You don't have to amble far to have a lot of fun outdoors. Case in point: our recent visit to Eaton Canyon. While waiting for our friends to arrive, we sauntered around the Junior Nature Trail, near the nature center. (You can pick up a free interpretive guide inside the nature center. Stop at the numbered posts and read the explanation in the pamphlet.) We listened to frogs in the pond, admired the showy penstemon (below),
watched a towhee hopping along the ground, saw a ground squirrel dash into his burrow, and snuck up on this cottontail:
The yuccas (Yucca whipplei) were in bloom. This plant is also known as "Our Lord's Candle" because when it flowers, its tall stock is topped with a large, flame-shaped cluster of creamy blossoms. In late day light, they seem to glow.
Inside the nature center, our son was fascinated by the snakes. Mom got giddy over the darling California and Pacific Tree Frogs. We both liked the tadpoles and Western Toad.
When our friends from Ramshackle Solid arrived, we hit the trail. We didn't get far, but it didn't matter. The boys had loads of fun climbing tree stumps, perching in the crotch of an old oak, balancing on rocks, digging in the dirt, and running wildly down the trail.
We plan to return to sample one of Family Nature Walks. They're free and happen every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Eventually, I want to join one of the California Native Plant Society Walks that occur monthly, September through May.
More on hiking Eaton Canyon.