March 19, 2010

Granite Playground

As one of the last cold and snowy storms moved in we left the shelter of the mountains. Despite the promise of a few days of great skiing, we abandoned our skis and headed through the storm and made our way down out of the snow, toward spring and a few days respite from winter.

Under the premise of finding a playground of large climable boulders in a clean granite landscape, we followed windy mountain roads up from the Sacremento Valley floor and came to a stop in the shadow of riparian forest curious as to what could possibly lie just a few minutes walk through the trees. A short stroll led us out of the shadows of pines and cedars and into a granite playground. Boulders of every shape and size were strewn across clean granite slabs. With a beautiful blue sky above, we set out to explore and play.

With views looking out across the Sacramento Valley and into the mountains beyond, the cool clean spring air inspired us to relax and enjoy the ambience as much as the granite boulders beckoned to be climbed. There was something here for each of us, shallow water filled puddles to splash around in after the previous day's rainfall, and boulders sized for smaller bodies as well as the large boulders that had actually led us herein the first place.

Although we arrived in search of boulders for myself, this granite playground gave us much more. At just over a year old, even FrĂȘney was inspired to climb. As rewarding as it was to feel the granite with my fingertips and solve the few problems I was able to, as always it is our children that leave me inspired and fulfilled at the end of the day. They continue to remind us of the simple pleasures and adventures that can be found in nature. It's inspiring to observe our children when they are given the freedom to explore and watch how they are able to create their own experiences.

At the end of the day, we didn't want to leave, and with no appointments or commitments, spontaneity allowed us to fetch our tent and sleeping bags and sleep under the stars again appreciative of the time we are blessed to be able to spend together and seek out and explore such natural beauty.