Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

A beautiful afternoon hiking with my family is one of my favorite things to do. On this hike we attempted to hike almost seven miles but with a late start and the days still being a little short we hiked 5.2 miles at 

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.

  It was an absolutely beautiful day and the hills were beckoning.  We parked at the Foothill Staging Area and successfully transferred my sleeping daughter, Sophia into my front carrier and headed up multiple switch backs on Woodland Trail.  The cows were definitely out and about along the trails.

My son, David was a little terrified of the cows so he climbed up on 

+Jesse Avery

 shoulders and so began the sweaty, sweaty uphill hike carrying our toddlers to the ridge.  At some point Sophia woke up and was DELIGHTED to see the cows so close to ups.  Even with her sleepy eyes she fought through her sleep to say, "Mommy, moo, moo!"

A view from the Woodland Trail after completing the switchbacks during our little break.  This was my third and

+Jesse Avery

 second Trails Challenge hike but we were not sure if were could complete all seven miles before sunset.

We finally made it to the Ridgeline Trail and the views were absolutely magnificent.  Mission Peak and Sunol Regional Parks are in the background.  A hiker stopped and thanked us for hiking with our children and not taking them to the mall.  That made me smile and said thank you and told him our children were made for the outdoors.

Sophia REALLY loves dirt, I mean really loves dirt and tutus.

Making dirt angels, she was swimming on the ground.

That's my hiking toddler, loving the dirt and the earth that we came from.

Hiking through the beautfiul Olive Grove on Ridgeline Trail.  I loved the rolling hill type trails, those are my favorites and easiest on my children.  David really liked checking the map to make sure we were on the right path and not lost.  He's wearing daddy's explorer hat that we got in 2009 to our trip to Machu Picchu.  Now my three old son wears it when we hike.

I love this picture at marker #16 on Ridgeline Trail.  David loves running down hills, he loves anything that goes fast so running down a hill is a controlled fun fall.  He looks so free and he face is full of extreme joy when he runs, especially towards one of his favorite people in the world, his dad.  We took a a break at the trail marker and calculated that we weren't going to be able to complete the entire seven mile hike so we decided to head on back on Thermalito Trail after a break.

The kids found a tiny patch of loose dirt and played in the dirt the entire break.  I noticed how quiet it was when the kids stopped making noise for 10 seconds.  It was wonderful.  Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom is difficult and all I want is silence for a few minutes and I got my silence while being surrounded in God's creation and my family.  Those are the moments I cherish.

Daddy and daughter hiking on Thermalito Trail.

It is difficult to hike with children especially toddlers but it truly makes me appreciate the small things, like this lady bug.  My kids love water....creeks, lakes, a puddle you name it.  All along Thermalito Trail there were three muddy ponds and of course we had to stop at each one so the kids can throw rocks in the ponds.  While I was waiting for the kids, I saw this little ladybug and loved how red it was.  Thanks David and Sophia for helping me love the little things.

We continued onto the third pond which was pretty much muddy shallow water with ducks sitting in it.  I'm not completely sure but I think we were on Olive Grove Trail at this point, the kids were getting pretty tired by this point.  I kept distracting David with all the ground squirrels running in the hillside to keep him moving along.  Jesse came across a dead frog in the ground which also motivated David to run down the hill to see it.

The sun was setting off in distance and this was the last picture I took because we had to carry each kid on our shoulders.  Sophia plopped herself in the same dirt angel that she made earlier and I tried to scare her into hiking by hiding from her on the trail but she wasn't scared she just played in the dirt.  A mountain biker saw me hiding and gave me a funny look and I said, "I'm trying to make her hike" and he just smiled.  I loaded Sophia up on my shoulders and Jesse had already hiked down to the gate near trail marker 10 and the boys were waiting for us.

It was a really beautiful hike, serene rolling green hills, not a lot a people around and of course being with my family.

Our GPS Garmin ran out of power before we finished hiking so our hiking stats are a little off.  For a more complete trail you can check out my 

Strava Link.

 but we hiked 5.2 miles a 1,000 ft elevation change

Woodland Trail - Ridgeline Trail - Thermalito Trail - Olive Grove Trail - Woodland Trail

Happy Hiking!