Our destination today was the dream home of John Brisben Walker. In the early 1900's he made his fortune as the editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, a land tycoon and an automobile entrepreneur. In 1909 he built an elaborate home on the top of Mt. Falcon. In 1918, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground...leaving behind the massive stone walls and fireplaces...a unique mountain castle.
We slowly walked the Castle Trail to the home ruins. It is 1 mile each direction from the parking lot. Our 3 and 4 year old found it easy and enjoyable.
Hiking with Tykes 101
Always become familiar with the trail by checking the map at the beginning of the trail. Find the You Are Here sticker and then consult the maps that you've printed in triplicate at home. (one for you, one for each child) This will ensure that you don't get lost and that there is no fighting among the children over who gets to hold the map. It's also fun to watch your husband run across an outcropping of rocks when they let go of the map and the wind takes it away.
When you are consulting the map on the giant board at the beginning of the trail, make sure to check the backside so that when you return from walking a mile with your precious children you don't discover that they could have been eaten by bears or mountain lions. And never forget this bit of advice...NEVER make direct eye contact with a preschooler...I mean wild animal.
Even though the temperatures will reach the upper 80's on your walk, wear or tie a hoodie around your waist. This item of clothing doubles as a baby straight jacket for children that lose their minds and threaten to run off a cliff.
An important safety measure when hiking with tykes is to teach them to hug a tree. This is not some liberal crazy talk...this is to teach them to stay in one place and yell for help if they become separated from you during your hike. Also tell them that some trees smell like vanilla.
The Walker Dream Home...in ruins.
Here's a tip to get children to pose for pictures. Bring a little treat with you in your pocket and use it to bribe them. I didn't take this advice and I couldn't get them to sit for a picture.
I owe the success of this picture to being at the picnic sight and promising Chips Ahoy Cookies if they'd stand next to each other and not fall off the rock and make a stupid face.
This little girl LOVES hiking! As long as she can spend half her time on her Daddy's shoulders.
A successful picnic lunch on top of a mountain contains sandwiches, chips or cheetos, cookies, juice boxes and soda. Ignore the stares and dirty looks from the other hikers at the neighboring picnic tables who are eating sprout sandwiches, oranges, carrots and plain water. They are just jealous.
On your way home the tykes will be complaining about being hot and tired. Make a pit stop at Best Buy and sit in the home entertainment lounge so that everyone can cool off. Just don't let them fall asleep in the comfy chairs or they won't pass out from exhaustion at 6pm.
- Bring lots of water.
- Bring a snack for on the trail so that you can fill little mouths with food so they stop complaining about being hungry.
- Don't eat berries that you see along the trail. They may be poisonous.
- Teach your children to walk slowly going down hill on a gravel trail.
- Bring some band aids in your pocket.
- Teach your children not to approach hikers with dogs because they might try to bite their heads off. The dogs...not the hikers.
- Put sunscreen on yourself and your children. Don't rub it in all the way so that people can see that they are wearing it and don't come up to you and ask you if they are wearing sunscreen because they are very white. *she's white because she wears sunscreen...duh*