New Year's Day Hike: Garin Dry Creek

On New Years Day, we wanted to start 2013 the right way with a hike! We met up with our good friend Nate and headed up to Garin Dry Creek Regional Park. Nate had never been there so I'm always excited to introduce people to new places and we were going to explore a part of the park we've never been too.

It was an absolutely beautiful chilly day! It seemed like an eternity to start hiking after we parked. We had to pack everything into the backpacks, jackets, snacks, diapers, wipes, extra clothes etc. That is one thing I have read in multiple books about hiking with children is to always carry jackets, change of clothes and snacks for toddlers. You never want to have a cold, hungry, wet toddler on a hike.

Last time we visited Garin Dry Creek we hiked one of the listed hikes on the 2012 Trails Challenge from the East Park Regional Parks District. This time we wanted to do a "short" hike (anything with toddlers should be short) to Newt Pond Wildlife Area and a small loop around Vista Peak Loop Trail.

We started out slowly walking from the parking lot towards Old Homestead Trail and Arroyo Flats.  My daughter, Sophia, was determined to hike herself, and my son, David, wanted to get in the carrier but we wanted him to hike.  After 15 minutes of trying to get out of the parking lot (there were lots of cute dogs to see) we finally started on Old Homestead Trail.  Right away I noticed the creeks had water and across the creel there was a horse rider with a pony following.  Kind of reminded me that a mom is a mom whether you are a human or a horse! Ha! Made me smile a bit.

Even before we hit the field of cows, we could hear him loud and clear which excited the children of course. By this point my husband, Jesse, was carrying Sophia and David hurried along to see the cows.  We reached the gates were we encountered two horse riders, Sophia screamed gleefully.  David somehow missed to see the horses until they were right in his face which frightened him a little bit.  Then we walked through a field of cows in really close proximity, I'm not a fan.

This is where we went me made a little mistake we should have continued on Old Homestead Trail to reach the actual Newt Pond.  We didn't have a map so we continued on New Pond Trail thinking it would lead to Newt Pond.  I was a  little confused where the trail actually was because everything was green from the recent rain.  I'm so used to seeing the hills golden brown with dry trails.

We had to cross Dry Creek, which wasn't really dry! Jesse and Nate hopped across the creek but I'm not as sure-footed as they are so Jesse threw some stepping stones for me.  It was pretty to see water flowing.

Going up, up, up on Newt Pond Trail. Jesse, followed by David and Nate!

My little hiker!! It was very pretty in the hills.  This uphill hike really took it out of David and a little after this both kids climbed into our carriers.

Jesse carried Sophia and her backpack.  All my hiking literature says that expect to carry anything your kid wants to "carry" themselves.

Oh Newt Pond Trail, you did not lead us to Newt Pond.  There was a very slight uphill to the ridge where I thought Newt Pond was so I kept telling my son and myself that the pond is just over the little hill, but it wasn't. In fact we were on High Ridge Trail and didn't know for a while.  I finally had cell service so I Googled our location and we were way past Newt Pond.  I informed my the rest of the hikers and we had a laugh.

We decided to hike to Meyers Ranch Trail and take a break for lunch there.  It was quite windy and chilly up at the ridge.  We quickly had our "lunch" which consisted of delicious Salami, trail mix, cheese and Goldfish crackers.  Sophia was asleep by this point and David didn't want to get out of his carrier so continued down Meyers Ranch Trail.

This is a view coming down Meyers Ranch Trail, I absolutely love the green rolling hills.  Garin Dry Creek is quickly becoming one of my favorite local places.  The rest of the hike was mostly down hill until we reach Dry Creek Trail which followed the actual Dry Creek which had lots of water and skinny bridges.  My kids really loved the bridges, it was great motivation to get David hiking instead of being in his carrier.  Dry Creek Trail led us back to Jordan Pond and back to the Parking lot.

Hiking Data is as follows....

3.9 Miles in 3 hours 40 minutes, seems so slow but it that's how it is with little ones.

About 1,000 ft in Elevation Change, Jesse likes to secretly pick trails with switchbacks.

Our hiking trails for this hike was: Old Homestead Trail - Newt Pond Trail - High Ridge Loop Trail - Meyers Ranch Trail - Dry Creek Trail for a total of 3.9 Miles.