The Hike: Torrey Pines

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A few weeks ago my mom and I took all four of the kids to San Diego's Torrey Pines Park for a hike, which sounds like no big deal until you're there and everyone is running in different directions and Bo's literally hiding in a bush somewhere because she thinks it's hilarious when I'm, like, "BO!? Where are you? BOOOO!!!"

I left the Ergo/hiking backpack at home because DAMNIT, everyone has legs and YOU'RE ALL GOING TO WALK. Not that I'm not a huge fan of babywearing. It's just that I'm also a huge fan of leg-using and now that Bo and Revi are using the stroller less and less, taking family walks with everyone upright has been a huge relief to my back. And my front thanks to not having to maneuver a double stroller all the live long day. 

Of course "hiking" is not something many kids are excited to do. Not mine anyway. So instead of going for a "hike" we decided to "go have a picnic somewhere beautiful that we may have to walk a little way to arrive at," which is a much nicer way of saying, well, hike


I know how they're feeling, of course. My dad is a huge hiker and growing up, we spent many a weekend on hiking day trips that weren't worded as "hiking day trips." They were explorations! Bird watching trips! Nature walks! Outdoor obstacle courses! Photo shoot destinations! My mom would pack our lunches in a backpack and we'd all set out with walking sticks and dusty shoes until (hooray!) it was time to take a seat on some rocks and eat our lunches. 

Those were the days even though I kind of hated them. And these are the days, now,  even though my kids kind of hate them, too.

So, yes, kids, I get it. As someone who was also once a child, I relate.
Halfway into our half mile "hike" the kids started complaining. It was taking WAY too long and everyone was tired and hot and wanted to go home. 

"Just wait, you guys. This trail is about to blow your mind." 


"But the view is so beautiful if you keep going. You are going to be blown away."


"I get it. I used to be four, man. It sucked to walk. But you know what's at the end of the worst walk ever? The best view ever so I'm pretty sure it will be worth it because that is what happens in life and all of this is a metaphor and I'm trying to teach you a lesson and you will thank me one day just like I am thanking my parents right now in this sentence. Thanks Mom and Dad."
It took us a solid twenty minutes to get two hundred or so feet thanks to needing to stop every three paces to play in the sand/have a series a tantrums after water spilled on someone's shoe/etc but once we arrived at the top of the trail where my mom suggests we have our lunch, it truly was a magical moment. 

Revi literally gasped and under her breath, muttered. "Wow. Big baba!"

Baba means water/bottle of water to drink out of, which, yes. HUGE Baba. The biggest Baba known to man. Right there. And you walked to this amazing place with your own wonderful legs aren't you lucky? Aren't you all the luckiest? I mean... LOOK AT THIS WORLD YOU GET TO LIVE IN, ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? 
Nature is incredibly humbling and my kids aren't exposed to nearly enough of it. And this is something I want to change. Because that gasp my soon-to-be-two-year old made? Was the sound of a tiny little humbled soul. Which is what nature does to us humans. It reminds us of our place in this world, how fortunate we are to have the eyes to see and bodies to move. It inspires us to look around, explore, go forth!  Because at the end of the long and dusty path we experience in life, there is a big baba. Not to mention an incredible view. 

We climbed to the highest point, the same place we used to picnic when I was a kid, unpacked the backpack, ate our snack lunch, packed up and kept on. 
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As we were leaving a pair of identical twin gentlemen in matching but not so matching hats passed us, smiled in unison and continued walking down toward the water.  It was the perfect end to a wonderful morning of old and young, small and tall, finite and infinite blue. It made me think of my grandmother and her identical triplet (who we get to see this weekend) and how magical the twin bond must be all those years in the future. 
"Someday maybe that will be you, too." I sighed, dragging one babe in each arm as they screamed to be put down so they could go back to feeding each other dirt in the middle of the trail, kicking me in the face with sandy shoes. 
Meanwhile, the tantrum continued, Revi screaming "bye bye, Baba" until we finally arrived back at the car. 


Any San Diegans out there? Where are some of your favorite child-friendly hiking trails? Second to Torrey Pines, we're big fans of the lower trail at The Way Up Trail in Elfin Forest (mainly because it's only a few short miles away from my parents' house in Encinitas.) 
At the pond at the foot of the trail 
On the trail at the foot of the pond.