Hiking Around Arastradero Lake

Yesterday, I took my children for a short hike around Arastradero Lake in the Arastradero Preserve. If you’re a regular visitor of varied parks, the Arastradero Preserve is like the Hollywoodized, that is almost unrealistically pleasant, version of parklands. On this day alone, we encountered friendly joggers; cheerful dog owners with a dog eager to “kiss” my children; an equestrienne with a gorgeous, well-behaved horse; and crisply dressed City of Palo Alto park rangers.

Kelly has been used to being a rider on my back on our hikes, and it’s only recently, that I’ve expected her to do her own walking. For the first half of the hike as well as going up the Paseo del Roble trail, she complained. But she enjoyed seeing the ducks on the lake, as well as other birds in the preserve. And Neil and Kelly enjoyed running down the hill on the Wild Rye Trail so much, they ran back up and did it again:

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We ended our adventure with lunch on a bench by the amazing new interpretive nature center. Usually such centers are little more than a plaque with pictures of the local animals. This was an actual building, powered with solar panels and insulated with old straw. It had pictures of the animals we might find in the preserve, but it also had nicely-illustrated flyer for each of them, examples of scat and footprint, bird calls we could listen to, and a 3D topographic map of the preserve. It also had sample leaves and acorns to help us recognize the various trees, and a history of the area, dating back to Max Martinez, the original Imperial Spanish/Mexican landholder.

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