We went back to California, to Salt Point State Park, this time, an area new to all four of us.
We camped in a forested area a ten minute drive from the ocean, which was the main attraction. There was a tree right on top of where we put the tent and the kids were up up and away within minutes after the very long drive. They are up above our tent here, probably between 12 and 15 feet off the ground, the little monkeys.
We went to the visitors center and asked where to go look at tidepools which is one of our favorite activities. Following their directions the next day we were a bit disappointed, but the following day we struck out in the other direction and soon met a family of seals as well as a plethora of really fun tidepools. I’m left wondering why they would give information about the tidepools being best in an area they really weren’t unless they were trying to keep kids from clambering on rocks and maneuvering between waves which is part of the fun and necessary if you want to see what I call “the good stuff”. Anyway, we found them, the amazing tide pools.
We saw hundreds of urchins,
a bat star,
racoon prints in the sand,
rocks that had had seaweed washed up and dried to them, then peeled off by the water or wind, revealing prints of the seaweed on the rocks in the algaed surfaces,
lots of seals, swimming, sunning, looking at us, patrolling, fishing,
pools filled with tiny swimming orange creatures that Lilah first spotted, not sure if they were fish or shrimp or something else entirely,
mussels, anemones and barnacles, limpets and snails of course,
hermit crabs and dungeness crabs and small fish who rested in the shadows of small pools,
It’s so much fun making discoveries in the pools, and then calling everyone over to share.
Between tidepooling, which is best done at low tide, we drove down the coast to find sandy beaches that the kids love to play in the water on. One day we stopped at a beach which is well known for it’s undertow so we learned about what makes a beach safer or less safe, especially how steep the slope is under the water and breakers area. Gavin thought it was pretty cool that it was one of the deadliest beaches in California. I was a bit less thrilled and watched the kids like a hawk. Another day we stopped at a much shallower beach which had sandy areas and pebbly areas to explore.
Back at the campsite the kids did the dishes, their idea, alternating who was washing and drying and who was rinsing. They enjoyed it and Chris and I enjoyed supporting their interest in helping and having time to get other things done.
On the drive there and back we alternated between listening to music and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. The kids are enjoying having ipods to listen to music that they choose, when they like. It’s fun to watch them enjoying picking out songs and bands they like and comparing notes with each other.