Monday, June 20, 2011

Monterey Beach, Jack's Peak, Dennis the Menace Park

The closest beach to us is Monterey State Beach. Its just about a 5 minute drive away, and where we park is across the street from NPS.

We have been told that its one of the best sand-castle building beaches around, and the kids quickly put that to the test.

Its a nice place to see the peninsula stretching out into the Bay.

Supposedly its also one of the best beaches around for "paddling," although you won't see me me sticking a toe in. I'm still getting used to hoodies and jeans at the beach in June! Coffee helps. 

This past Saturday we headed out to nearby Jack's Peak County Park. A hiking co-worker told Joe that it would be a good place for hiking with kids. There were several short (under 1 mile) trails that offered sweeping vistas of the Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Bay - assuming clear weather. Of course the fog rolled in after we got to the park, but the view was still pretty nice from the Skyline Trail:

Joe lamented that the children have forgotten how to be quiet in the woods. We hiked quite a bit in Maryland, but haven't been out much since last fall (winter + spring spent in moving upheaval). They were very excited and probably disturbed the local wildlife with their squeals of glee. On the upside, they probably kept us safe from meeting any Mountain Lions.

On this particular hike, I had asked the kids to watch out for interesting natural items to take pictures of and to examine. Mg brought her magnifying class.

Here they examine a rock outcropping showing the shale that makes up the Peak.

 I was pleased that Shannon remembered that pine cones contain the trees seeds.

MG shows me tiny pieces of shale

Connor was disappointed that I wouldn't let him bring armloads of the larger shale chunks home with us. 
I can just imagine the plans he had for them.

Jack's Peak has one of the only three natural stands of Monterey Pine in the world. 

We also saw some enormous Coast Live Oaks (we have a smaller tree of this variety in our backyard)

Another impressive Monterey Pine

This is the view looking out to the neighboring hills - the girls insisted the trees on the
 other side looked like a rain forest. 

Jack hanging out in the sling.

Sunday afternoon we spent a few hours at a nearby park I've been taking the kids to several times a week - Dennis the Menace Park. I don't have pictures of the whole park, as everyone pretty much scatters when we arrive, so here is the portion of the post devoted to Jack being adorable.

Everyone sends hugs!

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