't know if bringing the bikes would be worth it all. I've never been so glad to have been SO wrong! These babies have brought us hours and hours of fun and allowed us to explore much more than if we were to simply walk everywhere. We often bike to the trailheads, saving our little kids' energy for the hikes.
Our trusty "steeds" all parked and ready to explore Big Basin

Our biking setup is always evolving, as our kids grow. Right now, my husband rides his bike with our 4-year old on a "tag-along" type bike attached to it. I ride our 2-year old on a tyke-toter on my bike. And our 7-year old rides on her two wheeler by herself. Our 4-year old can ride on two wheels (without training wheels now- yay!) and is doing great. But for long rides, she is still enjoying the tag-along with Dad.
Our "baby" trying out the tag-along bike with Dad. He just rode right around our campsite, but wow, did the little guy LOVE this ride. He is so excited to be big like his sisters.
Today we rode our bikes around the campground and found this pretty waterfall right along the path's edge. The bike ride was beautiful, but very hilly. Either that, or I'm slightly out of shape. Both are probably true.
Girls and I enjoying the waterfall while the little guy tries to jump in. two-year-old. They say I'll miss these days. 
After our short ride, we went to the visitor's center to check out the other hikes in the park. My favorite park ranger was at the desk again, and she recommended the Redwoods hike as an easy and very interesting walk for us.
As promised, some of the largest redwoods in the park are on the Redwood Trail. It was stunning to look up the trunks of these majestic beauties. The grandeur of these trees gives you a real appreciation for your tiny scale in the big picture of nature. They are truly beautiful. 
This tall giant (one of our favorites) was also an amazing story of survival. It was burned in a forest fire, and the tree's insides completely burned out. Yet it is still growing and alive!
Called the "Chimney Tree," it has a huge tunnel burned out of the inside of its trunk. This is the view from inside the tree looking up. You can see the hole at the top of the tree. We couldn't believe this thing was still alive and growing. Amazing!
Thanks to some sweet tourists, a rare photo opp of our whole family in front of the "Father of the Forest" tree. This was one huge tree!
Something about a lovely bridge, and a meandering creek brings out the daydreamer in all of us. 
Three monkeys in a tree.
So, somewhere around here was where we should have turned off to stay on the "easy trail" for kids. Apparently, we were having so much fun we just kept on hiking along the steeper trail. Oops. But it was well-worth the effort. We all had a great time seeing the redwoods, creek, and blooming wildflowers. 
We even found a few bridges to keep our trolls happy!
He really could not believe that he wasn't able to push this off the side of the mountain.  Hehe. Gotta love two year olds. He kept grunting, "Eeee-UH!" as he tried his hardest to shove it off. 
Now the poor little guy is furious with me because I won't let him poke me with his hiking stick. I'm so mean, right?  We quickly decided to break for a picnic lunch, and all was right in his world again. 

The sunny little clearing where we stopped for our picnic lunch. At this point we realized we had followed the more strenuous trail, and if we continued it would be 11 more miles until we reached the end. Since we had the kiddos, we turned around after lunch and headed back home.
At the end of the hike, we met this pretty and very friendly horse. The ranger jokingly asked if our girl had carrots in her pack since the horse kept nuzzling her. Then we realized, she did! We had packed them for the hike. Hee hee. Smart horse. 
Our sweet girl (and map guide) was so proud to have completed her first long, 6 mile hike without a single carry or piggy back ride at all. She's getting so big and strong. We just love her to pieces. 
We all loved the Redwood Trail, and the hike (Sequoia to Shadowbrook loop) we took afterwards. When we planned to visit Big Basin, we had read about the history of the park, and were really excited to visit the first State Park in California. We got a chance to see a historic landmark, and of course all of the beautiful old trees on our visit. 

And you know how we all love trees in this family.

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