Yesterday we took advantage of the light holiday weekend traffic and sped over to Tilden Park. Our first stop was the steam train, which is my favorite local train ride -- I love the views and the scenery. Jack liked it too, but he was a bit confused about our location; he kept asking to see the meerkats next (no little dude, that's the zoo).
We left the train and drove to the Little Farm area, where we enjoyed a little picnic in the grass, then explored the farm, which Jack did not like like at all. He expressed disdain for all the everyday animals, and only wanted to see meerkats (sorry little dude, not here). After a quick tour of the visitor center we set off on a spontaneous hike.
I did have a Tilden map, but had a hard time telling what trail we were on (turns out the Olmstead Brothers map is much better for this part of the park, anyway, it was Lower Pack Rat). We walked on a narrow path lined with lush vegetation, including thimbleberry, blackberry, and currant, as well as dogwood, ninebark, twinberry, hazelnut, alder and other typical riparian natives. This is a very good path for kids, because it's nearly level and poison oak is present, but not dominant. Chickadees flitted about and we got a glimpse of two deer through the foliage. Eventually we ended up at the tip of Jewel Lake, and it was an easy walk back to Little Farm and the parking lot. Jack walked the entire first leg, but on the way back started to get seriously poky. I carried him the last 1/2 mile, and he fell asleep on the way home. Fun day!