September 2, 2006

Tarantulas, Snakes and Mountains

We went for a hike in the mountains on Friday, ok so they are small mountains but still perfect for what we were looking for. We drove and we drove and we drove looking for the right kind of place to hike. We found a great place well off the beaten road in the Modjeska Canyon adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest. We visited Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary which is operated by CSU Fullerton.

They have a bird and wildlife area that was fun and easy to walk around with the kids. We watched a hummingbird fly right up by our faces and flutter there. Many other birds, turtles and other wildlife was there. We stopped in the museum and the naturalist was really good. He let the kids hold a tartantula, and a gopher snake. He even wrapped the snake around each of their necks for some good pictures and the kids thought it was great.

We headed out for a hike up into the canyons. The kids were real troopers. It was hot and sunny with very little shade. We walked pretty much straight uphill for about 30 minutes. The mountains and canyon was absolutely gorgeous! We got to some great views and went through three water bottles. The heat led us to turn around and walk back down. The kids did a great job and the walk back down took half the time it did to go up.

Hiking is another one of my favorite things to do. Being in such a beautiful place is inspiring. Like Serona said the hills and mountains just beg you to climb them and explore. The beach one day, the mountains the next, the city the next - I must admit California is a place of beauty with much to do.

It is wonderful to share it with my family. Both our little family of 5 and our big extended family who are out here visiting and for the wedding. After our little hike we went to a family party. It was great to see all my aunts, uncles and cousins - so many of us all in one place. It is the first time many of my family members are seeing all three of our kids together at the same time. They have met the kids one at a time as I visit New York but never all together. That was fun.

It was nice to have conversations and play games with my family. While still amazinging scattered and broken up by watching three kids with so many people there I managed to have a few adult conversations as the kids were entertained. Being away from family is tough, I do miss them often. There was a wide variety of activity going on from playing connect four to beirut. There was swimming, shooting pool, playing ping pong and lots of eating and drinking beer of course, we are Irish after all!

What a day! I even wore my hair in braids all day long! It was fun.

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