Fieldtrip: Muirwoods 墨爾紅木公園

IMG_5319 copyWe took our relatives for a hike @ Muirwoods today.  We arrived at around between 9:15-9:30 and the parking lots were full already.  Thankfully a parking space was found about half mile from the entrance.  Not too bad at all for a Saturday.

Muirwoods is a National Park located in Marin, famous for its tall redwoods.  The paved path in the park are in a loop, with 4 bridges; offering you 4 ways to walk around the redwoods.  Today, we decided to hike the actual trail that branches off of the 4th bridge, the Hillside Trail.  With 2 kids and constant stops, it took us 3 hours total for the 2 mile loop.

With so many tourists, it was really nice to get off the main trail.  Thumper complained and asked when she can leave (“It’s so boring!”) after about an hour.  But we found things to look at and entertain her, including some made up story about a Little Thumper who lives in the woods with her family.  We examined banana slugs, wood stumps, and the red sorrels.  At times like this I resolve to go hiking once a week.  It does not please me at all my children think nature is boring.

I used the time to learn some new Chinese vocabulary.  They’re words I can’t even pronounce.  It’s only a few because at my advanced age I can’t even remember these after 5 minutes.  Hopefully we can use it again when we go again with visiting friends in 2 weeks.  AND I found a copy of the Muirwoods brochure in Chinese!

1.  Banana Slug 香蕉蛞蝓 (Xiāngjiāo kuòyú)

香蕉蛞蝓

2.  Redwood Sorrel 紅木酸模 (Hóngmù suānmó)

紅木酸模

The sorrel leaves fold down when they get direct sunlight.

3.  Lichen 青苔 (Qīngtái) or Moss 苔藓 (Táixiǎn)

IMG_5314 copy

Is this moss or lichen?

4.  Chipmunks 花栗鼠 (Huā lìshǔ)

Wish I’d gotten a pic of the cute chipmunks close to the cafe!

I need to get moving and make some vocab cards for the children before our next visit!  Maybe after my album.  (The ever due album!)

Fieldtrip Fridays: Muirwoods

Muirwoods

Looking for 4-leaf clovers

After skipping a week, we decided to go to Muir Woods for our Field Trip Friday.

We left at 9:30 but had to double back because I left my sweater at home, then there was a side trip to the bakery and stuck in traffic between 580 and 101. By the time we made it it was 11.

There was NO parking whatsoever by then. We parked about a mile away and walked back to the entrance. By now there was a constant trickle of tourists. The kids enjoyed feeling the metal relief map of Muirwoods. We also spent some time at the gift shop while we waited for the long ticket line to shrink. We found out they will have a guided tour in Chinese this weekend during free national park day.

This is our second time at Muir Woods. the first time the children got tired after 15 minutes and said “I’m bored!” and wanted to go home. Made me so mad. That was not a fun trip.

This time around I set my expectations lower. I PLANNED to be there at most 2 hours because we made a play date in the afternoon. And I didn’t try to force feed info to the children as we walked in the woods. When they wanted to go look at the tree with lots of rings while I was trying to get them to admire the tall trees, I said “OK!” instead of getting annoyed. I pointed things out as I noticed them but didn’t go on and in about them if the kids don’t seem interested. We happened upon the last 5 minute of a tour that talked about how Muir Woods came to be. Thumper was really interested into hearing the story when I translated for her. Asyrobot was only really interested in learning what the signs on the walkway said. (Stay on the walkway). And feeling the relief map.

What I learned after the last trip and our travels in Taiwan was how out of touch with nature the children are. Outting a are not fun for them unless it involves a play structure. Very different Fromm happy memories of childhood hiking with cousins every weekend. I realized that I needed to not make nature outings always a learning experience, rather it should be fun and stress free; so that they learn to enjoy nature and like being there. My eventual goal is to base my curriculum in a California nature science one.

All in all a good trip. The children had interesting questions that I had wanted to make materials for this week but I didn’t. I do know for follow up I want to do Parts of the Plant and Parts of the Seed nomenclature cards. Maybe next week!