Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Astrid's 1st Hike

Today it cooled down a little bit and I thought it would be the perfect day to go hiking with Astrid. I've taken her hiking with me before, but she's always been strapped onto my back in a baby carrier. (See here, here, and here.) Today she hiked on her own two feet for the first time.

We visited the Stough Canyon Nature Center (located near Wildwood Canyon Park) and hiked up the trail that starts there. It was one of the kid friendly places listed in the book I got for U. for Father's Day - "Fun and Educational Places to go with Kids in Southern California" - by Susan Peterson.

www.burbank.come/nature.shtml

Stough Canyon Nature Center
2300 Walnut Avenue
Burbank, CA

Neither Stough Canyon Nature Center, nor the address on Walnut Avenue registered on my car's navigation system, but it did have Wildwood Canyon Park. You just follow Walnut Avenue up and you'll see a sign that points you in the direction of the Nature Center.

Wildwood Canyon Park
1701 Wildwood Canyon Drive
Burbank, CA Astrid standing on the bridge that leads to the entrance to the Nature Center.

Hours: The nature center is open Tuesday through Sunday.
Tues. - Fri. 11 AM to 5 PM.
Sat. 9 AM to 5 PM.
Sun. 11 AM to 5 PM.
Closed Mon. and most holidays.

The trails are open daily from dawn until dusk.
Admission: FreeSnuggled right into the mountains, this nature center offers a variety of displays and exhibits: stuffed animals (deer, bobcat, raccoons, quail, owl), a few live tarantulas and snakes which visitors can touch, a touch table with animals skins, bones, snake skins, and even a beekeeping display.
Here's Astrid playing with the dinosaurs.
It's a great place for kids of all ages to explore and learn.
They also have clear blocks with insects inside which I even enjoyed holding and looking at. There's also a section in the middle with facts and trivia about various wildlife.
We took the fire road next to the nature center that winds its ways up the mountains and leads to a main trail, the Verdugo Mountainway Trail, which traverses the Verdugo Mountains.
Our view of the Nature Center from our hiking vantage point.
The trail has a nice view, but it's a dusty, hot climb up the dirt trail (there's no shady area) and it's all uphill, so it's a bit much for a toddler. We spotted this bench and stopped for a rest break.Astrid was pretty tired and this was as far as she would go.I brought a lunch for a picnic, but it was just too hot here, so we went back down to the Nature Center and had our picnic there in the shade outside.Astrid didn't want to wear her hat, but she had to because the sun was just too strong.
Heading back down the trail.
Around the perimeter of the Nature Center are benches, logs and bird feeders. We had our lunch down here in the shade as we watched the hummingbird eat out of the bird feeders.The curator at the Nature Center recommended the "Plant Walk" if the trail was too hard (which it was for Astrid), so after our lunch we went and checked it out. It's a short, narrow trail lined with rocks on either side.Astrid grabbing for the camera.The Nature Center was great, but for our next hike I'd like to take Astrid somewhere where there's a lot of shade (which isn't too steep), with a riverbed she can play next to. Maybe revisiting the trail we hiked here.

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